• Abbott defends boat tow-back secrecy

    Date: 2019.01.16 | Category: 上海按摩服务 | Tags:

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended the government’s secrecy about asylum seeker tow-backs as the navy faces allegations of mistreating boat people.


    The government is refusing to confirm reports that the navy recently towed boats back to Indonesia, continuing its policy of not commenting on so-called “operational matters”.

    Mr Abbott, defending the approach on Thursday, said he preferred to be a “closed book” on border protection operations, rather than give rise to a whole lot of mischief-making.

    “The point is not to provide sport for public discussion, the point is to stop the boats,” he told Macquarie Radio.

    “I’m pleased to say it is now several weeks since we’ve had a boat, and the less we talk about operational details on the water the better when it comes to stopping the boats.”

    The reports of boats being towed back into Indonesian waters come months after Mr Abbott told reporters in Jakarta that “tow-backs” had never been coalition policy.

    “Can I just scotch this idea that the coalition’s policy is or ever has been tow-backs,” he said during his first visit in October.

    Asylum seekers have claimed that members of the Australian navy verbally and physically mistreated them as their boat was being towed back, after being intercepted at an Island near Darwin.

    One, 28-year-old Yousif Ibrahim from Sudan, told news agency AFP that they were handcuffed and called insulting names during their voyage back to Indonesia this month.

    “We asked for water, they didn’t want to give us [any]. They called us inhuman words, like illegal refugees, monkeys from Africa,” he said.

    Conflicting messages are coming from Indonesia about its support for Australia’s border policy, with Indonesian military commander General Moeldoko saying he has discussed turn-backs with Australian defence chief David Hurley.

    “Therefore, we do not need to feel offended,” the Jakarta Post quotes Moeldoko as saying.

    His apparent sanction of the policy contradicts the opposition of Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who on Tuesday said turn-backs were “not a solution”.

    Asked about the state of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia in the wake of last year’s spying scandal, Mr Abbott said it was marked by “a lot of co-operation and mutual understanding”.

    That was “evidenced by the discussion that seemed to have taken place between General Moeldoko and our own General Hurley not long ago”, he said.

    The prime minister said he understood Indonesia’s concern for its sovereignty, but boat arrivals were “a sovereignty issue for us”.

    The Greens and Labor again criticised the secrecy surrounding border protection, which has included a refusal to comment on reports that the government would buy lifeboats in which to send asylum seekers back to Indonesia.

    Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the prime minister had been caught out on the issue of towing boats back.

    “We always knew that tow-backs were part of Tony Abbott’s policy,” she told reporters in Adelaide.

    “Phoney Tony has been caught out again.”

    She said the policy was dangerous and was putting the lives of Australian navy and customs personnel at high risk.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was time Mr Abbott told the public what is happening on the country’s borders.

    “The government needs to stop hiding the truth and start answering the most basic questions,” he told reporters.

    Mr Shorten also commented on unconfirmed reports that Nauru, which hosts an Australian immigration detention centre, is raising the price of its visas for journalists from $200 to $8000.

    “It could be a revenue-raising measure or it could me a measure aimed at discouraging Australian journalists,” he said.

    Comment is being sought from the Nauruan government.