- August 12, 201211:17AM
AUTHORITIES have intercepted two boats believed to be carrying asylum seekers.
Border protection boat ACV Hervey Bay stopped a boat west of the Cocos Islands on Saturday night.
Initial indications suggest there were 31 people, claiming asylum, on board.
Later, HMAS Broome, operating in coordination with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, intercepted another boat northwest of Ashmore Islands.
It is believed there were 87 passengers on board.
The passengers on both boats will be transferred to Christmas Island for security, health and identity checks.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said on August 8 after a 25th boat arrived with more than 100 asylum seekers on board: “More than 22,000 people have now turned up on 379 boats under Labor, and this latest arrival is the largest.”
ACV Hervey bay stopped twp asylun seeker boats the day before.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is not confident the political deadlock on asylum seeker policy will end soon, despite the findings of an expert panel being due tomorrow.
The panel, headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, will hand down its findings to Mr Bowen tomorrow, after Labor asked it to come up with policy solutions to break the impasse between the minority government, the opposition and the Greens.
But the opposition has already dismissed the panel’s findings without seeing them, saying it stands by its policy of processing asylum seekers on Nauru, reintroducing temporary protection visas and getting the navy to turn back boats when it’s safe to do so.
Asked today if he believed the deadlock would be broken this week, Mr Bowen was not optimistic.
“It takes a particular type of arrogance to reject a report’s recommendations before you have even seen them, when we are dealing with people’s lives …,” he told ABC television.
Mr Bowen said the time for arguing about the benefits of Nauru versus the government’s Malaysia solution had passed.
While the government was happy for its policies to be held up to scrutiny by the expert panel, the opposition was not, he added.
“They have stuck to their sound bites, stuck to their sound grabs,” he said.
Mr Bowen said he was not yet aware of the panel’s recommendations.
The story was originally published here: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/two-asylum-seeker-boats-intercepted-by-australian-government-authorities/story-fndo48ca-1226448532686