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Opposition runs away from "stop the boats" promise



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THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday, 14 March 2013

OPPOSITION RUNS AWAY FROM “STOP THE BOATS” PROMISE

We’ve always known the experts don’t believe the Opposition’s policy on asylum seekers will work.

Now we know the Opposition doesn’t believe it will work either.

Tony Abbott and his Immigration Spokesperson are running away from their promise to “stop the boats”, refusing to say when - or if - a Coalition Government would be able to fulfil their commitment.

Mr Abbott has previously said he would stop the boats within months. Today he is scuttling away from that commitment, saying he would only be able to “make a difference from the first few weeks”, refusing to say when he would stop the boats.

Last night, the Member for Cook admitted the “stop the boats” promise was something the Opposition would only be “attempting” to do if they make it to government - and he couldn’t say when.

Speaking to Andrew Bolt on 2GB on Wednesday, the Member for Cook would not confirm the length of time a Coalition Government would take to “stop the boats”.

In fact, he said a Coalition Government wouldn’t “stop the boats” but rather be “aiming” for the same levels as under Howard.

When repeatedly asked when a Coalition Government could reduce the number of boats to Howard-era levels in their first term, he responded with:

“I’m not making such forecasts”

“I don’t put timeframes on it”

2GB 13 March 2013

The Opposition is finally admitting what the Government has always known, that Tony Abbot’s “stop the boats” promise is not an achievable election commitment but a dog whistle.

The Gillard Government knows that a three word slogan will not stop the global problem of people using desperate measures to seek asylum.

There is no quick fix to stop asylum seekers traveling to Australia by boat.

We need a regional approach involving countries of origin, transit and destination under the auspices of the Bali Process.

The Gillard Government is determined to break the people smugglers’ business model and stop them taking people’s life savings and all too often their lives.

We are committed to implementing all the recommendations of the Expert Panel into Asylum Seekers.

It’s time the Opposition and the Greens Party listened to the experts and support the recommendations in full.

Media Adviser: Maria Hawthorne 0407 015 986

Link to 2GB interview: http://www.2gb.com/article/steve-price-and-andrew-bolt-13th-march

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