A Coalition Govt Will Ban Media Reports of Boat Arrivals
A Coalition government will prevent the media from reporting on arrivals of asylum seeker boats, with Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott stating that the decision to report boat arrivals should not be a responsibility of politicians.
Mr Morrison made the claim yesterday at the National Press Club, saying he would leave the decision to announce boat arrivals up to the three-star general who would head up his ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ policy.
The Opposition has made much political mileage out of publicising boat arrivals over the last term of parliament, saying each boat arrival was a Labor policy failure.
As it currently stands, the Department of Home Affairs publishes the details of every boat arrival, including where the boat was found, the number of people on board and the asylum seekers’ final destination.
Mr Morrison now says the release of boat arrival information would be an ‘operational decision’.
“I don’t think those decisions should be put in the hands of politicians to use as this Government has on occasions,” Mr Morrison said during the National Press Club debate with Immigration Minister Tony Burke.
“I think those decisions should be made by implementation officers and I’m happy to trust one of the three-star military officers of our defence forces and I’m surprised Tony Burke’s not.”
Mr Burke says Australians will remain in the dark on whether the Coalition has lived up to its promise to “stop the boats”.
“Because Scott’s not guaranteeing to let the media know the way Labor has, (former Liberal Prime Minister) John Howard has. He’s already taken that promise off the table,” he said.
“It may well be Australians are no longer told because he refused to re-commit to the information and the disclosure even occurring.”
Mr Burke and his opposition counterpart Scott Morrison were asked whether they had any regrets about the way their parties had handled the asylum seeker debate.
Tony Burke indicated that he had “big regrets” about Labor’s failure to shift its policies in 2009 after changes in the global movement of displaced people.
“At that point, there was a new path-line of people smuggling and we needed to change our policies immediately.”
“We didn’t, and I believe we should’ve and I deeply regret the consequences,” Mr Burke said.
He also expressed regret over the government’s failure to garner support in parliament for its Malaysia people-swap legislation after the High Court ruled it unlawful in 2011.
“I wished we’d done some of what might’ve been needed to be done to make sure that that legislation would’ve gone through smoothly,” he said.