great scott ....
Immigration minister Scott Morrison will no longer hold weekly press briefings and will instead only hold conferences on an “as needs basis.”
Only weekly written statements will now be provided on boat arrivals and conferences will be held sporadically when the minister announces them, Morrison told ABC 7:30 in an interview with Leigh Sales on Tuesday evening.
“We'll do them on an as needs basis to detail operational matters that are able to be released and we'll respond to questions there," Morrison said.
“We will issue a statement on the numbers of arrivals and the transfers and we will hold operational briefings, like we will tomorrow, when we have something to say and when we have something to report,” he said.
Both the Greens and Labor had earlier on Tuesday condemned the Coalition’s secretive approach to immigration matters, following revelations that the immigration department is now blocking the release of ministerial briefings that were previously made public under the Labor government.
“There is no doubt the Coalition government has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide information from Australians who are still waiting for the accountability and transparency they were promised by the Coalition before the election,” acting shadow immigration minister Michelle Rowland said in the earlier statement.
“It is unacceptable that Australians know more about what is happening on our borders from the Indonesian government than from the prime minister or Scott Morrison.”
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young also said: “The government is keeping the Australian people in the dark while lying to them and saying that the boats have stopped.”
“Despite the government’s refusal to tell the Australian people, we know that women and children are still attempting to flee to Australia in any way that they can,” she said.
Morrison also hit back at the the claims of secrecy, saying the government’s approach was not about toughness, but about providing “effective measures”.
“If that means we're going to be accused of secrecy and things like that, I think some people have got to come down off the grassy knoll a bit on this, the conspiracy theories are getting a bit crazy,” he said.
Morrison also confirmed that the 285 asylum seekers housed in four mainland detention centres centres that will be closed, following an announcement earlier on Tuesday, will be sent to other Australian facilities, not offshore ones.
“They will be transferred to other parts of the detention network on mainland Australia.