Bend a little, Abbott urged

Bend a little, Abbott urged

JULIA Gillard has urged Tony Abbott to keep an open mind on any proposals to break the asylum deadlock put up by a group of experts appointed after a parliamentary gridlock last week.

But the Opposition Leader brushed aside the Prime Minister’s call, insisting that only a change of government, and implementing Liberal policy, would resolve the issue.

”People understand that the only way to stop the boats is to change the government, because they know Labor’s heart just isn’t in it,” he told the Liberal’s federal council in Melbourne. As two more boats carrying 108 people were intercepted overnight Friday, and began their journey to Christmas Island yesterday, Ms Gillard restated her commitment to compromise.

”I want to see effective action,” she said. ”I’ve been prepared to compromise. I am certainly prepared to work with anyone who wants to put the national interest first and get this done.”

Mining magnate Clive Palmer, a delegate to the Liberal meeting and would-be candidate for the party in Queensland, repeated his calls yesterday for Australia to let asylum seekers come by plane to have their claims assessed.

”If they fly to Australia and they are not genuine refugees, we can send them back,” he said. ”Let them have their chance of freedom.”

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