Australian Politics

Candidate links traffic congestion to asylum seekers

Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has jumped to the defence of a Liberal Party candidate who linked the number of asylum seekers in Australia to traffic congestion and hospital overcrowding.

Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has jumped to the defence of a Liberal Party candidate who linked the number of asylum seekers in Australia to traffic congestion and hospital overcrowding.

Speaking in an interview broadcast by the ABC last night, Liberal Candidate Fiona Scott said she thought asylum seekers were a "hot topic" because of overcrowded traffic in the electorate of Lindsay, the seats she hopes to win from Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury this weekend.

"I mean how much fun is the M4 in peak hour? It's not fun at all," she added. "It means that when you think of overcrowding it becomes an issue for people, it really does."

When asked to explain what she meant, Ms Scott replied: "My recommendation is go and sit in the emergency department of Nepean hospital and go and sit on the M4, and people see 50,000 people come in by boat, that's more than twice the population of Glenmore Park [in the electorate of Lindsay]."

"I think what Fiona was referring to was broader population impact," Mr Morrison said during a debate held at the Press Club in Canberra this afternoon.

"We had that debate at the last election. We are not having that one today. But the population pressures on Western Sydney, and in places in Melbourne, I think put real constraints on the cost of living, on the infrastructure, that people can access and the services they can provide," he added.

This morning, Ms Scott told Penrith Press her comments had been taken out of context

"I certainly think things were taken out of context with the way it was cut. The points I was making is we've had 16 years of failed Labor government here at state level, which has meant we haven't had the infrastructure investments that we have needed here." she said.

Also present at the Press Club debate was Immigration Minister Tony Burke, who said the comments "would rate as some of the silliest of the election campaign."

Ms Scott was the focus of a minor controversy earlier in the election campaign after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott referred to her as having "sex appeal".


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