20 Apr 2009

Tighter asylum seeker policies urged by Turnbull

10:58 am on 20 April 2009

Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull wants the Australian government to tighten its asylum seeker policies to help deter people smuggling.

Mr Turnbull wants the government to reinstate temporary protection visas, designed to make permanent status harder for people who arrive by boat.

The opposition says the government's relaxed immigration policies have led to a recent influx in unauthorised boat arrivals.

Last week a boat carrying asylum seekers exploded and sank in Australian waters. It was the sixth unauthorised arrival in Australian waters this year.

Mr Turnbull told ABC Radio on Monday that "people smugglers have been testing the envelope."

He said the objective of Australian policy should be no unauthorised boat arrivals.

The Rudd government made changes to mandatory detention requirements to allow women and children to be detained in the community.

It also dismantled the previous government's polict of processing refugees offshore under UN guidelines.