Gov will not confirm or deny asylum seeker boat turned back

THE Australian Government will not confirm or deny reports that a Navy vessel turned back an Indonesian people smuggling boat that ran aground last year.  

Reports of the incident came through Indonesian news wires on Tuesday, saying the ship ran out fuel before running aground just before Christmas.  

The ABC reported a local police chief as saying asylum seekers were hoping to get to Christmas Island before the Australian Navy forced the boat back into Indonesian waters.  

But the government would not comment on the reports, with a statement from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison saying it went to operational issues.  

Both Labor and the Greens have since urged the Government to clarify what happened, with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young asking how many other similar incidents had occurred.  

It is unclear whether the government will comment on the issue in the future, as Mr Morrison's weekly briefings on arrivals ended last year and the Government has not confirmed whether they will continue.  

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