The radio advertisements will be played on high-rating AM and FM stations down the east coast and feature a man and a woman questioning why the Coalition would oppose offshore processing. The campaign will run into the next parliamentary sitting week, beginning on October 11, when a vote is expected on the government's amendments to the Migration Act, which seek to put the controversial Malaysian solution and offshore processing beyond legal doubt.
But the opposition was sceptical last night about the impact the campaign would have, saying the public had come to distrust the government on the issue of border protection. "Two weeks of spin on radio won't make up for years of policy failure," opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said.
"After all their failure, Labor still don't understand that you can't spin the boats away. You need proven policy."
Labor is emboldened by internal research showing the majority of voters believe the opposition should support the government's amendments.
t could then resurrect its deal to send up to 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in return for 4000 confirmed refugees. Mr Abbott wants an amendment that would restrict offshore processing to countries that have signed UN refugee conventions - which Malaysia has not.
Labor believes there is confusion in the community over Mr Abbott's stance.
The advertising campaign, authorised by ALP national secretary George Wright, capitalises on this and will run on capital city commercial stations over the next few weeks.
The Government is desperate to stem a flow of boats that has begun since the High Court effectively scuttled its Malaysian policy.
On Saturday, the fourth boat in about a week sailed into Australian waters. It was carrying 70 people.
The four boats held about 320 asylum seekers.