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Abbott dodges boat payment reports

June 12, 2015 6:16 pm

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to deny reports that an Australian navy ship paid the crew of a migrant boat to turn back to Indonesia.

But Mr Abbott said Australia had developed “incredibly creative” approaches to stopping asylum boats from reaching Australia.

Australia’s immigration and foreign ministers have denied allegations a payment was made to the crew.

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But Indonesia’s foreign ministry has said it is “very concerned”.

Police in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province said earlier this week that they had detained the captain and crew of a boat on people-smuggling charges in late May.

The migrants – from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka – were reportedly heading to New Zealand and are being held on the remote Rote island about 500km (310 miles) north-east of Australia.

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