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A Customs and Defence review has found that Australian boats entered Indonesian waters six times between December and January.
The Australian government has formally apologised to the Indonesian government for what it describes as an inadvertent mistake.
The joint review found that the breaches resulted from “miscalculation” of Indonesian maritime boundaries by Australian crews.
The Abbott government admitted that Australian boats, under Operation Sovereign Borders, had entered Indonesian waters back in January, but did not specify how many times this occurred.
The review analysed all patrols conducted between December 1 and January 20 as well as the orders and planning around the incursions.
It found that had “headquarters staff implemented appropriate control measures, informed by authoritative information on Indonesian maritime boundaries, the normal post activity reporting and checks would have detected the incursions as they occurred”.
The review found that the incursions were first identified by an “ad hoc intervention by planning staff”.
The review also found that “the imperative to remain outside Indonesian waters did not receive adequate attention during mission execution or oversight”.
It recommends that navy and Customs’ heads consider whether there were any “individual lapses in professional conduct”.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told ABC TV on Wednesday that he accepted the review’s recommendations.
He said the Australian government had behaved in a “forthright” way about the incursions and that Indonesia had been advised about the outcomes of the review.
The government has only released the executive summary and summary of findings and recommendations of the review.
Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles called for the full report to be released.
“The statement released today highlights a systemic problem arising out of this government’s border protection policy,” he said.
“Serious implications remain in terms of our relations with Indonesia. In the national interest it is vital the full report be released.”
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