18 Jun 2015

Gillard: Ex-govt did not pay people smugglers

5:03 pm on 18 June 2015

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has defended the immigration policy of her government and insisted that the crews of migrant boats were never paid to turn back.

Julia Gillard speaks at the University of Auckland.

Julia Gillard Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

It follows claims in the last few days that an Australian navy ship paid the crew of a migrant boat to turn back to Indonesia. There have also been suggestions the practise is not new.

Mrs Gillard told the BBC's Hardtalk that her government had never authorised any such payments.

She also defended her own government's record on immigration, during which time detention centres were re-opened to cope with the rising numbers of people trying to get into the country.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to deny the claims, saying he will not discuss security matters publicly.

- BBC

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