Aus­tralia turned back 20 asy­lum-seeker boats since 2013, gov­ern­ment re­veals

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Aus­tralia Thurs­day said 20 asy­lum-seeker boats car­ry­ing 633 peo­ple have been turned back since 2013 as it marked a year since a suc­cess­ful ar­rival un­der its hard-line immigration poli­cies.

The con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment has taken a tough line to stop the flow of boat­peo­ple since com­ing to power in Septem­ber 2013, turn­ing back ves­sels when pos­si­ble in mil­i­tary-led oper­a­tions.

Those that do ar­rive on land are de­nied per­ma­nent set­tle­ment in Aus­tralia.

Immigration Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton said that last month marked one year since a boat car­ry­ing asy­lum seek­ers had suc­cess­fully ar­rived in Aus­tralia, with 20 turned back.

“We have had 633 peo­ple that would have ar­rived oth­er­wise on those ven­tures,” he said.

A Viet­namese boat was the latest known at­tempt, with 46 Viet­namese asy­lum seek­ers in­ter­cepted and sent home last month.

The boat was re­port­edly sighted by an oil tanker around 149 kilo­me­ters off­shore of Dampier in the state of Western Aus­tralia in late July, with the gov­ern­ment re­fus­ing to com­ment at the time, cit­ing op­er­a­tional se­cu­rity.

“There were 46 peo­ple on a re­cent ven­ture that did come from Viet­nam and we have ne­go­ti­ated their re­turn to Viet­nam,” Dut­ton told re­porters with­out say­ing when they were sent back to the South­east Asia na­tion.

He also did not re­veal what hap­pened to them af­ter they were re­turned home, only not­ing that they “ar­rived back safely.”

“We have worked on a bi­lat­eral ba­sis with the Viet­namese gov­ern­ment ... The boat that they came on has been scut­tled and we have been able to stare down that ven­ture and it’s a sig­nif­i­cant out­come,” he said.

Dut­ton added that the re­turn of asy­lum seek­ers was ne­go­ti­ated “on a case-by-case ba­sis” with Viet­namese author­i­ties.

Can­berra has de­fended its tough poli­cies as nec­es­sary af­ter thou­sands ar­rived un­der the pre­vi­ous La­bor gov­ern­ment and hun­dreds drowned en route.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.