Opposition wants explanation about lifeboat purchase
THE Federal Opposition has called on the Government to explain reports it may be buying lifeboats to return asylum seekers intercepted in seas north of Australia.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refused to confirm or deny reports that emerged on Wednesday that the Government was buying as many as 16 hard-hulled lifeboats.
Media reports of the plan appeared citing an un-named Defence source saying the power boats would be used to return asylum seekers intercepted on unseaworthy boats.
Opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese hit out at what called a "Stalinist regime" of withholding information about the Government's Operation Sovereign Borders.
He said it was time for the Government to tell the public exactly what was happening in the management of asylum seekers.
His comments were reiterated in stronger terms by the Greens border spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
She said it was not only dangerous to be returning asylum seekers on lifeboats; it was a "complete disregard" for border protection officers involved in such operations.