PM sticking to his word on boats

FOR the past two nights the ABC 7.30 Report has aired a special about asylum seekers trying to reach Australia only to be towed back by the Australian navy.

It was the best piece of publicity about Operation Sovereign Borders that the federal government could have hoped to see on television.

Before the September election Tony Abbott promised to stop the boats and, where safe, tow the boats back.

This report confirmed that Prime Minister Abbott is keeping his word. There has not been a boat land in Australia for 90 days.

That said, there are a lot of Australians who are understandably uncomfortable with the way Australia treats asylum seekers, especially in detention centres like Manus Island.

However, the key to this whole mess is to cut off the lucrative people-smuggling trade out of Indonesia mostly using dilapidated boats that put lives at risk.

The 7.30 Report story was based around an Iranian couple Arasah Sedigh and his wife Azi.

He was refused a skilled migration visa into Australia and then got fed up with waiting in Indonesia for resettlement as a refugee.

"We decided to go there in an illegal way, to make them accept us," he said about his second effort to use smugglers to get to Australia.

Is this really the way we want people to come to Australia?

Mr Sedigh clearly appears to fit the bill as an economic refugee. He wasn't housed in a squalid refugee centre, he had the means to get to Indonesia and then the means to pay people smugglers twice to try to illegally enter Australia after being refused entry.

After their sinking boat was intercepted by Customs near Christmas Island, they were bundled into into an unsinkable lifeboat and towed close to Java and safely released.

Mr Sedigh says he will not attempt it again despite encouragement from the smugglers who demand payment up front.

Australia takes 30,000 refugees a year. Perhaps that should be more, but surely it is our right to insist that they come through the right channels with passports, health and security checks.


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