Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists Labor is intent on shutting down offshore processing, despite the opposition accusing him of dishonesty in a bruising debate on border protection.
The coalition government suffered a historic defeat in parliament last week, with Labor and crossbench MPs joining forces to pass a bill making it easier for refugees currently on Manus Island and Nauru to get medical transfers.
Mr Morrison said the move showed a Labor government would not retain tough measures such as turning back boat arrivals.
"What this is about, let's make no mistake, is about shutting down offshore processing," he told 2GB on Monday.
He accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of appealing to the "Canberra bubble" rather than be strong on border protection.
"The government is still here - the one that stopped the boats - and we won't let you in," the prime minister said.
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said Mr Morrison was making it easier for people preying on asylum seekers looking to come to Australia by boat.
"He is the people smugglers' billboard right now when he's saying our borders have become weaker somehow - it's not true," she told Nine Network.
Ms Plibersek denied the laws would encourage asylum seekers to come to Australia.
"The laws last week were really specifically just about people on Manus Island and Nauru. Scott Morrison has been trying to dishonestly say that it was broader than that," she said.
Immigration Minister David Coleman claimed the changes would result in large numbers of transfers.
"It is a very, very low threshold that's required for people to come to Australia, so expect that in short order everyone will come to Australia," Mr Coleman told Sky News.
The prime minister has recorded a video message to be translated into 15 languages and aired in 10 countries considered asylum-seeker hot spots.
While the changes only apply to people already in offshore detention, Mr Morrison argues this is a "nuance" that will be ignored by people smugglers trying to entice asylum seekers onto boats.
Australian Associated Press