The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, says eight new patrol boats will help secure Australia’s borders.
Mr Abbott was in Darwin today to launch of the first of the new, “Cape Class” boats just as news broke that another asylum seeker boat had been intercepted.
Jack Doonar reports.
Tony Abbott says the new Cape Class patrol boats will greatly improve Australia’s ability to maintain maritime security.
Prime Minister, Tony Abbott: “We’ve got the right personnel, we’ve now got the right equipment and under the new government we have the right will.”
Mr Abbott wouldn’t be drawn on whether the new patrol boats would be used to enforce the Coalition’s policy to turn back asylum seeker boats. But he did say that they could carry an extra 50 passengers in addition to crew.
However, the launch of Cape St George is timely.
Last night, a boat carrying asylum seekers was intercepted and those on board taken to Christmas Island.
Air Marshal Mark Binskin, Operational Sovereign Borders Acting Commander: “The people that came to Australia on board this boat by now already understand that they will not be settled in Australia.”
Mr Abbott says stopping the boats is a national imperative.
Prime Minister, Tony Abbott: “It is not illegal to claim asylum but it is illegal to come to Australia without proper authority and without proper documentation, and that’s what these people are, they are illegally seeking to enter our country.”
The Immigration Minister today also weighed into the asylum seeker debate, saying he is building understanding and trust between Australia and Indonesia to stop the boats before they reach Australian waters.
Jack Doonar, QUT News.