A conservative government stopped it. A Leftist government has restarted it
A vessel carrying 21 asylum seekers has been intercepted by a navy patrol boat near the Ashmore Islands off Australia's northwestern coast. Navy patrol boat HMAS Maryborough intercepted the suspected illegal entry vessel on Saturday, about 39km from the Ashmore Islands, which is some 320km off Australia's Kimberley coast, Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said. An air force aerial patrol had earlier spotted the boat.
Twenty people were found aboard the vessel. The group has been taken to Christmas Island for health, security and identity checks, Mr Debus said. The interception demonstrated the effectiveness of Border Protection Command's surveillance program, he said.
A day before the latest vessel was intercepted, the Federal Government announced 28 boat people intercepted by border patrols in September and November last year would be resettled in South Australia in the next few days. [And every one of them will write home encouraging others to come] They are the first people to be granted asylum since the Government softened Australia's refugee policy last July.
Announcing a "more humane" approach, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd scrapped the automatic incarceration on arrival of asylum seekers and called for an end to the detention of children and their families - both legacies of the previous government.
The Immigration Department is currently processing claims for another 134 unauthorised arrivals on Christmas Island.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here