Malcolm Turnbull

Canada a suitable option for Australia's asylum seekers, Labor says

File image of Labor MP Anthony Albanese Source: AAP

Labor MP Anthony Albanese has suggested Canada could be a suitable country for Australia to enter into an agreement to resettle asylum seekers.

Mr Albanese told the ABC's Q&A program on Monday that Canada is among a "range of countries" suited to resettle Australia's asylum seekers.

The labor frontbencher responded to a question by audience member Nicola Dowse on the issue on mandatory resettlement of asylum seekers, by suggesting that Canada is an "obvious" option for Australia's refugees.

Program host Tony Jones asked if New Zealand was also considered, which Mr Albanese answered "it might be".

Mr Albanese said the decision would be up to the migration minister of the day to negotiate those arrangements.

Mr Albanese also said he underestimated the pull factor from Labor's relaxation of the previous Howard government's tough stance on asylum seekers, which resulted in an influx of some 50,000 arrivals and 1000 people drowned at sea.

He said he got it wrong and Labor could not sustain the fact that more than 1000 people were coming, risking their lives by boat to try to get to Australia towards the end of its term in office.

He says Labor doesn't want the people-smuggling trade to start up again, but wants to treat people humanely by doubling the humanitarian intake.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, who joined Mr Albanese on the Q&A panel, says the most compassionate approach is to have a generous and orderly refugee system which looks after everyone, not just those that can pay people smugglers.

MPs need to engage with each other

Mr Albanese says politicians need to engage with each other and move away from slogans and simple solutions, which had been the key to Malcolm Turnbull's initial appeal.

Mr Albanese said Mr Turnbull's popularity at first went through the stratosphere, because he said he'd treat Australians like adults, but it had since fallen.

"I think Australians are looking for that, are looking for substance and are looking for as much unity as possible," he told the ABC Q and A program.

Mr Albanese said Australians breathed a sigh of relief when Tony Abbott ceased being prime minister.

"Now when they look at Malcolm Turnbull, they hear Tony Abbott," he said.

Mr Pyne said Mr Turnbull looked, sounded and acted like a prime minister.

"He's obviously intelligent, he's a success in his own right and he's brought that success into politics. I think he will continue to be prime minister," he said.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch