Heated row on whether Morrison read key documents
IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison admitted he was "aware of", but may or may not have read documents about Operation Sovereign Borders that the Senate is demanding the government hand over.
During a heated Senate committee hearing on Friday, Mr Morrison and the heads of the OSB, Customs, and the Immigration Department, were grilled over the government's failure to provide the documents.
Last year, the Senate ordered documents about the operation be produced, but the government has argued under "public interest immunity", that it does not have to do so.
When asked repeatedly by Labor Senator Kim Carr whether he had read the documents, Mr Morrison said only that he was "aware" of the information, but refused to confirm the existence of the documents anyway.
Sen Carr accused Mr Morrison of failing to read the documents he was trying to keep from the Australian public - a point that Mr Morrison did not acknowledge with a confirmation or denial.
Earlier, Mr Morrison had essentially confirmed the government had turned or towed boats back from Australian waters, saying there had been "zero arrivals", due to the interception of all boats illegally entering Australian waters.
He also would not confirm how many boats had actually entered Australian waters, or how many times Australian vessels had breached Indonesia's waters, after revelations of multiple such incidents in recent weeks.
Mr Morrison and his officials argued releasing the information demanded by the Senate would harm the operation, national security, and diplomatic ties, among other issues.