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Landry backs promise to slash asylum seeker arrivals by 6000

MICHELLE Landry is backing Tony Abbott's promise to slash the number of asylum seekers accepted onto Australian soil by more than 6000 a year.

The Opposition Leader last week announced a Tony Abbott-led government would wind back the recent government commitment to increase Australia's annual intake to 20,000 - opening the door to only 13,750.

Echoing her leader's "illegal" terminology, the Liberal National Party's federal candidate for the seat of Capricornia said people should not be able to sidestep the correct channels.

"They're coming into the country illegally," she said.

"We've got pensioners on the poverty line and they're seeing these people just handed things like a free medical pension."

Legal experts have recently attacked Mr Abbott's repeated assertions it is "illegal" for asylum seekers to arrive by boat on Australian shores.

International law experts said Australian and international laws were clear it was not illegal to enter Australia without a visa and seek asylum.

"Well I'd have to read up on that," Ms Landry said when questioned about her statement.

The asylum seeker debate has caused rifts within the Labor Party this week, forcing a softening of policy around refugee work rights.

The Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last week announced those who could not be sent to Nauru or Manus Island because there was not enough room, would be released into the community with no work rights and limited financial support.

But on Monday, after a backlash from Labor MPs, he signalled a willingness to put mechanisms in place for those refugees to be able to support themselves.

Topics:  michelle landry, tony abbott




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