CANBERRA, Australia – Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott says Australia's contentious new policy on asylum seekers that includes turning their boats back to Indonesia would begin on Wednesday when his government is sworn in.
Abbott said Monday he hopes to travel to Indonesia for high-level meetings before he is due to attend a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in the resort island of Bali in early October.
Abbott led his conservative coalition to a crushing election victory on Sept. 7, partly on a promise to stop an increasing number of asylum seekers from reaching Australian shores aboard Indonesian fishing boats.
His approach to the problem includes turning the boats back and buying boats from Indonesian fishing villages to prevent them falling into the hands of people smugglers. Indonesian officials have criticized both strategies.