100th asylum boat intercepts navy patrol

Paul Maley & Paige Taylor; 30/3/10

The 100th asylum boat to arrive since Kevin Rudd took office sailed directly to Christmas Island yesterday, arriving quietly at Flying Fish Cove before those aboard phoned authorities, requesting to be picked up. As the Immigration Department prepared to transfer another 50 refugees and asylum-seekers to the Australian mainland today, authorities announced the interception of two more boats, bringing to 100 the number of vessels to arrive since November 2007. A media release issued by Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor yesterday announced: “HMAS Broome…operating under the control of Border Protection Command, today intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel in the vicinity of Christmas Island.” In fact, the opposite was closer to the truth: the boat’s 41 passengers and three crew effectively intercepted HMAS Broome.

See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/th-asylum-boat-intercepts-navy-patrol/story-e6frgczf-1225847189641; Gillard blames firm for Villawood escape; Yuko Narushima; 30/3/10; http://www.theage.com.au/national/gillard-blames-firm-for-villawood-escape-20100329-r8b6.html;

Speak with one voice about asylum seekers
30/3/10: http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/for-all-the-love-living-with-a-disability-is-hard-20100329-r84e.html
It is time for bipartisanship on asylum seekers arriving by boat as there seems to be on all other areas of immigration policy (”Rudd’s hard line on asylum rejects”, March 29). Indeed in reality the current policies for boat people are almost identical. All asylum seekers are processed offshore. Every boat has been intercepted – not one has reached the Australian mainland. There is mandatory detention for asylum seekers while health and security checks are performed. There is intergovernmental co-operation between Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. People smugglers are detained and prosecuted. Those asylum seekers found not to be refugees are deported. The only point of difference between the two main parties is that the government will not use punishment and humiliation of asylum seekers as a method of deterrence. At most, asylum seekers arriving in boats and gaining permanent visas are about 2 per cent of our total migrant intake. Hardly a “visa factory”. Yet this issue seems to attract 98 per cent of political and media attention. Where is the public benefit?
See: Rudd’s hard line on asylum rejects; Kirsty Needham; 29/3/10; http://www.smh.com.au/national/rudds-hard-line-on-asylum-rejects-20100328-r59a.html