Don't get on a boat, just fly straight here instead
DON'T take a leaky boat to Australia. Fly here instead and be processed at the airport
That is the message from Palmer United Party candidate Anthony Stanton to asylum seekers.
Mr Stanton, who recently paid a visit to noted refugee destination Christmas Island, said his party's policy on asylum seekers would save money, save lives and prevent families from being torn apart by current policies.
Palmer United also believes mandatory detention is inhumane. Mr Stanton said refugees already fly to Indonesia before taking a boat to Australia, so by taking a direct flight they would bypass people smugglers and treacherous seas.
"There will still be some boat arrivals. That is a reality," Mr Stanton said.
"But if there is a method that is reasonably efficient and it's safe, then most people by logic will take that method.
"Most people arriving by boat have a passport and have flown from their home countries to Indonesia to board on the boats.
"People smugglers are telling them to destroy the paperwork because that aids their refugee application when they get here. Our policy is to let them fly to Australia and we will process them when they get here.
"Then it is a matter of setting up standing tribunals at the airports. What we are doing at the moment is spending billions of dollars making detention camps in other people's countries.
"I think it is far better to spend some money in our own country employing our own tradespeople and developing facilities at the airports. We are not talking about detention camps.
"They would probably be along the lines of a basic multi-tower motel. The ground floor would be conference rooms and the tribunal would sit in there permanently.
"Countries like Canada already use this method. If you arrive without a visa your application for asylum is processed on the point of arrival.
"If you have no case, you are flown back to the country you came from. That is probably about a third.
"A third of cases have stories that are convincing and come from countries where they are being persecuted. They can be brought straight into our system.
"Another (third) is going to be more problematic. We don't have all of the solutions, but we are 100% opposed to mandatory detention and locking up women and kids and separating families."
Blair MP Shayne Neumann said Mr Palmer's solution was "not practicable" and contrasted it with Labor's PNG Solution under which asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat without a visa are settled in Papua New Guinea if they are found to be legitimate refugees
"Since Kevin Rudd announced that arrangement with the prime ministers of Papua New Guinea and Nauru we have seen a 40% reduction in vessels coming to Australia.
"The best way to prevent drowning at sea is to make sure people don't get on those boats. Clive Palmer's policy would be uncontested and open-ended.
"He is basically saying that if you want to get to Australia...you should go through unorthodox and irregular channels."