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Over 3,000 arrival this year as Labor tries to hide form boat failure

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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling OVER 3,000 ARRIVALS THIS YEAR AS LABOR TRIES TO HIDE FROM BOAT FAILURE May 17, 2012

The arrival of the latest illegal boat, with 63 people on board, means more than 3,000 people have arrived so far this year as Minister Bowen refuses to come clean on the cost and extent of the border crisis now hitting Australian suburbs, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.

"Despite over 1,700 people arriving since Minister Bowen last released figures on illegal boat arrivals, he refuses to tell the Australian people how many boat arrivals are now in detention and how many have been released into the community on bridging visas," Mr Morrison said.

"The government’s March update showed there was a record 7,000 illegal boat arrivals either in the detention network including community detention or out in the community on bridging visas," he said.

"Minister Bowen should immediately tell the Australian people how many illegal boat arrivals are now being housed in detention including on Christmas Island which has turned into a transit lounge for boat arrivals and how many have been granted bridging visas and are being supported by Australian taxpayers in the community.

"Unfortunately Australia has an Immigration Minister who has given up on border protection but that doesn’t mean he can hide from accountability for his government’s failure," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Keenan said: "The interception of this vessel by the Australian Federal Police so close to Cocos Island raises important questions about the circumstances of the latest illegal arrival.

"The AFP does not have a significant maritime capability beyond very small vessels that are not designed or capable of performing this type of interception.

"With 5 illegal arrivals in the last week and over 3000 people this year, it is clearly impossible for Border Protection Command to intercept vessels before they come so close to Australian territory.

"Severe budgets cuts by the Labor Party continue to make this difficult situation much worse.

"The Government must clarify what has actually happened last night and why the AFP have been placed in this situation.

"Specifically they must inform the Australian people ‐

1. What type of vessel was used?

1. Why was the AFP forced to undertake this task and not Border Protection Command?

1. What risk assessment has been done for illegal arrivals coming to Cocos Island - both for Australian officers and the asylum seekers?

1. How was it possible for an illegal arrival to essentially bump into Australian territory before being detected?

"Labor’s self induced border protection crisis has created huge difficulties for the AFP and Customs and Labor’s contemptuous budget and personnel cuts have added to the degree of difficulty.

"But illegal arrivals bumping into Australian territory where an overstretched Border Protection Command appears to have no presence is a dangerous new development," Mr Keenan said.

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