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Over 3,000 illegal arrivals under Rudd's PNG election fix

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Media Release

Scott Morrison MP Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Shadow Minister for Productivity and Population Coalition Campaign Spokesman

Michael Keenan MP

Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection

Sunday 25 August 2013

Over 3,000 illegal arrivals under Rudd’s PNG election fix

The latest illegal boat means over 3,000 people have arrived on 41 illegal boats since Kevin Rudd announced his PNG election fix - more people than could be accommodated on Manus Island - Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.

"As Kevin Rudd's PNG election fix continues to unravel, the boats continue to arrive," Mr Morrison said.

"More people have now arrived on illegal boats than the 3,000 Manus Island could accommodate, as suggested by PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

"Labor always talks a big game on border protection and there have been no bigger talkers than Kevin Rudd and Tony Burke, but that talk is never backed by delivery.

"This latest illegal boat comes after a letter from the PNG Government obtained by the Coalition revealed that the Government is not even talking about how they will resettle people in PNG, let alone having any agreed plan. Minister Burke simply cannot provide any details on how resettlement will work in PNG under his big, bold promise, dumping the details to the other side of the election.

"Resettlement is the centrepiece of Kevin Rudd's PNG election fix, and yet the arrangements for implementing resettlement simply don't exist. This is a doughnut policy - there is nothing in the middle.

“Labor is pushing off all the detail until after the election, asking Australians to take their word for it.

"If elected, the Coalition would salvage what we could out of the PNG arrangement but reinstate policies to stop the boats under Operation Sovereign Borders, including our Regional Deterrence Framework to stop asylum seekers trying to enter Australia from first moving into our region.

"As Kevin Rudd's campaign continues to unravel so too does his PNG election fix. The Coalition by contrast will end Labor's cost, chaos and tragedy on our borders if given the task by the Australian people at the election," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Keenan said: "There has now been 10 times the amount of people arriving by boat in the four weeks since the PNG solution was announced, than in the last six years of the Howard Government.

"For Labor to argue that their PNG arrangement is stopping the boats from coming is just more talk from a desperate Government.

"Labor doesn't have the answers when it comes to protecting our borders and under their leadership the people smuggling trade will continue to prosper," Mr Keenan said.

Media Contact: Julian Leembruggen (Mr Morrison) 0419 494 667 or Hannah Weir (Mr Keenan) 0458 167 600

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