Peter Dutton warns Anthony Albanese is sending ‘evil’ people smugglers ‘mixed messages’ – and claims Labor is SPLIT on turning back asylum seekers
- Opposition leader says Labor is divided over continuing asylum boat turnbacks
- He said people smugglers were evil organised criminals fleecing the innocent
- Dutton warned mixed messages from Labor’s split in the ranks encouraged them
- Tony Burke insisted there was no change of policy under the new government
Opposition leader Peter Dutton warns Labor is sending a dangerous signal to ‘evil’ people smugglers and is split over whether to carry on turning back asylum seekers.
New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese faced his first test on immigration policy when a boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers was intercepted on Thursday.
They were brought ashore on Christmas Island and immediately deported back to the Indian Ocean island’s capital of Colombo on a specially-chartered six-hour flight.
But on Nine’s Today show, Mr Dutton insisted on Friday that the government was sending out ‘mixed messages’.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton warns Labor is sending a dangerous signal to ‘evil’ people smugglers and is split over whether to carry on turning back asylum seekers
‘People smugglers aren’t stupid,’ he told host Karl Stefanovic. ‘They’re organised criminal syndicates.
‘They’re evil people taking money off innocent men, women and children. What we don’t want to see is a repeat of Labour’s last disaster.
‘The mixed messages coming out of the government that are heard in places like Sri Lanka are concerning.
‘Not everybody within the Labour Party is singing from the same hymn sheet.’
He said the Coalition would support the government if they continued to turn back the boats.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton insisted the government was sending out ‘mixed messages’
‘I hope that they don’t change what we had in place,’ he said. ‘We stopped the boats which stopped the drownings at sea and I just don’t want to see it restart.
‘When Tony Burke was immigration minister, about 6000 people arrived.
‘The people smugglers know that the same people are now in government who made terrible decisions before and that’s what they’re preying on.’
Mr Burke hit back saying he reduced the number of boat arrivals by 80 per cent and claimed Mr Dutton was using the figure from the first day Mr Burke started in the job.
And he said there was no change from the previous policy now Labor was in power.
‘It’s not changing and that’s that,’ he insisted. ‘The policy doesn’t change. People who try to come by boat get turned around and sent back.’
He told Stefanovic the government was braced for more attempts by asylum seekers in the weeks and months to come.
New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese faced his first test on immigration policy when a boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers was intercepted and sent back on Thursday
But he accused the Opposition of encouraging people smugglers for political reasons by pretending there was a division within Labor ranks where none existed.
‘Every time they want to say all the doors are open or something like that, they might be trying to send a message to encourage them,’ said the employment minister.
‘The policy hasn’t changed and won’t.’
On election day, Australian Border Force issued a media release to reveal a boat load of Sri Lankan asylum seekers had been intercepted and turned around.
However they refused to comment about Thursday’s arrival on Christmas Island.
An ABF spokesman told Daily Mail Australia on Friday: ‘The department does not comment on operational matters.’