Friday 6th May 2011
The arrival of another boat carrying more than sixty people will put even more pressure on the Government's asylum seeker budget that has already blown out by than $1.4 billion, Shadow Minister for Productivity and Population & Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.
“More than 80 boats and 4500 people have now arrived in 2010/11, second only to Labor's record result last year,” Mr Morrison said.
“The continued arrival of illegal boats and record populations in our detention centre has so far caused a $1.4 billion blowout in Labor's asylum budget,” he said.
“That’s 1.4 billion reasons in health, education or debt reduction as to why this Government should be condemned for abolishing the strong border protection regime they inherited from the Coalition. ??
“Next Tuesday, I expect a further half a billion dollar blowout in these figures, if they are telling the truth,” he said.
“The arrival of another boat comes as Julia Gillard appears set for a humiliating backdown on her East Timor proposal, as she now seeks to adopt part of the Coalition's Pacific Solution in PNG.
“If Labor are now looking to admit their failure and embrace Coalition policy, they cannot do it in half measures. A lukewarm commitment by cherry picking measures will fail to convince people smugglers they are serious,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Keenan said: “Considering this boat arrival managed to make its way all the way to the Australian mainland, right near Broome in Western Australia, it is alarming that the Government have left Australia’s maritime contiguous zone vulnerable to exploitation by people smugglers.”
“The men and women from Australian Customs and Border Protection Command do an outstanding job with the resources the Gillard Labor Government have given them, however it has become clear that they are stretched beyond capacity and cannot keep up with this constant flood of arrivals.
“With every empty announcement from the Gillard Labor Government we see the chaos continue and the boats keep arriving, leaving our mainland border security efforts vulnerable to other organised criminal activity such as illicit drug and weapons smuggling,” he said.
“Not only have Australia’s ports and airports fallen victim to criminal exploitation, our maritime borders have been left exposed with gapping holes under this Labor Government.
“People smugglers have taken note that the Gillard Labor Government does not have Australia’s national security as a priority and will continue to use the Government’s weaknesses to peddle their insidious trade in human misery,” Mr Keenan said.
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