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Rudd slams PM over boat people ban

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Kevin Rudd has accused Malcolm Turnbull of trying to appease the right of the Liberal party with his latest plan to ban some asylum seekers from entering Australia.

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The former Labor prime minister, who has kept quiet on domestic policy issues for the past three years, argues the proposal to stop people arriving by boat from ever obtaining a visa is a new low and should be opposed.

“This measure is about the politics of symbols, designed to throw red meat at the right, including the Hansonite insurgency, and to grovel to the broad politics of xenophobia,” Rudd wrote in an opinion piece published by Fairfax Media on Wednesday.

Rudd described the Coalition’s plan as “legislative folly”.

“It is without any policy merit in dealing with the real policy challenges all countries face today in what is now a global refugees crisis,” he wrote.

“And it does nothing to help those refugees left to rot for more than three years, who should be resettled now.”

Rudd argued a 2013 deal he struck with Papua New Guinea to process refugees through Manus Island was only meant to run for a year.

“This July 2013 policy was conceived as a mechanism to break the gathering momentum of the people-smuggling industry,” he wrote.

The Coalition deliberately misrepresented it as a permanent measure, he added.

Rudd also criticised the government for a failed refugee resettlement agreement with Cambodia and for refusing to accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said Rudd had no credibility on the issue of asylum seekers because Labor caused “chaos and dysfunction” on Australia’s borders.

“Kevin Rudd has completely lost the plot,” he told ABC radio.

“The government is not going to take advice off somebody of such little credibility as Kevin Rudd.”

AAP

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