All asylum-seekers arriving in Australia by boat will now be turned back to Indonesia by the navy, in cases where it is safe to do so.
Mr. Abbott’s conservative coalition won a majority in the lower house in the September 7 election, putting an end to the Labor party’s six-years in power.
The new policy on asylum seekers began after the new Prime Minister’s swearing-in ceremony Wednesday in Canberra.
“It’s so important that we send a message to the people-smugglers that from today their business model is coming to an end,” said Mr Abbott at the ceremony.
Indonesia has raised concerns about the policy and human rights groups have criticized both Labor’s and the incoming government’s policies on asylum.
Mr. Abbott has promised to continue the Labor policy of sending all asylum-seekers who are found to be refugees to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement.
Refugees will be given temporary protection visas which must be renewed regularly. Image/AP