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Abbott 'turns back 34 asylum seekers'

Prime Minister Tony Abbott
The revelations came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised his 'tough' policies because they were 'working'. Mr Abbott said no asylum seekers had reached Australia by boat in 50 days, the longest period since 2008. As the policy tests relations with Indonesia, officials from the Water Police Unit said 'undocumented migrants' found stranded in a lifeboat at Pangandaran Beach in West Java claimed to have been driven away from Australian waters. They allegedly arrived in Christmas Island waters on January 28 which was intercepted by Australian authorities. They were then found stranded on February 5 on Pangandaran Beach. The claims that they were escorted back to open sea by an Australian vessel, an aircraft and a high speed inflatable boat are front page news in today's Jakarta Post. The Abbott Government promised to turn back the boats as part of its 2013 election campaign. Since then the policy has been shrouded in secrecy as the Government likened the Australia's people smuggling to war. "The message is getting loud and clear to the people smugglers and their would be customers that the way is shut," Mr Abbott said on Friday. However some in Indonesia see the policy as a breach of the county's sovereignty.

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