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Three boats in 24 hours as Labor wars with itself, not people smugglers

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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling THREE BOATS IN 24 HOURS AS LABOR WARS WITH ITSELF, NOT PEOPLE SMUGGLERS March 20, 2013

Three illegal boats in 24 hours with a total of almost 200 people on board, including one boat believed to have come from Sri Lanka, shows that a government that is at war with itself cannot fight people smugglers, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.

“This is a government that is at war with itself rather than being at war with the people smugglers, a government that is focused on protecting itself rather than protecting our borders,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is a government in a panic room making panicked decisions on a daily basis. That is no way to run the country and no way to protect our borders. Every single new illegal boat arrival just highlights this fact time and again.

“The government tries distraction after distraction but that doesn’t stop the boats coming. Illegal boats and new records for border failure continue to arrive on a daily basis.

“The latest vessel, which was intercepted in the vicinity of Cocos (Keeling) Island, is likely to have arrived from Sri Lanka and would be the first vessel to have come from that country since 21 December last year.

“This further underscores the need for a consistent and universal policy in relation to Sri Lankan boat arrivals, which is what the Coalition has consistently advocated, including in discussions with the Sri Lankan Government when the Coalition visited the country earlier this year.

“When Bob Carr visited Sri Lanka he left them with nothing, he gave them nothing and he did nothing. The Coalition in government would be putting measures in place in Sri Lanka to ensure that vessels did not leave their waters, let alone enter ours,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Keenan said: “The huge influx of boat arrivals continues with 9 boats carrying almost 600 people having been intercepted in the last week alone.

“Border Protection Command continues to struggle with this unprecedented rate of boat arrivals on the limited resources and staff that Labor have allocated them.

“Since coming to office Labor has cut 750 jobs from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service - significantly reducing its ability to protect our borders.

“With all the time, energy and money they have to allocate to intercepting boat arrivals it is no wonder that our borders are being left susceptible to penetration by criminal gangs and illegal fishers,” Mr Keenan said.

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060