Australia’s opposition leader says he won’t welcome refugees


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten rejected a newspaper report Thursday saying his center-left Labor Party would lay out a welcome mat for asylum seekers if it wins next month’s national election.

The front-page story in the Daily Telegraph newspaper attacked Labor’s policy, when it was last in power, of giving refugees who arrived by boat permanent visas instead of the three-year visas the conservative government introduced in 2014.

Labor would get rid of the so-called temporary protection visas if it wins the July 2 election, but says that does not mean it easing up on illegal boat arrivals.

Opponents of the temporary visas argue that they leave refugees with uncertain futures and the prospect that they might one day be sent back to their homelands.