Australian PM Tony Abbott Says He Will Block Boats ‘By Hook or By Crook,’ Does Not Deny Paying People Smugglers
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott avoided the question on whether his government has paid $40,000 to people smugglers who were recently intercepted by custom officials wading through North of Australia last week to return to Indonesia, saying he will block the boats “by hook or by crook.”
In an interview with Macquarie Radio, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he is proud of the work the border protection agencies have done and “they have been incredibly creative in coming up with a whole range of strategies to break this evil trade.”
“We will do whatever is reasonably necessary to protect our country from people smuggling and from the effect of this evil and damaging trade,” said the prime minister that was quoted by ABC.
Although no details were given as to classify the creative strategies, in another report however, the prime minister was also quoted saying, “We don’t comment on operational matters. We are determined to ensure illegal boats don’t get to Australia.”
Mr. Abbott added: “We will do whatever is reasonably necessary to protect our country from people smuggling and from the effect of this evil and damaging trade that cost lives.”
Pressure to confess on the truth brewed when earlier news claimed Australian border officials allegedly released a huge amount of money to the boat’s captain and crew along with 65 other asylum seekers. A police chief from Indonesia told the media the boat’s six crew members were each given $5,000. But ABC news said later that the foreign ministry of Indonesia was investigating the claims.
Mr. Abbott also evaded the question on the propriety of using money to convince people smugglers and whether an investigation on the matter is proper.
Under the Abbot administration, it has become his policy to refuse asylum to refugees who reach Australia by boat. In April, news said that Australian government would send refugees to Cambodia via bilateral agreement, wherein Australia will pay A$40 million additional aids on the $10 million a year provisions to refugees.
Mr. Abbott praised his administration’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy, remarking that it has stopped the deaths by stopping the boats. For the Aussie prime minister, stopping the boat resulted in human as well as budget dividend.