REFUGEES: Rudd 'leap frogs' Abbott on race to the right

Kevin Rudd's astounding announcement that all boat arrivals "from now on" would never be resettled in Australia, and subject to a jerry-rigged offshore dumping deal with the Papua New Guinea government has shocked many.

Every asylum seeker that arrives by boat for at least the next 12 months would be sent to Papua New Guinea, with no cap on the number. In exchange, Australia would pump money into PNG's government for apparent health and education reforms.

Tony Abbott had little to say in a press conference after the announcement, held with Liberal immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison and deputy leader Julie Bishop. Struggling to find ground to the right of the extreme move by Rudd, Abbott said he "welcomed" the policy, but claimed it "would not work with Mr Rudd in charge".

"Do you trust the political party that closed down Manus Island? Or do you trust the party that is the original and the best when it comes to stopping the boats."

Greens leader Christine Milne and immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young outlined the many human rights violations inherent in the new plan. Milne said the plan was "ruthless and ... repugnant". She said Rudd had "leap frogged" Abbott in his bid beat the Liberal leader at the next election.

When Rudd was deposed by Julia Gillard in 2010, this was exactly what he vowed not to do: "If I return as the leader of the Government and Prime Minister, I will be very clear of one thing, this party and Government will not be lurching to the right on the question of asylum seekers."

Refugee rights groups around the country have begun to respond with snap-actions and statements. The Refugee Action Coalition said the government's accompanying plan to expand the Manus Island detention camp to a capacity of 3000 would cause serious harm to refugees.

It has planned a snap action. The Refugee Action Collectives in Victoria and Brisbane have announced actions.

UPDATE: NATIONWIDE PROTESTS:

SYDNEY - 12PM SAT 20 JULY @ TOWN HALL

MELBOURNE - 12PM SAT 20 JULY @ STATE LIBRARY

ADELAIDE - 2PM SUN 21 JULY @ PARLIAMENT HOUSE

BRISBANE - 9AM MON 22 JULY @ KEVIN RUDD'S OFFICE - 653 WYNNUM RD, MORNINGSIDE

CANBERRA - 12PM SAT 27 JULY @ PETRIE PLAZA

PERTH - 12PM SAT 20 JULY @ FORREST CHASE, PERTH CBD

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