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No Boat Arrivals For Three Weeks Says Morrison

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. [Read more…]


“You Should Not Come Because You Will Not Stay” – Abbott Claims Mandate For TPVs

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his government has a mandate to introduce temporary protection visas.

Abbott-Morrison

Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison held a joint press conference just before Question Time today to reiterate their support for TPVs following the Senate’s vote against their reintroduction last night. The vote was carried by the ALP and the Greens who retain a blocking majority until June 30 next year.

The Prime Minister was at pains to repeat his message to asylum seekers contemplating paying people smugglers for a boat journey to Australia. “You should not come because you will not stay,” he said.

Abbott has threatened to keep the parliament sitting until close to Christmas in order to put pressure on the ALP. [Read more…]


Operation Sovereign Borders: Scott Morrison’s Weekly Briefing

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, has given the latest weekly briefing on Operation Sovereign Borders.

Morrison

After a difficult week and a patchy performance in Parliament, Morrison adopted a different tone at today’s briefing, noticably toning down his dismissive attitude towards journalists. [Read more…]


Morrison Quizzed About Stand-Off With Indonesia Over Asylum Seeker Boat

The Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, faced a series of questions today about an asylum-seeker boat thought to be involved in a dispute with the Indonesian government that threatens the Abbott government’s ‘turn back the boats’ policy.

Morrison appeared at the weekly Operation Sovereign Borders briefing. He was accompanied by Lt. General Angus Campbell. Both men were terse in their response to some questions during a willing encounter with journalists. [Read more…]


Morrison Says The Boats Are Stopping

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, claims the government’s policies are stopping the boats.

Speaking at his weekly briefing for Operation Sovereign Borders, Morrison said no boats had arrived this week.

He said: “I’m pleased to report that illegal boat arrivals are significantly below trends and expectations… Now while the Government is pleased with the significant decline in illegal boat arrivals we are not taking anything for granted. Nor are we making any claims about prospective activity remaining at these low levels. I can say though is that the consistent application across all our spheres of activity under Operation Sovereign Borders is now shifting the balance strongly in our favour, against the people smugglers… For the first time in five years, we are now getting the upper hand over the people smugglers and we do not intend to yield this ever again.” [Read more…]


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. [Read more…]


Morrison Confirms ‘Tactical’ Secrecy On Turning Back Asylum-Seeker Boats

The Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, has confirmed that the government will not let the media know if asylum-seeker boats have been turned back to Indonesia.

Morrison

Speaking at his first news conference since taking office, Morrison said the government was not in the business of providing “shipping news” to people smugglers.

Morrison appeared with Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, the Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders. Campbell said 33 people had arrived on one boat since the government took office on September 18. [Read more…]


Alternative Universes And The PNG Solution

Alternative universes abounded last night.

But sometimes the media worlds available via a remote control are more alike than they are willing to pretend.

There was the ABC. Within an hour of Kevin Rudd’s announcement of the PNG solution, its screen was filled with refugee advocates castigating the decision. They were joined by frothing right-wingers in an unholy unity ticket of condemnation.

Online, in the ever-so-slightly-nutty world of Twitter, there was talk of White Australia, racism and Labor’s shame. Dire warnings of malaria and rape coalesced with suddenly-expert analyses of the state of civil society in PNG.

Some lamented the shape-shifting Rudd and yearned for The Great Gillard.

There was Sky News, sadly these days a paradise for ever-more vacuous right-wing talk show hosts and those cable-friendly Laborites who make you worry that you might be on the same side.

As on the ABC, the resident Liberals and standalone right-wingers were especially lathered and frenzied. Last night they were born-again campaigners for the down-trodden. They accepted the solution but despaired of its implementation.

I felt somewhat alone. In my foolishness, I thought I might just have witnessed a political masterstroke. Commentators online suggested otherwise. I should be more ashamed, they seemed to say. [Read more…]


Rudd’s Boat People Policy: All Asylum Seekers To Be Sent To PNG

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill have announced an agreement that will ensure asylum seekers who arrive by boat will be sent to Manus Island and refused settlement in Australia.

The two prime ministers signed the Regional Settlement Arrangement in Brisbane this afternoon. Speaking at a press conference, Kevin Rudd said: “As of today asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.”

Rudd

Rudd said the plan was aimed at destroying the business model of the people smugglers. “Be in no doubt. If people are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to a people smuggler they are buying a ticket to a country other than Australia.”

From today, asylum seekers who arrive by boat will undergo medical checks and then be sent to Manus Island. If found to be genuine asylum seekers, they will be resettled in PNG.

There is no cap on the number of people who will be sent to Manus Island. The agreement will be reviewed in 12 months.

In return for PNG’s co-operation, Australia has undertaken to provide funding for education and health projects.

The Australian Greens condemned the plan and said it was “a day of shame” for Australia.

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, gave tentative support to the plan but cast doubt on Labor’s ability to implement it. He said: “I welcome it but it won’t work under Mr. Rudd.”

The PNG solution is likely to neutralise the issue of asylum seekers in the forthcoming elections. Speculation continues to mount that Rudd will call an election for August 31.

Kevin Rudd has also released an “Address to the Nation” on the asylum seekers issue.

Text of statement from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

AUSTRALIA AND PAPUA NEW GUINEA REGIONAL SETTLEMENT ARRANGEMENT

As of today asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.

Under the new arrangement signed with Papua New Guinea today – the Regional Settlement Arrangement – unauthorised arrivals will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be a refugee will be settled there. [Read more…]


Scott Morrison: Australia, The Land Of Our Adoption

The Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison, has delivered a speech on immigration and multiculturalism in which he depicts Australia as a nation of “adopted children” and calls for Australians to honour their national inheritance.

MorrisonThe speech was delivered at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College, London.

Morrison argues that Australia’s nationalism “is divorced from ethnicity, race and religion, disarming what is often a volatile and potentially negative combination”.

He says the “traditions, values and ethnic culture” of immigrants to Australia “are part of the process of transition from our old lands, culture and ways of life to the new that has been part of the national and cultural journey of Australians for centuries. It is an iterative process, taking place over a lifetime and generations, as we exchange and adapt the old for the new, bringing what’s best, leaving the rest and embracing over time a new national identity”.

Morrison points to Henry Parkes, Robert Lowe and WC Wentworth as examples of the inheritors of a “modern liberal democratic immigration nation” becoming its stewards.

The Howard government reoriented multiculturalism, says Morrison. It sought “to bring a greater focus on what communities had in common as Australians”, adopting a policy that “deliberately set out to explicitly recognize the supremacy of Australian values, the primacy of the English language, respect for existing institutions and adherence to the rule of law”. [Read more…]