Fifth asylum seeker boat in two days arrives in Australian waters with about 43 people on board

August 28, 2012


The Opposition says the Gillard Govenment needs to implement the full range of John Howard’s asylum seeker policy. Picture: Scott Fisher Source: The Daily Telegraph

ANOTHER asylum seeker boat has been intercepted in Australian waters – the fifth in the last two days.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare says ACV Hervey Bay intercepted the boat carrying an estimated 43 people north of Cocos Islands this morning.

Authorities intercepted two other vessels near the Cocos Islands yesterday afternoon – carrying 103.

They also found 77 people who actually managed to land on the Cocos’ North Keeling Island.

Authorities yesterday also assisted a vessel with 165 people on board north-west of Christmas Island.

The government says everyone who has arrived by boat since it moved to reinstate offshore processing earlier this month could end up in Nauru or Manus Island.

Earlier today, Immigration  Minister Chris Bowen concedes the government’s new offshore processing policy is not yet having an effect on the number of asylum seeker boats heading to Australia.

More than 1000 people have arrived on 17 boats since the government this month announced plans to re-open the Howard government-era processing centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

The government hopes to start sending asylum seekers to Nauru – which will initially be capable of housing 500 people in temporary accommodation – by the end of next month.

Mr Bowen has conceded the policy has not yet slowed the flow of boats.

Nauru and Manus Island

Processing centres for asylum seekers will be restarted on Nauru and Manus Island, off PNG. Source: News Limited

“It’s not having an effect yet, but it does take time to work,” he told 2SM Radio in Sydney.

“It will become more effective when we actually have planes going to Nauru and PNG.”

Mr Bowen says it takes time for the message to reach asylum seekers currently waiting in Indonesia and Malaysia that things have changed.

People smugglers will also be lying to asylum seekers about what the changes will mean for them, he said.

“Others will be waiting to see the planes go off to Nauru and PNG, to see whether we’re actually serious about this,” he said.

“So it does take time to work.”

The Opposition said the Federal Government needed to implement the full range of the former Howard government’s asylum seeker policy.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said in the past 24 hours four asylum seeker boats have been intercepted.

“The coalition once again calls on the government to put in place the suite of policies that worked to stop the boats under John Howard,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

“They still refuse to introduce temporary protection visas that deny access to the family reunion program … and also to turn boats back where circumstances permit.”



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Filed under Boat Intercepted, PNG/Pacific Solution

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