Shorten backs a bigger Australia

Labor leadership contender Bill Shorten has promised to be pro-immigration and says the party should revisit work rights for asylum seekers.

Labor leadership candidate Bill Shorten says the party should revisit the question of work rights for asylum seekers and has promised the party will be pro-immigration.

Mr Shorten said he would like to see a change in language on asylum seekers and a recognition that coming to Australia to seek asylum is not illegal.

"I don't think that people wanting to come here are illegal," he told a large crowd at a forum organised by the progressive organisation Per Capita on Wednesday.

"I am ambitious for a big Australia, I am ambitious for more immigration because I think it enriches our country."

Mr Shorten said while action must be taken to discourage people smugglers and stop the deaths at sea, asylum seekers must be supported.

"We can support asylum seekers who have their refugee status acknowledged at the first pass. We revisit the question of having work rights," he said.

Mr Shorten also promised to keep out of factional activities if he becomes opposition leader.

Source AAP

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