On the same day it emerged opposition leader Bill Shorten was to embrace the government's hardline "turn back" boat policy, it's understood he's also planning to seriously increase the country's refugee intake.
Ahead of this weekend's national Labor conference, Shorten has been laying out a roadmap to next year's election with announcements on climate change, taxation and asylum seekers.
BuzzFeed News understands Shorten will put forward a policy to double Australia's refugee intake from 13,750 to 27,000 per year.
It's good news for refugees and will no doubt be an effort to comfort the left wing of the Labor party.
Members of the left faction are furious with Shorten for adopting the hardline tactics made famous under the current government of towing asylum seeker boats back to their home countries.
"I do think there will be a lot of people this morning asking whether they will be able to vote for Labor," said Labor backbencher and former speaker Anna Burke.
According to Sky News the left faction has met today and "turnbacks" are likely to become party policy.
Shorten told Channel 7 this morning he'd want the policy on the table going into an election year.
"I think it's important to be honest with my party and the nation and, if I was to form a government, I would want the option of boat turn-backs — where safe to do so — on the table," he said.
Refugee advocates have roundly criticised towing back asylum seeker boats, claiming it puts those fleeing persecution at risk.
Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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