Yes, a UN observer on the ground has come out and said that the Australian Navy paid people smugglers to turn back. This from the BBC:
Migrants on a boat headed for Australia have told the UN that the crew was paid by the Australian navy to turn back.Back to you Tone.....
James Lynch, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), told the BBC that passengers saw smugglers being paid after the boat was intercepted.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday admitted using "creative" strategies to stop migrant boats but refused to go into detail. The country's immigration and foreign ministers denied payments were made.
"The boat that was rescued by the Indonesian navy on 31 May - we have interviewed the 65 passengers and they have said that the crew received a payment," said Mr Lynch.
He said the passengers - 54 from Sri Lanka, 10 from Bangladesh, and one from Myanmar - were transferred to a customs boat for four days "before being put on two boats and sent back to Indonesia". more
Which is more believable; that the refugees, the police chief, the UN and the BBC are all telling lies, or that the Abbott gov is lying?
Interestingly, this from CNN:
Meanwhile, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service said that during the month of May "there were no illegal maritime arrivals." more