Opposition outlines asylum seeker strategy

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Opposition outlines asylum seeker strategy
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For the first time, the Opposition has outlined in detail how it would deal with the growing number of asylum seekers in the community.

Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has told 7News he would force them to work for their welfare and be paid in vouchers not cash.

But the stunning revelation is the Government's response.

As the boats keep coming and immigration detention centres overflow, the Federal Government has released more than 10,000 asylum seekers into suburban Australia on bridging visas.

"They're effectively just dumping people in the community." Mr Morrison said.

If the Coalition wins the September election Mr Morrison says he'll deliver a different message.

"You'll be put to work for the community to receive your welfare benefit," he said.

"Community projects, everything from planting trees to volunteer work in nursing homes and things of that nature."

Asylum seekers would be directed to rural and urban areas to local council and approved private sector work crews.

But they'd also be subjected to income management.

Their allowances - currently 89 per cent of Newstart – would, according to Mr Morrison, be paid in food and accommodation vouchers or cards, but strictly no cash.
In a policy area riven with political catcalling and brawling the Government has surprisingly given its qualified support.

"We've got people that might be on bridging visas and I'd like to see them participate and contribute and I think it's therefore worth considering but we need to look at the costs and we need to know how this would work." Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor said.

Refugee advocates say the current system isn't working.

They are concerned current work bans are creating a new underclass of asylum seekers and fuelling social unrest.

"We'd like to see them take it one step forward." Pamela said. "And give them the right to work so they can earn their own money."

On that there's more agreement.

Both sides say they won't do it.

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