Abbott brushes off Indonesia people-smuggling bribery claims

File photo shows an Australian navy vessel shadowing a boat suspected to be carrying asylum-seekers from Indonesia towards Australian watersAustralian authorities work within the law to stop asylum-seeker boats, Prime Minister Tony Abbott insisted Tuesday, after reports officials have made cash payments to members of people-smuggling rings for years. The government has refused to deny reports that six Indonesian crew members were paid $US5,000 each to return an asylum-seeker vessel to Indonesia in late May, saying no comment will be made on operational issues. Indonesia has pushed for answers, with Vice President Jusuf Kalla warning Monday that paying people-smugglers would amount to “bribery”.

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