20 Jul 2013

Advertising blitz aimed at asylum seekers

10:28 am on 20 July 2013

The Australian government is running advertisements in newspapers across the country in an attempt to promote a new plan to discourage asylum seeker boats coming to Australia.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday announced asylum seekers will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and resettlement if they are found to be refugees.

Mr Rudd said those found not to be refugees will be sent back to their own nations or a third country.

The ABC reports the plan will be backed up by an advertising blitz at home and in the region.

Advertisements are running in newspapers across the country on Saturday and the ABC understands the ads will also be placed in papers in the region.

Mr Rudd also released a video address with a stern message for people smugglers.

"Your business model is over," he said. "People who come by boat now have no prospect of being resettled in Australia. The rules have changed."

The ABC reports the deal is a dramatic reversal of the asylum seeker policies put in place by Mr Rudd when he first became prime minister in 2007.

The regional settlement arrangement will be effective for 12 months and there will be no cap on the number of people.

The package includes a significant expansion of the Manus Island detention centre to house 3,000 people up from the original capacity of 600. Currently, about 145 people are housed on the island.

Coalition comment

''This is Labor's fifth go at getting it right,'' said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on Friday.

"I think the question that the Australian people have to ask is, who do you trust on this subject? Who do you trust to stop the boats? Do you trust the political party which started them up again?

"Or you trust the party that is the original and the best when it comes to actually stopping the boats?"