“Stopped The Boats” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

Not *all* boats.

1. Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced that 157 asylum seekers detained on a Customs ship will finally be brought to Australia.

Joe Castro / AAP

The asylum seekers had been stopped more than a month ago trying to get to Australia and held on the Customs ship while a High Court appeal was being heard.

At the press conference on Friday afternoon, Mr Morrison said the asylum seekers will come to Australia in order to be identified by Indian consular officials.

Several journalists asked Mr Morrison whether this constituted a successful boat arrival and thus refuted the Government’s claim that it had “stopped the boats”.

Journalist: You’ve acknowledged 157 asylum seekers will arrive in Australia.

Mr Morrison: Correct.

Journalist: Is that a broken promise?

Mr Morrison: No.

Journalist: On not stopping the boats?

Mr Morrison: No.

Guardian Australia’s David Marr: But you can’t any longer say that you have stopped the boats as you have been saying for the last months.

Mr Morrison: Well David, others have been making that claim. What we have been saying is that this objective and this mission is an ongoing one. There has been no statement from the Government to make the sorts of determined and final claims as you’re suggesting. We have never done that.

2. Mr Morrison stood with Prime Minister Tony Abbott last month to mark ‘six months with no boats’.

AAP

3. In the interview transcript posted to the Immigration Minister’s website the Prime Minister repeatedly claims to have “stopped the boats.”

4. In Friday’s press conference, Mr Morrison then continued to attack the claim it had promised to stop *all* boats.

Stefan Postles / AAP

Mr Morrison: I remind you, under the Howard Government over six years after the boats had been stopped which I think from memory David you conceded that they had achieved that?

Mr Marr: Of course they did.

Mr Morrison: And the average number of arrivals of that six year period was three boats a year. And before the election we said we would seek to achieve the same results of the Howard Government. Now, that is what we are doing. That is what we will continue to do.

5. There you go. The Immigration Minister has spelled out that Operation Sovereign Borders will do what the Howard Government set out to do, and “stop the boats”.

6. Just not *all* the boats.

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