The billboard claimed more than 600 “illegal” asylum seeker boats have arrived in Australia since the Labor Party won government.

Graffiti artists took it upon themselves to white out the number and replaced it with a zero, reports

The message: “No crime to seek asylum.” was also spray painted.

The sign has subsequently been replaced and today Abbott addressed the graffiti.

“I understand the billboard has now been vandalised,” he said. “Well, my message to the vandals is you can vandalise a billboard but you can’t hide the facts.The facts are that this Government has totally, utterly, comprehensively, and, in the end, disgracefully failed on border protection.”

A boat carrying more than 60 asylum seekers sailed undetected into Geralldton  few weeks ago, but more than two-thirds of the group have since been sent home.

Abbott brushed off criticism from an Indonesian MP about his policy of turning back asylum seeker boats, saying Mr Abbott’s comments were “disrespectful” and showed a lack of understanding about the problem.

Image via Getty