The West

Asylum seekers not my problem: Abbott
Asylum seekers not my problem: Abbott

Tony Abbott says it is not the Opposition's job to fix Labor's broken asylum seeker policy, dismissing reports of division within his party on the issue.

News Ltd has reported that former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull is pushing the party room for a bipartisan refugee policy after Thursday's boat tragedy near Christmas Island.

But Mr Abbott said he had spoken to Mr Turnbull and he denies the claims.

"He supports the shadow cabinet position, I understand he's also responded to the story in the paper today and said that it's utterly without foundation," the opposition leader told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Abbott said an effective government policy was needed to tackle the asylum seeker issue, not bipartisanship.

"The only way to sort this out is to change the policies that just aren't working," he said.

"If the prime minister thinks a particular bit of legislation is that important that it must be passed in the national interest she should declare it to be a matter of confidence and put it to the parliament on that basis.

"It is not the job of the opposition to support bad legislation from a failing government."

Labor's Malaysia Solution is designed to prevent more asylum-seeker deaths at sea but the plan stalled last year, because it did not get the opposition's approval, which it needs for it to be lawful.

The West Australian

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