Media Release

Tony Abbott - A regional deterrence framework to combat people smuggling

If elected, the Coalition will establish a comprehensive Regional Deterrence Framework with our neighbours to stop asylum seekers transiting through our region in an attempt to gain illegal entry to Australia.

Click here to read our policy.

Unlike Labor, the Coalition believes that an effective regional solution must have a single minded focus on deterrence, preventing secondary movement of asylum seekers into our region.

Labor’s focus has been on processing and resettlement of those coming into the region and seeking to illegally enter Australia, not on deterring their arrival in the first place.

Labor has also hamstrung the ability of our agencies to combat people smuggling in Indonesia by cutting the Australian Federal Police's presence there by 40 per cent.

The Regional Deterrence Framework will provide strong leadership and increased funding support so that Australia is spending our time and resources on practical regional priorities to stop people smuggling.

If elected, the Coalition will:

  • Provide $67 million to support joint operations with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia to disrupt people smuggling through international deployment of specialist Australian Federal Police officers;
  • Implement a $20 million program with the International Organisation for Migration to engage and enlist Indonesian villages to support people smuggling disruption, including a capped boat buy-back scheme that provides an incentive for owners of dangerous vessels to sell them to government officials, not people smugglers;
  • Appoint a special envoy for Operation Sovereign Borders to focus on facilitating international cooperation on the Regional Deterrence Framework;
  • Seek to establish transit zones within the region to facilitate the transfer of asylum seekers to offshore processing facilities, preventing entry to Australia. This means that illegal arrivals that are subject to offshore processing will be moved to a regional transit port and not be brought to Christmas Island or the Australian mainland;
  • Invest $27 million to prevent drowning at sea through increased aerial surveillance and offer up to $71 million to boost search and rescue response capability of Indonesian authorities within their search and rescue zone;
  • Supplement our border protection fleet with commercially leased vessels to support patrol operations including offshore processing transfers.

In addition, offshore processing capacity at Manus and Nauru will be expanded including an additional 2,000 places on Nauru and illegal boat arrivals found not to be refugees will be returned quickly to their source countries or detained until possible.

A Coalition government will restore effective policies including our Regional Deterrence Framework. This is our country and we will decide who comes here.