Immigration is becoming one of the important themes in the Australian election campaign. Since January, more than 16,000 illegal migrants have arrived in Australia by boat.
The country's two major parties are promising stronger measures to limit these migrants.
But critics say stricter measures hurt people who already need help. In recent months, several boats carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia have sunk. Many people have drowned.
Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to send asylum seekers who come by boat to a nearby country, Papua New Guinea. He says they will not be able to move later to Australia. His plan, he says, is about saving lives, not winning votes.
"Australians have had enough of seeing asylum seekers dying in the waters to our north and northwest. They've had enough of people smugglers profiting from death."
Mr. Rudd's opponent is Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott. Mr. Abbott wants to use Australia's military to stop the boats.
"We are announcing today that under a coalition government that we will swiftly implement Operation Sovereign Borders."
Many voters across Australia express strong feelings about the government's plan to stop asylum seekers. Some say those who come by boat to seek asylum are just trying to get ahead of legal immigrants. Others say Australia is a rich nation that should treat asylum seekers more humanely.
"I feel sorry for them because they are coming from third world countries."
"What about coming by boat? Around here people seem quite angry about that."
"They shouldn't be angry. Just put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you were back at their country and they can't live in their own country. They have got no choice but to come by boat."
Riz Wakil came to Australia by boat more than a decade ago. He is from Afghanistan. Mr. Wakil now runs a successful printing business in Sydney.
He says the major political parties are not being fair about the issue. Mr. Wakil says the politicians are trying to say that refugees are bad people who are destroying Australian society. Instead, he says, politicians should be trying harder to improve education, retirement programs and other issues that he sees as more important.
The elections are on September 7.