Boat ban move floated
THE Federal Government is moving to ban boats after all other attempts at deterring asylum seekers failed.
Immigration Minister Chris Broken said he realised banning boats might be "somewhat inconvenient" for the fishing industry and recreational boat owners.
"But we simply can't let poor people from dangerous, impoverished countries arrive on our doorstep expecting food and welfare," he said.
"We have to stop these people before they ruin our way of life with their constant griping just because we lock them up for years in the middle of the desert."
Mr Broken said the boat ban might hurt the fishing industry in the short term but he would be encouraging fishermen to instead use jetties and wander into estuaries wearing high rubber boots.
"My old grandpappy could land a couple of big catfish in an afternoon down at the river with a handline so I am fairly confident professional fishermen could match that effort," he said.
"People who are used to boating for fun on the weekend might miss this for a while but eventually they should find more useful ways to spend their time, such as card games and collecting rubbish in the local park."
Mr Broken said the government would be funding a boat buy-back scheme, similar to the gun buy-back of the 1990s, to ensure the ban did not leave people out of pocket.
He said in the initial stages the ban would not extend to sailboards or surfboards with paddles "but if we get a whole lot of surfboards floating in with 10 refugees on the back we will have to ban those too".
Mr Broken denied the boat ban was extreme or un-Australian.
He said the government had tried locking people in dingy cells, threatening fines, trying to flog refugees to Malaysia and even television ads assuring refugees that they would be eaten by crocodiles if they came to Australia.
Ordinary punter Bill said he would miss his tinnie but he hoped to be able to pull it apart and use the material to make a garden shed.
Greens leader Bob Frown said he could not comment until he had received a script from the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Opposition Leader Tony Abshot said he once got seasick on a boat and turned "a fairly disturbing shade of green".
He said he would support the boat ban as long as the boat buy-back could be conducted on the island of Nauru.
"I know everyone would be expecting me to criticise the boat ban but I have decided not to in the hope that I will be seen as an interesting, open-minded, new-age politician prepared to embrace new ideas, even dumb ones," Mr Abshot said.
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