The fight for Bennelong was cranked up another notch on Sunday when the Prime Minister himself used asylum seekers to take a swing at Labor candidate Kristina Keneally.
Joining Liberal candidate John Alexander in the Bennelong seat on Sunday, Malcolm Turnbull accused the former NSW premier of endangering Australia's security and bettering business for people smugglers with her immigration policy.
"Kristina Keneally wants us to bring all of those asylum seekers from Manus Island to Australia," Turnbull said.
"Right now, the people smugglers are using Kristina Keneally's articles, her statements on this as a marketing tool to get people onto their boats to take them to sea.
"How many of those asylum seekers is she going to bring to Bennelong? She is rolling out the welcome mat to the people smugglers."
PM campaigning in Bennelong & accusing @KKeneally of being on a one-woman mission to start the boats: "How many of those asylum seekers is she going to bring to Bennelong?"— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) November 26, 2017
Keneally hit back at Turnbull's remarks, taking issue with the Prime Minister's implication there was Labor Party disunity caused by her stance on asylum seekers which conflicted with party policy.
"The Prime Minister wants to make mischief with this issue because he doesn't have anything else to talk about. Nobody wants the people smugglers back in business. I completely support Bill Shorten and Labor's position on asylum seekers," Keneally said.
The people smugglers are keeping a very close eye on the Bennelong byelection, according to PM Turnbull 🤔— Adam Gartrell (@adamgartrell) November 26, 2017
Asylum seeker advocates also took fierce issue with Turnbull's comments which coincided with protests around Australia over the government's treatment of Manus Island refugees.
Turnbull using Manus refugees as political pawns in Bennelong. Not satisfied with denying them medical assistance, food, water, & killing their dogs in front of them. Nice PM you've got, Australia.— Glorious Pecora (@noplaceforsheep) November 26, 2017
On the same day, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) claimed the organisation had been denied access to the detained men for most of the day, many of whom had been reportedly injured when they were forcibly removed from the centre.