This issue more than any really stirs up emotion and there is so much misinformation flying around it's incredible. Both major parties claim to have the solution and are trying to one-up each other; it would be funny if it didn't involve people's lives.
Firstly Labor announced a new hardline policy - no asylum-seekers who arrived by boat would be granted residency in Australia. Instead they'd all be sent for processing to Papua New Guinea, where a deal was struck for these people to be resettled. Then the Libs claimed that the policy was unworkable, and that they, if they were elected, would turn all the boats back. Of course Labor stated that turning the boats back wouldn't deter people from scuttling their boats so the Navy would HAVE to rescue them.
A couple of boats arrived, and their occupants were transported to Papua New Guinea. Last I heard, over 50 of the arrivals have since asked to be repatriated back to Iran.
Liberal's latest idea, announced last Friday, is that they will set money aside in the Budget to go to Indonesia and buy all of the dodgy boats from the people smugglers, so that they don't have the vessels to transport the asylum-seekers in.
Yes, I know. Read it again, I'll wait.
I just can't wait to see what the Labor party proposes to counter that.
Of course this ignores the fact that over 70% of illegal (ie queue-jumpers without papers) immigrants arrive via plane and disappear off into the general populace.