Feb 03 (Island) The Australian Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said he would toughen the Coalition’s policies after this week visiting Sri Lanka with Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop.
Mr Morrison will bring plans before senior colleagues that would see boosts in assistance to Sri Lanka’s navy and air surveillance, with the aim of seeing every asylum vessel intercepted before it reaches Australian waters.
Every Sri Lankan asylum seeker to arrive under a Coalition government would be sent home, Mr Morrison said, and the Coalition has maintained a controversial policy of towing boats back to Indonesia.Mr Morrison and Ms Bishop met Sri Lanka’s President, Prime Minister, commander of the defence Force and head of the navy.
"We put it to them we wished to provide what was necessary to increase their interception rate from what is currently one in three people being intercepted in a vessel to (every one)," Mr Morrison said.
"We discussed what would be needed to achieve that. I will be taking that information back to the shadow cabinet."
A spokesman for Mr Bowen said the minister would "not be lectured by the Coalition" after it blocked the government’s bid to send asylum seekers to Malaysia.
"The Government is the only party truly committed to doing everything it can to stop the flow of boats and save lives," he said.
"We have already opened offshore processing centres on Nauru and PNG, and we'e returned almost 1000 people to Sri Lanka, but we can’t implement the Malaysia Arrangement circuit-breaker because of Tony Abbott’s negligent and disingenuous opposition to the policy."