New Coalition policy strips refugees of rights

MORE than 30,000 refugees living in Australia will be denied permanent settlement and have their appeal rights stripped, under a new Coalition policy released on Friday.

The policy would also force all those refugees who arrived by boat onto indefinite work-for-dole obligations.

It marks a return to several Howard government immigration policies, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott saying "this is our country and we will determine who comes here".

All those who already arrived by boat - including at community detention centres and those at offshore centres - will be put on temporary protection visas.

The policy would deny the "irregular maritime arrivals" from ever holding permanent resident status, and move the appeal process from the courts to an administrative function.

Shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison said the policy would "end the tick and flick process" of the current government.

He said those who destroyed their identity documents "won't go to the back of the queue, they won't be in the queue at all".

Mr Morrison said the system would, in part, be modelled on Howard government policies and a system currently operating in the United Kingdom.

He said it would prevent the "90% of those arriving receiving permanent visas", and address "a backlog of more than 30,000 illegal boat arrivals" already waiting for permanent visas.

Immigration Minister Tony Burke said the policy was "irrelevant to those deciding whether they'll get on a boat today".

He said the Coalition was being "mean for the hell of it", indicating the changes would force appeal claims to the High Court, putting extra pressure on the country's highest judicial setting.

Greens immigration spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the policy was simply harsh and cruel, describing the political debate as an "arms race on who can be the cruellest".

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