Days after Laurie Ferguson, a staunch supporter of Julia Gillard, warned that Labor would be “dead” in western Sydney if the Prime Minister did not take a strong lead on the troubled asylum-seeker issue, Mr Rudd entered the fray.
Campaigning in Geelong, the high-profile Labor backbencher said Australians had learned from the Holocaust that “you don’t say no to people who are fleeing persecution”.
“I believe that Australia has always been decent in opening up its arms to people from around the world, whether they come here as migrants or whether they come here as refugees — and the reason we have done that is to build our nation,” he said.
Mr Rudd said he believed that was “also the position of our government now under the Prime Minister’s leadership”.
The Greens have attacked Labor from the left for taking too hard a line on the issue, and engaging in a race to the bottom with the Coalition on asylum-seeker policy.
Mr Rudd’s contribution came as one asylum boat carrying 89 passengers sought help from Australian authorities, while another with 61 was intercepted near the Ashmore Islands.
And the Coalition came under attack for being inconsistent about when it would “stop the boats”.
Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said yesterday that locking in a date for when the Coalition would stop the boats in government would be “asinine”.
“I can’t tell you that on September 15 the boats will suddenly stop — and the Australian public know that.”Source: The Australian – Rudd praises asylum ‘decency’
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- Laurie Ferguson tells Julia Gillard that Labor is ‘dead’ without voter support on asylum seekers (abc.net.au)
- Search on for asylum seeker boat (news.theage.com.au)
- PM urged to personally sell asylum message (news.smh.com.au)
- Rudd to MPs: pull your heads in (theage.com.au)
- ‘Every man for himself’: Labor cracks (smh.com.au)
- Labor going down like the Titanic and Rudd won’t be coming back: MP (abc.net.au)
- Nine asylum believed seekers drowned (news.theage.com.au)
- Discipline crumbles as polls plummet (theage.com.au)
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- Air of inevitability pervades as Labor MPs clean offices (nzherald.co.nz)