170 dead would-be immigrants since Australia’s “softer” policies towards boat-borne illegals
Former coalition immigration minister Philip Ruddock says about 170 asylum seekers headed for Australia have died since the federal government changed Australia’s border protection policies.
But Mr Ruddock, who served as immigration minister under the previous Howard government, wouldn’t directly blame Labor for their deaths. “We believe that 170 people have lost their lives since Labor relaxed the policies here in Australia,” he told ABC TV on Monday. “I’m saying that they were encouraged to get in boats again because of policies being changed.”
Mr Ruddock said all the measures the coalition put in place to combat unauthorised boat arrivals – including offshore processing – needed to be implemented again to stem the flow.
The Liberal backbencher said it didn’t matter where offshore processing actually took place, so long as the disincentive existed.