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Immigration dogs Australia campaign

Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 02:04

Aug. 29 - The thorny issue of immigration in the spotlight ahead of Australian election. Paul Chapman reports.

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This government tv warning to asylum seekers is a sign of how the issue of immigration is playing in Australia's election campaigning. In the past six years under Labor more than 50, 000 asylum seekers have arrived in the country. It's prompted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to pledge a ban on permanent settlement to anyone arriving by boat. (SOUNDBITE)(English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD SAYING: "If people smugglers try and bring asylum seekers to Australia by boat those people will not be settled in Australia." Conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott's is also promising tougher laws on asylum, using the issue as a stick to beat his rival (SOUNDBITE)(English) AUSTRALIAN OPPOSITION LEADER TONY ABBOTT SAYING: "This is our country and we determine who comes here. That was the position under the last coalition government and that will be the position under any future coalition government. Tragically for Australia and tragically for so many people it hasn't been the position of the current government." Western Sydney is home to many migrants who've gained asylum. Its a neighbourhood where polls say Abbott stands to make gains. Thi Duc Diep fled Vietnam in 1978. Like many overseas-born Australian voters she now has a deep antipathy to today's asylum seekers. (SOUNDBITE)(English) THI DUC DIEP, FABRIC SHOP OWNER, SAYING: "I don't want people who don't want to go to work. They shouldn't just take the unemployment benefits all the time." Under the present government's crackdown started in July asylum seekers who arrive by boat are now being sent to live in neighbouring Papua New Guinea or Nauru. The move doesn't appear to have appeased voters now losing faith in Labor's promise of improving their lives. Many have grown resentful of new boat people seen as potential security threats, immigration queue jumpers and rivals for jobs. With the election just around the corner Kevin Rudd's Labor government is struggling to avert a rout.

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Immigration dogs Australia campaign

Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 02:04