People might want to know the fate of asylum seekers on two boats off Christmas Island, but Immigration Minister Scott Morrison isn’t going to tell.
“Public curiosity is not the same as the public interest and the public interest here that I have to assess is what is in the national interest and what is in the national interest is that we maintain the integrity of an operation that is saving lives at sea and protecting the integrity of our borders,” Mr Morrison told Sky News on Monday – all in one breath.
The immigration minister has repeatedly refused to confirm reports over the weekend that two boats were intercepted by Australian authorities off Christmas Island.
One is reportedly carrying 153 Tamil asylum seekers, including about 30 children, many of them sick, while the second has 50 people aboard.
Refugee advocates said they had not heard from the Tamil asylum seekers since Saturday.
“I’m fairly convinced the government will rendezvous to get the Sri Lankan navy to tow them back,” Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul told AAP.
Mr Morrison will only confirm incidents that involve safety of life at sea, such as medical transfers.
“There have been no such incidents for me to report over the last few days,” he said.