The Abbott government’s hardline tactics to prevent asylum seekers reaching the mainland and making a claim have been in the spotlight recently after a boat carrying 65 people was returned to Indonesia after being intercepted in international waters.
By Amy Neve, Socialist Party
The passengers were detained for several days, given provisions for their trip home and were transferred from their original boat into two others. One of these boats crashed onto a reef on the way back leaving passengers to be rescued by Indonesian authorities. The passengers are now being held in detention with most of the crew remanded by officials.
Controversy surrounding the governments “stop the boats” policy has increased after the asylum seekers reported that an Australian Customs official paid the crew more than $30,000 (USD) to return them to Indonesia.
Despite calls to disclose information about the Immigration Department’s actions, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has refused to release any details.
Asylum seekers have the legal right to enter Australia. It is outrageous that the government wastes billions of dollars on its cruel push-back policy while breaching international law. The money wasted should instead be spent providing jobs and homes to ordinary people including those fleeing war and persecution.