Asylum seekers an major concern in New South Wales of Australia: Labor Party (2)

16:37, July 20, 2010      

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Ferguson also said the opposition was trying to squeeze the government on the asylum seeker issue.

"The Opposition claims that basically changes that have occurred in Australia are because the government's been too soft - so we're getting squeezed both ways, we're apparently mimicking the Opposition but we're too soft," Ferguson said.

Ferguson denied the federal government's proposal for an offshore processing center in East Timor was in response to racial fears.

And he played down East Timor's rejection of the idea, saying it was simply a result of the "internal dynamics of the East Timorese government".

"I don't think we should be too certain over what is going to happen in East Timor," he said.

"There is a situation between (Prime Minister Xanana) Gusmao and (President Jose Ramos) Horta and who has balance of power there."

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Saturday announced the general election date on August 21. Asylum seekers and climate change action have been some of the major issues that will impact on voters.

Source: Xinhua
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