Media Release

Every Bridging Visa represents another policy failure as another boat arrives

The illegal arrival of the latest boat, with 67 people on board, comes as Labor releases hundreds more who came on boats into the community on bridging visas, a further demonstration of Labor's failures on our borders, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.

"People smugglers and their clients are celebrating today as Labor released another 400 people who arrived on boats into the community on bridging visas to live on benefits, with nothing to do, including those the Government threatened to send to Nauru," Mr Morrison said.

"Every bridging visa issued by Labor represents another policy failure and a further invitation for more people to follow on boats," he said.

“People smugglers have overwhelmed Labor’s half hearted policies on our borders and are now able to sell a virtual guarantee that those who pay them for passage to Australia will avoid Nauru or Manus Island and will instead receive bridging visas and welfare.

“This is sending the worst possible message on our borders at the worst possible time of the year as the monsoon season begins.

“If Julia Gillard is wondering why people are getting on boats she should look to her own policy failures and capitulation which have given people smugglers everything they have wanted.

“This latest policy failure shows that Labor remains the people smugglers’ business model. It’s clear that only an election and the defeat of Julia Gillard and the Labor Party will see a return to strong border protection,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Keenan said: “Nearly 300 people have arrived in the first five days of December as Labor’s constant policy back-downs and back-flips continue to keep the incentives flowing for the people smuggling trade.

“The people smugglers will continue flooding our borders with illegal arrivals so long as they are still able to spruik their main selling point - permanent residency in Australia.

“This is why the Coalition has been continually arguing for a return to temporary protection visas as well as turning the boats back around when it is safe to do so – only a return to the full suite of Howard Government policies will give Howard Government results.

“With Border Protection Command so overworked and under resourced the Government must find a solution to this crisis of their own making.

“The Coalition has the policies to introduce the tough border protection regime that is required to put an end to this insidious trade,” Mr Keenan said.