Opposition slams Coalition's policy of silence on boats

FEDERAL Labor is feeding fears the public could be left in the dark on asylum seeker arrivals, slamming the Coalition's policy not to release details of new arrivals immediately.

A key part of what Coalition front-bencher Greg Hunt called a "military operation," the policy will see the media updated on recent arrivals at most once a week.

Labor leader candidate Bill Shorten on Sunday hit out at the policy, joining former Immigration Minister Tony Burke in labelling it a "culture of secrecy" on refugee arrivals.

Mr Shorten said the Coalition policy was no longer "stop the boats, but hide the boats", saying the Abbott Government was trying to suppress information on recent arrivals.

While the former Labor Government updated the public for the majority of new arrivals almost daily, the announcements were often a day or two later than the operation to intercept vessels.

Mr Hunt said the public could expect a considerable policy announcement on the issue from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison on Monday.

But he would not go into detail on the policy, saying only that there would be "regular, continuous, full disclosure", despite recent reports the updates could be weekly to start, but peter off over time.

Mr Hunt said the Coalition was embarking on a "military operation", through its much-touted Operation Sovereign Borders, despite reported concerns within the military about the use of such defence jargon for what is an immigration issue.

Mr Morrison was expected to announce further the details of the new policy on asylum seekers on Monday.


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