Govt protecting itself rather than our borders: Morrison

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison john mccutcheon

MORE than 550 people travelling on 10 boats have been caught trying to reach Australia in the past week.

Four of the boats, carrying 236 people, have been intercepted this week alone, including three on Monday.

Last week Border Protection officers had to rescue almost 80 people after their boat sank north-west of Ashmore Islands.

The number of seeker trying to reach Australian shores has accelerated noticeably in the past few weeks, prompting opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison to claim it was proof the government was "at war with itself rather than being at war with people smugglers".

"This is a government that is focused on protecting itself rather than protecting our borders," Mr Morrison said.

"This is a government in a panic room making panicked decisions on a daily basis. That is no way to run the country and no way to protect our borders. Every single new illegal boat arrival just highlights this fact time and again."

Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne also sought to highlight the issue during question time on Wednesday, asking Prime Minister Julia Gillard how many boats had arrived this week.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Inga Williams

Ms Gillard said in reply the government was committed to implementing the recommendations of the Houston panel.

She criticised the opposition for not supporting the expert panel's report, which was handed down in August last year.

"Whenever they're asked how they'll vote on these recommendations they effectively say they'll vote for more boats to come to our country," Ms Gillard said.