I find myself in complete agreement with Malcolm Fraser (a former Liberal Party Prime Mininter) on this issue. In an interview with Margaret Simmons that can be found at this link Fraser said:
The Opposition plays politics with border protection.
The government has got a two headed policy, claiming to be more compassionate than Howard was and to an extent they are but on the other head of their policy they’re saying “we’re just as tough as Howard was”. They can’t have it both ways.
The opposition saying “You’re lost control of the borders" is arrant, absolute, bloody nonsense. (They) claim that 4 or 5 thousand people a year represent a threat to Australia. It’s not so. What we desperately need in this area is a government and an opposition that will develop a unified, sensible, compassionate, firm, if you like, policy, but one which they then take outside the realm of politics, because playing politics with this issue is playing politics with people’s lives, playing politics with people very often fleeing the most terrible tyranny or distress, and that’s the most unseemly thing we could do and it is something which is noticed right around the world and which just makes people wonder have we really put Tampa behind us and more extreme people will ask have we really put the white Australia policy behind us.
I almost feel like going to South Africa or Zimbabwe organise a boat load of white farmers, and I’d sail them into Fremantle harbour and that would expose the policy for what it is in one blow.
Note: the comment is towards the end of the interview. If you don't want to listen to the whole interview I have produced a verbatim summary at this post.