Minister’s office won’t confirm briefings

Immigration minister Scott Morrison’s office has refused to say whether he will continue his weekly Operation Sovereign Borders press conference.


Mr Morrison appeared at a weekly press conference with Operation Sovereign Borders commander, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, every Friday until his last on December 20.

Since then his department has issued a weekly press statement, leaving journalists with no avenue to question the minister directly.

“The weekly updates are provided as promised,” Mr Morrison’s spokeswoman Kerri Griffiths told AAP in an email on Tuesday.

“The next update will be provided this week.

“More information will be provided in due course.”

Ms Griffiths did not respond to a series of emailed questions asking to clarify the term “in due course”.

The weekly press conferences were heated in the closing weeks of 2013, with journalists frustrated by short-notice announcements of the weekly briefings and the lack of detail being given by the minister.

Last week Mr Morrison’s office announced in a statement that Australian authorities intercepted the first asylum-seeker boat of the year, but the government didn’t count it at the time.

Mr Morrison said no illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to immigration authorities during the week ending Jan 3.

“The boats have not yet stopped, but they are stopping,” he said.

An accompanying statement from Operation Sovereign Borders commander Lieutenant General Campbell noted that a boat was intercepted near Melville Island on Wednesday last week.

Mr Morrison said boat arrivals from October to December were at the lowest level since 2008.

The statement marked the second week in a row Mr Morrison issued his report via email instead of holding a press conference.

A fresh statement is expected on Friday.