Canberra is defending its decision to dramatically cut back information about asylum seeker boats.
The government’s new approach as part of Operation Sovereign Borders, has been tested by Christmas Island residents with a boat arrival yesterday.
Reetu Gosal reports.
The boat carrying 30 people was intercepted near Christmas Island yesterday.
Under the Abbott Government plan, media briefings about asylum seeker boats will be cut back to weekly, the first of which took place today.
Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison says the Government wants to starve people smugglers of information.
Scott Morrison, Immigration Minister: “It’s not the government’s job to run a shipping news service for the people smugglers.”
The policy abandons Labor’s practice of informing the media every time a boat was intercepted but Christmas Island residents are prepared to thwart the Coalition plan.
They leaked pictures of the latest boat arrival.
Island Administrator Jon Stanhope warns he won’t be silenced.
Jon Stanhope, Christmas Island Administrator: “I would find it absolutely remarkable that there could be a policy in place that would seek to prevent 2000 Australians that live on Christmas Island from talking about what happens here.”
Since the election, more than 500 asylum seekers have reached our shores.
Half of those are already in offshore processing.
Reetu Gosal, QUT News.