Tony Abbott in Geraldton today talking about "the boats"

Geraldton would normally only see a federal opposition leader maybe right before an election. 

But Tony Abbott has decided to capitalise on the recent asylum seeker arrivals and attempt to score some political points by conducting a "photo opportunity" here in town.

But will the "stop the boats" line do the Liberals more harm than good? Many Geraldton residents are tired of the point scoring by political parties on the back of their city.

People have even informed us that their opinion on the "boat people" has changed since seeing some asylum seekers in the flesh; Some who were once very much in favour of "stopping the boats" now feel there must have been a very good reason why someone would take such a risky journey and we should treat them a bit more humanely.

We'll keep you up to date with how Mr Abbott's visit carries out. Do you feel there is too much political point scoring over this event?


Mr Tony Abbott appeared at Dome on our beautiful foreshore a little after 10am to chat with a select group of locals including business people and politicians, over a cup of coffee. He was warm and friendly, and many Geraldton locals were pleased he had made the effort to come and visit their city, even if they didn't necessarily agree with his asylum seeker policies. 

He addressed the media around 11, sharing what he viewed as downright policy failure by the Labor government.

He repeated more than once that our PM Julia Gillard and the Labor party should have "left well enough alone"; a cry of "we had the problem sorted and you stuffed it".

He was measured in his words, however, making sure to praise all the individuals that were responsible for protecting our borders and country on a job well done. He also commended all those involved in the handling of the asylum seekers in Geraldton two weeks ago.

Locals came down to Dome hoping to greet the "perhaps future PM" and quiz him on issues they felt were important. Only a small percentage of them had anything to say or ask about border protection though, most were concerned with things like Oakajee Port, fracking and other matters.

The Liberal party traditionally does very well in the Geraldton area both federally and at the state level, and Mr Abbott was kind enough to stop and pose for photographs with people whenever asked. 

Certainly Mr Abbott could have gathered any information he needed over the phone, but most locals seemed impressed he made the effort.

The conversation around town is certainly mixed regarding the asylum seeker topic, but claiming you will "turn the boats around" as Mr Abbott did today is not a certain vote winning line any more. Having seen the boat arrivals in the flesh, numbers of Geraldton residents have told us their opinion on the matter has changed. Seeing the actual people on board the boat made people feel there was more to the conversation than just "stop the boats" and caused them to ask the question "what made these people take this trip?"