Media Release

Record start to year for illegal arrivals continues

More people have arrived by illegal boat so far in 2013 than the start of any other year on record, as the latest illegal boat arrived with 55 people on board, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison and Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, Michael Keenan said today.

“More than 900 people have arrived since January 1. This is the biggest start of a year for illegal boats on record and follows a record calendar year of boat arrivals in 2012 of 17,270 people,” Mr Morrison said.

“Even in the middle of the dangerous monsoon season Labor’s failed border protection policies are proving an irresistible lure for people smugglers who are continuing to send record numbers of people to Australia on illegal boats.

“Labor’s record breaking run of failure on our borders continues and every day Julia Gillard just cements her reputation as the worst steward of our borders of any Prime Minister in our history.

“These record arrivals make a mockery of Labor’s recently released asylum budget update which claims they will stop the boats and slash spending by $2 billion, despite failing to implement the full suite of Coalition policies necessary to actually stop illegal arrivals,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Keenan said: “This latest boat arrival comes as the Department of Immigration has revealed today in Senate Estimates that Labor has been presenting a Budget based on the farce that they have stopped the boats – despite illegal boat arrivals already at record numbers this financial year.

“The Labor Party has wasted $6.6 billion of taxpayer money trying to fix this problem of their own making.

“This wasted money could have been spent on improving hospitals, education and relieving the burden of cost of living on families.

“Instead under this Government the boats will continue to come and the Australian people will continue to pay back Labor’s debt for many years to come,” Mr Keenan said.