Morrison Confirms 31 Dead From Asylum Boat Sinking

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the deaths of 31 asylum seekers from a capsized boat off the West Java coast on Friday.

There are 22 survivors from the boat.

Morrison

Morrison spoke today at his second weekly press briefing on asylum issues. He was accompanied by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin. Later, Shadow Immigration Minister Tony Burke responded to Morrison.

  • Listen to Morrison and Binskin (39m)
  • Listen to Burke (18m)

Morrison and Binskin provided details on the numbers of asylum seekers who have been transferred to Manus Island and Nauru. Morrison said 217 Manus Islanders are employed at the processing centre.

Morrison faced questions on whether boats have been turned back but repeatedly refused to comment on “operational matters”.

“Our policy is to stop the boats,” Morrison told the briefing. “What that has happened, the public will be told.”

Binskin

Responding to Morrison’s briefing, Opposition Shadow Immigration Minister Tony Burke called on Morrison to be upfront with the public, rather than hiding behind statements. “I have never seen the level of spin that we are seeing now,” Burke said. He claimed the government was attempting to hide information and “shield themselves from having to turn up to work and answer questions”.

Burke

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on his way to Jakarta where he will discussions with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about asylum seekers.

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