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1. Bill Shorten has refused to say if authorities bribed people smugglers while Labor was in power.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says that Labor did not pay people smugglers to turn back boats, but has refused to comment on allegations that payments may have been made by spy agencies.
“Labor has never paid people smugglers to turn back boats as it appears the government has done,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning.
The questions came after the Coalition government was accused of giving bribes to crew members and passengers on an asylum boat, which was intercepted last month.
When asked if Labor may have authorised similar payments while in government Shorten was evasive and cited national security concerns to avoid answering the question.
“You know it doesn’t matter what party the politician is from, when it comes to security matters, we simply don’t comment,” Mr Shorten said.
Yesterday afternoon, Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young moved a motion calling on the Government to produce any documents pertaining to the matter.
Senate has just ordered the Govt to table docs relating to payments made to ppl smugglers. They have 24hours to comply.
— Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) June 16, 2015
“If the Government wants to work with the Senate on other topics, other issues, they’re going to have to start playing ball on this,” Senator Hanson-Young said. “The public want to know what’s happened, they want to know if Australian taxpayer money was spent paying for bribes to traffic people back to Indonesia.” Meanwhile, Fairfax Media has released an image of an Indonesian police chief with photo evidence of the money allegedly paid to the smugglers.