Media Release

Deja Vu Under Labor's Border Protection Failure

The arrival of the latest illegal boat, with 87 people on board, is greeted by deja vu under Labor's border protection failure, with growing tensions in an immigration detention network which is overcrowded and houses thousands of people whose asylum claims are not being processed, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan said.


"Labor just doesn't learn from its mistakes. Having created a perfect storm for the Christmas Island and Villawood riots last year through overcrowding and a processing freeze Labor has now created the exact same recipe for disaster," Mr Morrison said.


"Having relied on half hearted measures and armed only with half hearted resolve to stop the boats, Labor has presided over consecutive months of record arrivals that have filled our detention centres to bursting point.


"Once again asylum seekers are housed in tents on Christmas Island. The last time this occurred they burnt them down in riots.


"The riots also occurred after Labor introduced a discriminatory asylum freeze. Minister Bowen has again frozen the claims of asylum seekers because his half hearted measures have been overwhelmed by people smugglers who have sent almost 7,000 people on boats since Nauru was announced.


"Less than 10% of those almost 7,000 arrivals have actually been either sent to Nauru or sent home. The rest are sitting in a detention network where tensions are growing daily.


"Under Minister Bowen nothing changes on our borders, it just gets worse. If he feels a sense of déjà vu it's because he's been here before. Same Minister, same failed policies," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Keenan said: "Another illegal boat arrival has been intercepted amongst revelations that the Christmas Island detention centre is overflowing to such an extent that people are now being housed in tents.

"Over 2400 people are now in detention on Christmas Island yet less than 400 people have been transferred to Nauru for offshore processing.

"Once again the Government have systematically failed to implement strong border protection policies and stop this influx of boat arrivals.

"By continuing to only send a trickle of arrivals for offshore processing it is once again sending a message of weakness to the people smugglers.

"Whilst Labor remains in power the people smugglers will continue to control Australia's borders," Mr Keenan said.