Abbott claims credit for slowing boats
Prime Minister claims asylum seeker boat arrivals are "down by 90 per cent" under his government, but Labor credits their PNG solution for the decline.PT0M0S 620 349
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he is simply calling ''a spade a spade'' by directing public servants to refer to asylum seekers as ''illegal''.
''I'm not going to make any apologies for not using politically correct language to describe something that I am trying to stop,'' he said.
Mr Morrison has come under fire for telling immigration staff that boat arrivals must be called ''illegal maritime arrivals'', and asylum seekers in detention must be called ''detainees'' instead of ''clients''.
The Immigration Minister is unrepentant.
''I'm not going to engage in some sort of clever language to try and mask anything here,'' he said.
''I'm going to call a spade a spade.''
Mr Morrison said his directive simply concerned the way asylum seekers arrived.
''People who have entered Australia illegally by boat have illegally entered by boat,'' he said.
''I've never said that it is illegal to claim asylum. That's not what the term refers to. It refers to their mode of entry.''
Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles accused Mr Morrison of demonising asylum seekers in what he said was a return to the inflammatory rhetoric of the Howard era.
''This is an area where language is bullets: it is really important that we are careful about what language we use and that we depoliticise this area of policy,'' Mr Marles said.
''Those who come by boat are not the enemy.
''In terms of calling a spade a spade, people who seek asylum here are asylum seekers.''