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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Breakfast'. The Prime Minister

rejected claims there's been a

surge in people snuggling. The

Opposition says the

Government's decision to soften

the country's immigration

policy lead to an increase in

arrivals, shadow immigration spokesman Sharman Stone joins

us from Canberra. What do you

say the softening is that lead

to an increase In about mid

August we had Minister Evans

announce he was abolishing the

temporary protection visas,

closing Peru and menace Island

as offshore processing centres.

That's fine. He failed to say

at the same time that he was

keeping the excise migration

zones, that mandatory detention

was centre and front of their

policy in terms of if you do

arrive unlawfully, you will go

to a place like Christmas

Island, and be kept there until

we sought out where you are

from, your security and health

issues, what they are, and he

didn't talk about the fact that

if you have anything to do with

people smuggling. There's a 20

year jail term. It's a

combination of what the

Minister did and did not say

leading to this problem where

we had season attempts to get

into the country since August,

since the announcement. Sharman

Stone, are you saying it's

softened too much or it's too

hard. I am not clear

here. Well, I'm saying that you

don't have a significant change in boarder protection

policy. If you don't have a

significant change in border

protection policy, you can't

argue there's been any real

change in policy that's therefore led to a change in

the number of boats coming

here. Certainly if you have put

the message out there that you

are no longer going to have

special visas for those that

come unlawfully, it doesn't

matter how you arrive. That's

an interesting message for

people smugglers, if you say

you put Men as island and Nauru

out of business, but Christmas

Island still being in business,

you have a problem. We have Indonesian officials working

hard with us, are concerned. We

had already one boat picked up

going down with a hole in it,

and the motor not working. We

had potentially a few days ago

another problem with people

literally swimming onshore

asking, "Where are we?" People

smugglers don't give a dash

about the safety of customers

and clients. They charge

upfront. They don't care about

the Indonesian crew, the

smallest link in the change

when it comes to reimbursement.

This is a humanitarian issue,

how do we help people smugglers

get the idea loud and clear

that Australia a strong on --

border protection, people

arriving unlawfully - we'll

look at their bona fides, where

they came from, what their

intents are. Minister Evans,

and the Rudd Government seem to

try to go softly, softly at the

expense, I suggest, of people's

safety in the short and long

term. I'm Kevin Rudd will be

happy to here you say Australia

is strong on border protection,

we'll wait to here his response

to that. He says the facts

don't bear your argument out

Sharman Stone, saying in 2008

there's been four boats, 48

passengers. In 2007 there were

five boats with 148 passengers.

So you can't argue there's been

an increase. That was the

uproar in Question Time. Mr

Rudd is misinformed or he can't

count. We are talking about

attempted arrivals, I have a

list of seven of those since

August. It includes four who

were picked up by Australians,

another three on their way

picked up by the Indonesians.

I'm afraid four and three is

seven, not five, and all of

these arrivals have come in the

last three months, since

Minister Evans went public on

Labor's new look border

protection asylum seeking type

regime. It's a serious problem,

a global problem. People

smuggling is enormous business,

worth billions of dollars

worldwide. And we know that

Indonesia is concerned that

there seems to be heightened

activity. We are worried about

what happens over Christmas.

Again the Rudd Labor Government

telegraphed loud and clear that

there's a stand down for the

navy, a go slow as we give the

Defence Forces a rest. If you

look for good news as a people

smuggler, it's not much better

than that. Sharman Stone,

thanks for your time. We did

request an interview with

Immigration Minister Senator

Chris Evans, it was declined.

Interesting that this

discussion is revved up again

by the Coalition. I think

there's a bit of politics going

on. The numbers don't justify

the debate. Certainly at the

level it was carried out