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Australia tightens secrecy over 'success' in blocking asylum seekers

Published on Jan 15, 2014 1:43 PM

CANBERRA (REUTERS) - Australia's government on Wednesday touted its success in deterring asylum seekers from arriving by boat, even as it moved to further restrict access to information about its secretive immigration policies.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said government activity, which is believed to include returning vessels intercepted by Australian authorities to Indonesia, had dramatically reduced the number of refugees risking the perilous journey.

At the same time, he said the government would maintain its refusal to comment on "operational matters" and go one step further by cancelling a weekly media briefing he had instituted last year to discuss so-called Operation Sovereign Borders.

"Arrival rates have been significantly arrested in recent months and the establishment phase of the operation has been concluded," Mr Morrison told reporters.

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