Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has backed the Queensland government's call for a plan regarding border security in the Torres Strait with Papua New Guinea.

Mr Abbott and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman were briefed by state Police Commissioner Ian Stewart after two Somali asylum seekers were picked up rowing across the strait from PNG on Saturday.

Mr Abbott noted that historically the strait linking Queensland's far north coast and PNG was essentially an open border due to the historical and family links between the two communities.

"There is now the potential for ... a people smuggling trade across the Torres Strait," he said after the meeting at police headquarters in Brisbane on Wednesday.

"That's what we've got to combat if this whole PNG plan is to be meaningful."

Under the PNG plan, the Labor government is sending asylum seeker boat arrivals to PNG for processing and potential resettlement there or in a third country.

There are concerns asylum seekers may try to enter Australia via PNG.

About 30 Queensland police officers and "dwindling numbers" of commonwealth officers patrol the Torres Strait, which includes 270 islands spread over an area of about 48,000 square kilometres.

Mr Newman said the job of police was further complicated by the rights of Torres Strait Islanders to move around the waters.

"How do they distinguish from a canoe with people legitimately exercising their traditional rights versus those who are seeking to actually make a run into Queensland," he said.

Mr Newman said he hoped the PNG resettlement plan would stop asylum seekers arriving by boat but was concerned about the border issue.

The premier also said he was disappointed the Labor government hadn't taken seriously his warnings about people making the short trip across from PNG.

Four asylum seekers have been intercepted crossing the Torres Strait in recent days.

Two of the four asylum seekers were Somalis who travelled an extraordinary distance in the hope that the law in Queensland might be different to the law on Christmas Island.

About News.net

Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.

 

FAQs

Email

If you have any questions or concerns please email us on support@news.net

Phone

  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.

Cancel