Opposition leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Chris Ison

Abbott reiterates political promises on 100-day countdown

SENIOR opposition figures have given an unequivocal promise to stop the flow of asylum seekers coming to Australia within one term of winning government.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott used the 100-day countdown to the September 14 election to repeat his vow to "stop the boats" and "repeal the carbon tax".

Pressed by reporters whether the former would be achieved in the first term of an Abbott government he said "the short answer is yes", adding the Coalition would "make a difference from day one".

It was significant because he had previously resisted placing a timeframe on the commitment.

"We've done it before. We will do it again," Mr Abbott told reporters outside Parliament House.

"The elements of our plan are very clear: we will have temporary protection visas to deny the people smugglers a product to sell; rigorous offshore processing at Nauru and Manus; we will always maintain the option of turning boats around where it's safe to do so, and; we will work much more constructively and closely with Indonesia because the vast majority of the illegal arrivals transit through that country."

Later in an interview on Sky News opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison was also asked how long it would take a Coalition government to stem boat arrivals, with the following exchange taking place:

Mr Morrison: "We will stop the boats."

Journalist: "In a first term?"

Mr Morrison: "Of course. Is that clear enough?"

Journalist: "There will be no more boats?"

Mr Morrison: "We will achieve the objectives and the goals that the Howard government achieved in our first term, and that is the commitment. That is the absolute commitment. No one should doubt it and that's what we will do."

The Coalition is acutely aware how big a task it will be to make good on its promise.

With every boat arrival, Mr Morrison issues a statement containing a running tally of how many asylum seekers have been stopped trying to get to Australia by boat.

In this financial year alone more than 22,000 people have been intercepted.


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