Boat officials act within law: Abbott

Posted September 29th, 2019 by admin and filed in 苏州纹眉
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Tony Abbott has moved to reassure Indonesia that the operation to stop asylum-seeker boats works within the law, as his attorney-general attacked the credibility of claims about cash payments.


Crew members of asylum boats have sworn under oath they were paid $US5,000 ($A6,460) by Australian officials to return to Indonesia, and revealed they were also offered flights back to where they came from.

General Endang Sunjaya, police chief of Nusa Tenggara Timur province, has provided photos of the cash to Australian media.

“We have given you the evidence. It’s now up to you and other organisations to demand an answer from the Australian government,” General Endang told Fairfax Media.

Rote Police chief Hidayat says the evidence definitely points to the money coming from an Australian source.

“Of course we’re certain, that’s what they’ve been saying,” he said.

“Remember, we’re investigating this professionally, not making things up.”

The claims have been backed up by asylum seekers on the boats, one of whom said it was an Australian Customs officer.

Labor leader Bill Shorten asked Mr Abbott in parliament on Wednesday whether he was concerned the cash handover could give criminal people smugglers new incentive to set out for Australia.

Mr Abbott said the government’s Operation Sovereign Borders adhered to Australian law.

“We will do whatever is necessary within the law and in accordance with our values as a decent and humane society to stop the boats and to ensure that they stay stopped,” Mr Abbott said.

Attorney-General George Brandis told parliament the captain of a people smuggling vessel was not a reliable witness.

“That man is … earning his living from the misery of other human beings and accepting a very large sum of money.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government was working constructively with Indonesia to disrupt people smuggling.

Asked whether she regretted last week denying to reporters that the payments had been made, Ms Bishop told parliament: “I don’t do regrets.”

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the Australian public wanted to hear from the prime minister on whether the payments occurred.

Mr Marles said there was a big difference between police paying informants to infiltrate organised crime and paying people smugglers to go back to Indonesia.

“The allegation we have out there … is the equivalent of asking drug dealers to be paid to not make ice,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of Christian leaders calling for a more humane refugee policy was escorted from Parliament House by security officers after staging a sit-in in the building’s public entry foyer.

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