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Greens MP slams 'Trump-style' visa ban

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Roje Adaimy

Malcolm Turnbull's planned lifetime ban on boat-arriving asylum seekers is the equivalent of Donald Trump's proposed wall between the US and Mexico, a Greens MP has told parliament.

Adam Bandt lashed out at the prime minister over a government plan to deny entry visas for those who have used people smugglers, which passed the lower house on Thursday.

It was a policy American president-elect Mr Trump would be proud of, he said.

"This is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's equivalent of saying he won't allow Muslims into the country," Mr Bandt told MPs.

"This is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's equivalent (of building) a wall to keep people out."

He said it was a shameful attempt by Mr Turnbull to use the politics of fear and race to win votes, and Australia was better than that.

Mr Bandt backed an unsuccessful amendment proposed by independent MP Andrew Wilkie that called on the government to develop a more sophisticated response to the global refugee crisis.

Mr Wilkie hit out at both the coalition and Labor for treating it as a border security problem instead of a humanitarian issue.

"It's about time the Liberal party, the National party and the Labor party all stopped worrying about their political self-interest and started acting like leaders," he told parliament.

He wants a genuine regional solution involving most, if not all, south-east Asian countries.

The bill cleared the lower house, even though Labor and crossbench MPs Rebekha Sharkie, Cathy McGowan, Mr Bandt and Mr Wilkie voted against it.

It's not certain it will get through the Senate, with crossbencher Nick Xenophon - whose team holds three key votes - flagging support only if Australia doubles its refugee intake.

An Essential Poll released this week showed 56 per cent of Australians approve of the legislation - including 52 per cent of Labor voters.

The federal government insists the new laws are needed to ensure illegal arrivals can never find a way into the country.

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