Stopping asylum-seeker boats reaching Australia is a “stand or fall issue” for the incoming conservative government, Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott told reporters on Monday.
Mr. Abbott said the commitment to stop the boats “starts from day one” after his government is sworn in on Wednesday.
Announcing his cabinet in Canberra, Mr. Abbott said his government would focus on stopping boats crammed with asylum-seekers setting out from Indonesia in a desperate bid to reach Australia.
Mr. Abbott said his government would initiate a fund to work with Indonesian authorities and fishermen to “stop the boats.” The policy is part of Mr. Abbott’s regional plan to tackle people smuggling called Operation Sovereign Borders.
Incoming Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the move would not breach Indonesia’s sovereignty.
“We’re not asking for Indonesia’s permission; we’re asking for their understanding,” she told Sky News.
“Of course all relationships require managing, but there is a level of mutual respect between Indonesia and Australia and we will maintain that.
Ms. Bishop will be the only woman in the new cabinet. The key position of treasurer will be held by Joe Hockey, who had the role of shadow treasurer in opposition.