Asylum-seekers fly to mainland

Paul Maley & Paige Taylor; 26/3/10; (2 Items)

Authorities will today fly up to 100 asylum-seekers to the Australian mainland as Border Protection Command prepares to take a new boatload of 97 people to overcrowded Christmas Island for processing. Yesterday, the federal opposition accused Kevin Rudd of spilling asylum-seekers to the mainland by stealth, with new figures showing more than 200 boatpeople have been transferred from Christmas Island before being granted visas. The claim came as authorities intercepted another boat, this one carrying 94 passengers, believed to be Afghans, and three crew. The interception on Wednesday night will increase the pressure on the island, where authorities have been forced to house more than 300 detainees in tents to cope with a rise in boat arrivals.


94 asylum seekers caught off coast
A boat carrying almost 100 asylum seekers has been intercepted by Australian authorities. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said the vessel was believed to be carrying 94 people and three crew members. It was found by HMAS Maitland last night, west of the Ashmore Islands, after being spotted by a Border Protection plane The group will be transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo security, identity and health checks. Authorities will also attempt to establish their reasons for travel, Mr O’Connor said today.Christmas Island’s facilities are already under intense pressure due to the high number of asylum seeker arrivals. The discovery of yet another, large group has the potential to push the detention centre beyond its capacity.