Australian intelligence officials have been paying people smugglers pursuant to Australia’s long-standing policy that no migrants by boat are ever welcome to take refuge therein, according to an Australian news site. Such strategy has been ongoing since 2010 even during the Rudd government.
Reports from different sources disclose that handing money to migrants has been largely an efficient part of Australia’s stratagem, albeit the intention was not always to convince the boats to turn away — a tactic that has never capitalized by the former government.
The incumbent administration is on the center of a controversy following a report last week, alleging that some custom officials paid $30,000 to a boat’s captain and crew members in a bid to discourage the migrants from seeking refuge from Australia and instead, return to Indonesia. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he will block boats ‘by hook or by crook’ but did not deny on payment allegation.
In a report by Fairfax Media, it has been a practice of Australian intelligence officials to make payments to networks of people-smuggling, including boat crew members and captain. Payments were also made to syndicate members to solicit information on a syndicate’s operations or to deter the syndicates.
Unlawful To Divulge Information
Richard Marles, spokesperson for shadow immigration, when asked whether payments were made under labor, answered, “It is unlawful for the government or the opposition to divulge security or intelligence information.”
Marles clarified that the controversy sprung from confusion caused by denials by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Ministers Julie Bishop and which denial was cemented by Mr Abbott when the prime minister declined to make any comment on the government’s operational grounds.
“Last week an allegation surfaced that people smugglers were being paid by Australian officials. This was flatly denied by the immigration and foreign ministers. These denials have been at complete odds with comments from the Prime Minister,” Marles said which was quoted by the Age.
Marles continued saying that “this chaos risks creating a dangerous new pull factor” and pointed out that “labor would not pay people smugglers to keep people on unsafe boats and neither should the government.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Abbott told the media his government “will do whatever is necessary within the law to stop the evil people smuggling trade,” and according to him, “stopping the human traffickers was the most moral thing” to do.
On March 2014, a video, which can be watched below, was released by Professor Jane McAdam, explaining facts on the issue of people smugglers and asylum seekers who come to Australia.
Credits: YouTube/ UNSWTV