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Surveillance and quarantine of boat people



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I Surveillance and quarantine of boat people 2 D ecem ber 1977* — In a statem ent today the

i L eader o f the Opposition, the Hon. E. G. Whutlam, ! said:

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The arrival of the boat people from South-East Asia, brings into sharp focus the inadequacy of Australia’s quar­ antine arrangements. It is now nineteen months since the first boat arrived in Darwin. In the last twelve days, nine

boats have arrived, most undetected, with 1000 persons. It was not until last Wednesday that the Fraser Government sent an immigration team to Malaysia to sort out the prob­ lem at the South-East Asian end.

The Fraser Government still lacks a long term policy. There has still been no attempt to discover whether the present rate of boat arrivals will continue, or for how long, and there is no coherent policy for the reception, quaran­

tine or future treatment of the boat people. ; The problem is not confined to refugees. There has been ’ a steady build-up of the number of foreign fishing boats in ' Australian waters. Nothing has been dotie to prevent the

I importation of animal and human diseases, diseased 1 wildlife, drugs or bullion. The Fraser Government has de- 1 ferred for nearly two years the offshore quarantine station ; on Cocos Island, and the Animal Health Laboratory at I Geelong. ; A Labor Government will build additional PCP 420 j government patrol boats. At least twenty can be built .for j the cost of the frigate announced in Mr Fraser’s policy | speech. We will acquire several of the coastal surveillance I version of the Nomad aircraft developed by CAC. It is ;" capable of operating off short, rough strips. j Finally, a Labor Government will set up a Maritime ; Command of the Australian Defence Force to plan and | co-ordinate the activities of our three armed services to ; watch and safeguard our northern approaches and our j 320 km economic zone. A Labor Government will work to

! secure co-operation with our ASEAN neighbours whose ; countries the boat people have been harbouring, to ensure that Australia has early and complete information on those genuine refugees hoping to come here.