Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Andrew Meares Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has supported Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Australia’s success as a high-migration, multicultural success story was based on strong border protection policies that would be at risk if Labor won the July 2 election, Malcolm Turnbull has warned.

The Prime Minister accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of not being committed to “strong borders” and warned that Labor and the Greens had to “face the natural consequences of the soft border policies they propose”.

These included the prospect of families drowning at sea, asylum seekers being placed in detention and an erosion of support for high levels of immigration and multiculturalism.

“Barely a day goes past when I don’t celebrate that we are the most successful and harmonious multicultural nation in the world. But we cannot be under any illusions about what our multicultural success is built upon,” Mr Turnbull has written in an opinion piece exclusively for Fairfax Media.

“Strong borders are the foundation of our high-immigration multicultural success. This is not a hypothetical proposition.

“We’ve seen elsewhere what happens when nations lose control of their borders and fail to invest in the integration of migrants who arrive.”

Mr Turnbull said this also happened in Australia under the previous Labor government “when a collapse of border security emboldened 50,000 individuals to entrust their lives to people smugglers”.

Mr Turnbull also defended Immigration Minister Peter Dutton who stood by his claim that refugees accepted under separate Labor and Greens commitments to a higher intake would be “taking Australian jobs” and “languish in unemployment queues”.

“I very strongly believe that the threat coming across our borders, when you look at what’s happened in Brussels and Paris, the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, this is a bigger issue at this election than it has ever been,” Mr Dutton said on commercial radio.

Labor and the Greens have accused the Coalition of ramping up debate on border protection to win votes, with Mr Shorten claiming Mr Turnbull is running a scare campaign based on “pathetic lies”.

Labor has also dismissed Mr Dutton’s claims that Labor planned to double the intake immediately, at a cost of $2.5 billion. It maintains its proposal would not ramp up refugee resettlement beyond the government’s own proposed intake until 2019-20, at an additional cost over the forward estimates of just $17.2 million.

Under Labor’s policy, it final target of 27,000 a year would not be reached for a decade, costing $1.87 billion over seven years, according to the figures.

The Greens propose increasing the intake to 50,000 next financial year but say their border protection policies would save $160 million over the next four years because billions of dollars would be saved by closing the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres and limiting onshore detention to 30 days.

Mr Turnbull claims divisions within Labor over the party’s support for turn-backs and offshore processing are driving the party towards a partnership with the Greens.

“But those who trade in gesture politics, who claim a monopoly on empathy, have to face the natural consequences of the soft border policies they propose,” he writes.

“There is nothing generous about policies that lead families to drown at sea. There is nothing humane about gestures that lead to young women, men and their children in detention.”

Labor has ruled out an alliance in government with the Greens and has vowed to move quickly to find third countries to resettle those who have been found to be refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.