ScoMo’s secret video asking refugees not to come here
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recorded a secret video targeted at people smugglers, warning that those willing to make the dangerous journey "will not succeed".
The two-minute video, recorded in Canberra late on Friday night, will be translated into 15 languages and aired in countries rife for asylum seekers including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, The Daily Telegraph revealed.
It will also target popular transit countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
"No-one who attempts an illegal boat journey to Australia will ever be allowed to settle here," Mr Morrison warns in the video. "Australian border protection authorities will intercept any people smuggling boat that approaches Australia, and they will return those on board to their country of departure or their home country."
"Make no mistake; if you attempt to come to Australia illegally by boat, you will not succeed. So do not waste your money or risk your life, or anyone else's life, for nothing."
This marks the first time an Australian Prime Minister has sent a direct video message to people smugglers, although it mirrors a similar message recorded by Mr Morrison in 2014 when he was immigration minister.
It comes after the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the medevac bill allowing for the medical evacuation of asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru.
The bill allows medical specialists to make the decision as to whether asylum seekers need to be transferred to Australia for "medical or psychiatric assessment or treatment".
Addressing the bill and Mr Morrison's video in an ABC Insiders interview this morning, Attorney-General Christian Porter said: "The Prime Minister's message is very clear - don't make the attempt. We will do everything and anything we can within the law to stop you coming."
Last week during Question Time, Mr Porter warned the new rules on medical transfers could see alleged criminals sent to Australia.
But when pressed by ABC host Barrie Cassidy today on whether the government knows how many people detained on Manus and Nauru have actually been convicted of murder and rape - a line often touted by the Liberal Party - Mr Porter couldn't give an answer.
"You know for a fact that there are people who have been convicted of murder or rape and they're awaiting sentence?" the host asked.
"We don't have every single criminal record there," he said.
"So you don't know that?" pressed Cassidy.
"What we do know is that there are people who have been charged and who are awaiting trial for serious sexual offences. We know that -'
Cassidy interrupted: "Charged, not convicted? You're the Attorney-General, do you know the difference between guilt and innocence?"
Mr Porter said there are asylum seekers who have "been charged with serious offences including sexual offences", but would not confirm any of them had been convicted of such crimes.
Last week, Labor MP Tony Burke argued that not much has changed with the introduction of the new Medevac laws, because they don't apply to new arrivals.
"If you get on a boat now, nothing changes as a result of the law that's before the parliament right now because it is ring-fenced to only apply to the people who are on Nauru and Manus now," he told ABC radio on Wednesday. "Not one person who might be thinking of risking
their life on the high seas would have their circumstances changed and there remains a bipartisan turn back policy that I would be surprised - deeply surprised - if the Government decided to not implement."
Up to 300 asylum seekers are reportedly ready with medical advice to allow their transfer to Australia following the passing of new medevac laws, amid fears the changes could spark an influx of boats.
According to The Australian, the government has received advice that up to 300 refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus Island had obtained medical recommendations in anticipation of the changes.
The bill that was passed by parliament yesterday, will allow refugees and asylum seekers already on Nauru and Manus Island to ask for a transfer to Australia if two doctors recommend it.
Federal sources have also reportedly told Nine News that up to 14,000 asylum seekers in Indonesia could attempt the dangerous journey to Australia after the new laws were passed.
Last week Mr Morrison announced he would reopen Christmas Island and ramp up border security patrols due to concerns the changes would restart the people-smuggling trade and trigger an influx of asylum seeker boats.
Boat arrivals have dropped dramatically since the government began turning back boats from Australia's borders and some asylum seekers told the Sydney Morning Herald this was a more effective deterrent than putting people in detention centres.
But asylum seekers have still continued to try and make the journey, with the Guardian reporting that at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 people to Australia by boat had been blocked at international ports in the 14 months to November 2018.
Last November, Australian Border Force simultaneously released 16 videos of Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton warning asylum seekers that Australia's "borders are reinforced".
The video - released in multiple languages that targeted asylum seeker hotspots - included the words "Operation Sovereign Borders" and the number 33, indicating a warning to migrants that 33 boats were blocked from Australia in five years.
"Australia has reinforced the security of its maritime borders with additional maritime and aerial surveillance resources," the video description stated. "Anyone who tries to enter Australia illegally by boat will be stopped. Regional processing arrangements will continue and no-one subject to regional processing will be resettled in Australia."