'Our country': Abbott's tough Australia refugee plan
SYDNEY (AFP) - The conservative frontrunner to become Australia's next prime minister declared "this is our country" as he launched a harsh new temporary visa policy on Friday that would strip boatpeople of basic rights.
Mr Tony Abbott, who opinion polls show is on track to win September 7 national elections, said he planned to return to punitive refugee policies of the former conservative administration, also flagging an axing of appeal rights for failed asylum claims.
"This is our country and we determine who comes here," Mr Abbott told reporters, deliberately harking back to the ruthless stance of veteran Liberal-National coalition leader John Howard.
Mr Abbott's policy will see the 32,000 boatpeople currently awaiting processing by Australia, and any future arrivals, placed on three-year temporary protection visas if they are found to be genuine refugees.