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Labor's island hopping service for illegal boats resumes

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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling LABOR’S ISLAND HOPPING SERVICE FOR ILLEGAL BOATS RESUMES September 08, 2012

Another illegal boat, with 99 people on board, this time arriving in the Cocos (Keeling) Island lagoon, shows Labor’s island hopping service for illegal boat arrivals has resumed normal service and still not a single person has been sent to Nauru for processing, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.

"Labor’s island hopping service, flying people arriving on illegal boats at Cocos (Keeling) Island to Christmas Island on expensive charter planes at taxpayer’s expense has resumed, as the people smugglers continue to take advantage of Julia Gillard’s failure on our borders," Mr Morrison said.

"Under Julia Gillard no one has been sent to Nauru for offshore processing. It has now been 26 days since Julia Gillard was dragged kicking and screaming into announcing she would reopen Nauru and still not a single person has been sent there for processing. In that time 1,748 people have arrived on 29 boats.

"The pink batts and school hall debacles showed this Labor government fails to live up to its rhetoric. Labor’s failure to get Nauru up and running, including refusing to give itself the green light to send people to Nauru before the Parliament rose two weeks ago, has reinforced to people smugglers that they are a soft touch.

"Strong border protection is about having the resolve and proven policy measures needed to deter people smugglers and stop the boats. Labor has neither the full suite of Howard measures nor the Howard Government resolve to get this done," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Keenan said: "This latest arrival is the 70th boat to be intercepted this financial year - more than seven times the amount of boats that arrived this time last year financial year.

"Our patrol boats are so overrun with asylum seekers that just last week a vessel was too overcrowded to transfer all the passengers to Christmas Island and instead transferred the remaining passengers directly to the mainland.

"It is a sad state of affairs that people are arriving at such a rapid rate that our patrol boats cannot even fit them all on one ship to be transferred to Christmas Island.

"This is just further evidence that the people smugglers are using our Navy and Customs vessels as their own personal water taxis and that the Government doesn’t have the resolve to stop it from happening.

"Transferring passengers directly to the mainland only reinforces to the people smugglers that this Government is not serious about implementing the tough border protection policies that are needed to stop the boats," Mr Keenan said.

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