15 March 2012

Indonesia rejects Australian immigration policy, again

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Indonesia's foreign minister has reiterated his country's discomfort with the proposed Australian immigration policy of turning back asylum seeking boats to Australia.

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Marty Natalegawa, has expressed his country's discomfort with the prospect of turning back Australian bound asylum seeking boats.

The opposition's proposed Australian immigration policy of redirecting boats to Indonesia has been rejected by Marty Natalegawa, saying that a regional approach was needed to combat the increasing number of boats bound for Australia.

"It means that countries of origin and countries of transit like Indonesia as well as destinations like Australia all work hand in hand in a collaborative and integrated way in preventing, in disrupting and in dealing with cases of people smuggling," said Mr Natalegawa.

"From that kind of mindset, naturally, it would be impossible and not advisable even, to simply shift the nature of the challenge from one end of the continuum to the other.

"So that is where we are coming from in terms of our approach, and it provides a hint of how we feel about policies that simply pass the nature of the problem to a different phase of that chain."

Australia's opposing Coalition has promised to make 'turning the boats back' the core of their immigration policy should they be elected to government in the next general election. Opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison has continuously said that his party's proposed policy isn't being explained properly to the Indonesians.

In response to Mr Natalegawa, Mr Morrison said: "Under the Coalition, Australia's border protection policy will always be determined by the Australian government.

"Our policies are part of a broader framework of measures to address the problems of people smuggling. We will always respect the view of our regional partners, in particular Indonesia, in these efforts and work co-operatively on these issues."


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