November 01, 2013
The Federal Government says no asylum seekers have been transferred from boats to Australia over the past week, but it is refusing to disclose whether asylum seekers have been turned back to Indonesia.
Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, who is the Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders for the Coalition, says there have been no asylum seeker arrivals in the past week.
“During the reporting period there were no arrivals,” he said.
“Over the course of the month of October there were a total of five suspected illegal entry vessels carrying 339 illegal entry arrivals.”
In his weekly briefing, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was questioned about whether asylum seekers had been sent back to Indonesia instead.
“We don’t comment on things that affect on-water operations,” he said.
Commander Campbell also responded to the question, saying he would not comment on “on-water operations”.
Mr Morrison said he travelled to Indonesia this week for talks with the Indonesian government about coordination between the two countries on people smuggling.
“I am pleased to report that Australia’s cooperation on people smuggling issues has never been better than it is today,” he said.
He said the lead-up to monsoon season in the tropics had traditionally encouraged people smugglers to send more asylum seeker boats to Australia.
“For the first time in five years, we’re now getting the upper hand over the people smugglers and we don’t intend to yield this ever again,” he added.