No boats bought under Indonesian buy-back policy, says Angus Campbell


The head of the government’s border protection regime has admitted Australia has not bought a single boat under the Coalition’s controversial Indonesian boat buy-back policy.

After repeated refusals by the Abbott government to reveal the status of the widely ridiculed policy, announced in the heat of the election campaign, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell finally revealed in a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday that no boats had been bought.

Asked by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young about the policy, General Campbell, the commander of Operation Sovereign Borders, told the hearing that all policies remained on the table but the buy-back plan had met resistance from the Indonesian government.

“All those measures remain available at this stage,” he said. “But [the policy] isn’t one that the Indonesian government wishes to see applied right now as part of our co-operative activities, which we respect.”

Senator Hanson-Young asked: “So no boats have been purchased?”

General Campbell replied: “No, Senator.”

As recently as Tuesday afternoon in parliamentary question time, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison both refused to be drawn on whether any boats had been bought, insisting the government was pursuing all planks of its border protection policies.






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