The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, has applauded the latest report from Operation Sovereign Borders confirming there have been no boat arrivals for 36 days.
Morrison said “illegal arrivals” have declined by 80% in the first 100 days of Operation Sovereign Borders but “this is not the time for stepping back, but to maintain the full pressure of our operations on criminal people smugglers”.
Today’s weekly report was posted online. Morrison has abandoned his weekly press conferences.
The ABC’s fact-checking unit says the government is wrong to refer to asylum seekers as “illegal”.
- Watch the ABC report (2m)
Today’s update from Operation Sovereign Borders.
Media release from Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Operation Sovereign Borders Report Confirms 36 Days Without A Boat
The Government welcomes today’s Operation Sovereign Borders weekly update confirming that there have been no persons illegally arriving by boat transferred to our immigration authorities for 36 days.
This is the longest period of no illegal boat arrivals since March of 2009, when arrivals first started to significantly escalate as a consequence of the former Labor Government’s decision to abolish the strong border protection regime they inherited from the Howard Government.
In the first 100 days of Operation Sovereign Borders illegal arrivals by boat declined by more than 80%, taking us back to the levels being experienced at the time of the 2010 election.
While these results were pleasing, arrivals of around 300 per month do not constitute success. Being able to sustain a zero rate of arrivals for more than five weeks, takes us further, but these outcomes need to be sustained.
This is not the time for stepping back, but to maintain the full pressure of our operations on criminal people smugglers, that are clearly getting results.
As always the Australian Government will continue to work with any and all partners, especially within our region to defeat the people smugglers and to continue to keep them informed of our own efforts and activities.
It is also pleasing to confirm that the detention population on Christmas Island is now below 2,000 persons for the first time since February last year. During the peak of Labor’s border failures last year this population increased to more than 3,000 detainees.
Continued transfers to Nauru and Manus Island, made possible by the current zero arrival rate and the expansion of our offshore processing capacity undertaken under Operation Sovereign Borders, means we will continue to be able to reduce the pressure on Christmas Island.
I commend all of our personnel involved in Operation Sovereign Borders for their professional and dedicated efforts so far in achieving these outcomes. Whether patrolling at sea, working with our partners on land to disrupt smugglers up through the chain or operating our processing centres off shore, they are doing a great job for our country.