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Drownings ‘all Prime Minister’s fault’ – News.com.au

[MISC, Tuesday, 3 November 2009 09:24 No Comment]

SENIOR frontbencher Tony Abbott has blamed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s border protection policies for the loss of life following the sinking of a suspected asylum-seeker boat off the Cocos Islands.

At least one person had died while another 11 remained missing, feared drowned, after a boat carrying 39 suspected asylum-seekers sank 350 nautical miles north-west of the Cocos Islands on Sunday.

Mr Abbott said the sinking of the boat and the stand-off between authorities and 78 asylum-seekers on an Australian Customs vessel in Indonesian waters showed the Federal Government’s border protection regime had failed.

"You look at this terrible tragedy that’s unfolding in the Indian Ocean at the moment and you’ve got to say this is a comprehensive failure and it’s all the Prime Minister’s fault," Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio.

Mr Rudd maintained his border protection policy was tough but humane.

But Mr Abbott said the dismantling of the Howard government’s border protection policies had prompted the surge in people-smuggling activity.

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