Australia is approaching a ‘danger phase’ with illegal immigrant arrivals – says Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton thinks five years hard work ‘stopping the boats’ could be undone if Australia acts compassionately and allows entry for offshore detainees.
The Immigration Minister warned his Coalition colleagues the country could be in ‘danger phase’ amid growing pressure to bring people in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia.
‘We are in a danger phase because only a month ago we stopped a steel-hulled vessel with 131 people coming out of Sri Lanka,’ Mr Dutton told The Weekend Australian.
‘There are 14,000 people still in Indonesia and there is excited chatter among people-smuggling syndicates about the prospect of Australia being available again.’
Peter Dutton (pictured) thinks five years hard work ‘stopping the boats’ could be undone if Australia acts compassionately and allows entry for offshore detainees
He argued success from the past few years of struggle could be ‘undone overnight’ if Australia bought 20 people from Manus out of compassion.
‘The boats are there, we are scuttling boats, we are returning people and we are turning around boats where it is safe to do so. The boats haven’t gone away and if there is a success defined by an arrival of a boat in Australia then the word will spread like wildfire.’
There are nearly 700 men currently in detention on Papua New Guinea, and more than 900 men, women and children on Nauru.
New figures come as 292 asylum-seekers were sent to the US in recent weeks under an agreement with Donald Trump.
He argued success from the past few years of struggle could be ‘undone overnight’ if Australia bought 20 people from Manus out of compassion
Mr Dutton’s firm view on detainees was backed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said Australia’s ‘compassionate, secure and well-managed immigration system’ was based on strong border protection.
‘Here in Australia we have one of the most generous refugee and humanitarian programs in the world,’ Mr Turnbull told Nine News.
‘The reason we can do that is because we decide, the Australian government decides, representing the Australian people, who comes to Australia; not people-smugglers.’
Their comments came after Refugee Week, during which many accused Mr Dutton of having blood on his hands’ regarding deaths in detention centres.
Their comments came after Refugee Week, during which many accused Mr Dutton of having blood on his hands’ regarding deaths in detention centres
Chris Breen from Refugee Action Collective said he agreed with Trump’s words to Mr Turnbull ‘you are worse than I am’ because Trump reversed his decision to separate families, while Mr Turnbull continued ‘cruelty to refugees asylum-seekers’.
Despite amounting pressure, Mr Dutton continued to deny entry to asylum-seekers who sought refuge in Australia by boat out of fear it would ‘put Australia back on the table’.
A Newspoll survey this week revealed 50 per cent of voters thought a Labor Government would either ‘improve’ or ‘make no difference’ to asylum-seeker policies.