PM Tony Abbott refuses to deny claims officials bribed people smugglers

Date
Prime Minister has refused to deny the claims on Neil Mitchell's program.

Prime Minister has refused to deny the claims on Neil Mitchell's program.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flatly refused to confirm if people smugglers were paid by Australian authorities to turn back an asylum seeker boat.

He told Neil Mitchell in an extraordinary interview during his Melbourne visit that security agencies will do whatever it takes to stop the vessels.

The problem here is you don't have to read too far into what the PM said to see he believes we did pay 

Neil Mitchell

It follows reports Australian customs officials paid crew members around $40,000 to return a boat carrying asylum seekers to Indonesia late last month. 

But the PM wouldn't be drawn on the allegations.

"We don't comment on operational matters. We are determined to ensure illegal boats don't get to Australia," he said.

"We will do whatever is reasonably necessary to protect our country from people smuggling and from the effect of this evil and damaging trade that cost lives."

NEIL: But surely we wouldn't pay people smugglers, they are criminals?

PM: What we do is we stop the boats by hook or by crook. That's what we've got to do and that's what we've successfully done. I don't want to go into how it's done.

Listen: Prime Minister addresses allegation claims

On Air Next

Join Gerard Healy and Dwayne Russell weeknights from 6pm.

Sports Today

6pm - 7pm 

Advertisement
Advertisement