The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, says there have been no boat arrivals for more than three weeks.
Morrison has abandoned his weekly media briefing in favour of releasing written statements. In today’s statement, he says: “It has been more than three weeks since the last group of illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to immigration authorities by Border Protection Command.”
Morrison acknowledged that January is usually a quieter period but claimed “the strong policies being implemented by the government mean that people smugglers are being denied the ability to ply their trade with any success”. He said boat arrivals numbered 419, 278 and 271 in the same period over the past three years.
A separate statement from the Customs and Border Protection Service says there are now 1259 people on Manus Island, 867 in Nauru and 2107 on Christmas Island.
Neither statement makes any mention of the towbacks reported by Indonesian and Australian media this week.
Media release from Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
No illegal boat arrivals for more than three weeks
Once again, there have been no persons transferred to Australian immigration authorities during the past reporting week under Operation Sovereign Borders, who arrived in Australia illegally by boat.
It has been more than three weeks since the last group of illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to immigration authorities by Border Protection Command.
While January is traditionally a quieter period of arrivals, the strong policies being implemented by the government mean that people smugglers are being denied the ability to ply their trade with any success.
During the same period last year 419 people illegally arrived and in the two previous years there were 278 and 271 arrivals respectively. This year, none have been successful during this period.
The latest weekly report on Operation Sovereign Borders is attached detailing such transfers, as well the number of persons transferred to our offshore processing centres and the population at those centres as well as Christmas Island.
For operational security reasons, the government does not confirm or otherwise comment on reports of on-water activities in relation to Operation Sovereign Borders or disclose details of any operations.
People smugglers have used official commentary on such matters to make dangerous assumptions about our maritime operations, which puts people at risk.
The Government’s policy of no public comment on operational matters is based on the advice of border protection agency and operational leaders to protect the security of our operations and to ensure that they can be conducted with maximum safety and effectiveness for all involved.
The Government considers the illegal entry of boats to Australia as a significant affront to our sovereignty.
The Government will continue to take all steps necessary to stop the boats consistent with our commitments to the Australian people and to work with our partners wherever possible to achieve this result.
The Government has a strong mandate from the Australian people to restore the policies that worked under the Howard Government to stop the boats that were abolished by Labor and the Greens.
Any suggestion that the Government is doing anything other than acting on our long held policies and commitments, as claimed by the Leader of the Opposition, is ignorant and desperate.
We will not be following Labor’s failed approach that allowed more than 50,000 people to turn up on over 800 boats and in excess of 1,100 people dead. We are restoring control over our borders that was surrendered under Labor.
It is not the policy or practice of the Australian Government to violate Indonesian territorial sovereignty. Any suggestion that the Government has acted contrary to this policy is false.
Australia respects Indonesia’s territorial sovereignty and will continue to do so, just as Indonesia has stated it respects Australia’s territorial sovereignty.
I also stress that personnel involved in Border Protection operations associated with Operation Sovereign Borders conduct their roles with the highest levels of professionalism, integrity and personal courage in extremely trying and challenging circumstances.
Actions and activities are undertaken consistent with Australian domestic law and Australia’s obligations under international law.
Additionally, in the interests of preserving operational security, and to maintain the safety of any person within Border Protection Command’s care, the procedures and techniques used to effect maritime security operations are not disclosed.
Media statement from Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Operation Sovereign Borders—Joint Agency Task Force update – 10 January 2014
This statement provides an update on Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) activities related to the off-water reception and processing of illegal maritime arrivals.
The reporting period is from 9.00am Friday 3 January 2014 to 9.00am Friday 10 January 2014.
During this reporting period there were no illegal maritime arrivals transferred to Australian Immigration authorities.
Fifty-nine people were transferred to offshore processing centres—30 to Manus Island and 29 to Nauru.
Four illegal maritime arrival detainees were voluntary removed—three to Iran and one to Lebanon.
As at 9.00am Friday 10 January, there was a total of 1259 people on Manus Island, 867 people in Nauru and 2107 people in the Christmas Island facilities.
As has previously been advised, for operational security reasons, OSB does not disclose details of on-water activities, so as not to:
- give advantage to people smugglers,
- facilitate the manipulation of potential illegal immigrants,
- endanger our people in the conduct of their duties, and/or
- undermine bilateral and regional counter people smuggling efforts.
The Commander, Joint Agency Task Force, LTGEN Angus Campbell, said, “I greatly appreciate the contribution of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Defence Force to the conduct of Operation Sovereign Borders.
“Their efforts continue to demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism, seamanship and compassion, indicative of a tradition of service to our nation that spans more than century.”