Coalition vows to stop Lankan boats

4 February 2013 02:38 am - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A future coalition government would give Sri Lanka the support it needs to stop suspected asylum seeker boats from leaving its shores, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says.

Mr Morrison and the coalition's foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop on Monday revisited the opposition's border protection policy following a recent fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka.

Boats carrying suspected asylum seekers from the Indian Ocean island to Australia have surged since last May.

"It is the coalition's policy to ensure that those boats do not cross our sea borders," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"Our policy is to send (them) back."

Mr Morrison said if the coalition won government it would work with Sri Lanka to try to stop the asylum seeker boats, including supplying and outfitting boats for the Sri Lankan navy, and fuelling and maintaining them.

"The most important thing is to beef up the capacity of Sri Lanka to ensure they (the boats) don't get within a few hundred nautical miles of Australia," Mr Morrison said.

The aim was to increase the interception rate to three boats out of three, from one of three.

Mr Morrison declined to give further details of potential operations, citing security reasons.

Last week, Ms Bishop, Mr Morrison and opposition border protection spokesman Michael Keenan met Sri Lankan government officials, the chief of the defence forces and leaders from the navy, customs, police and intelligence.

Mr Morrison said the strong message coming out of the trip was that Sri Lankan boat arrivals were coming to Australia for economic and lifestyle reasons.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne rejected Mr Morrison's claim Sri Lanka was now a safe place following the end in 2009 of a 25-year civil war between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority.

"I would take much more strongly the views of Amnesty International and other human rights activists than the coalition," Senator Milne told reporters. (AAP)
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  • Game Tuesday, 05 February 2013 01:45 AM

    No, we don't want morons or to witness Sri Lankan subculture here in Aus. We need educated people with good sense of humour, who could adapt to our way of living and our culture.

    Bigsam Monday, 04 February 2013 08:50 AM

    They want to intercept boats in international waters as well and that's crossing the line!

    MagodisThuma Monday, 04 February 2013 10:08 AM

    Australia can provide ships.... Then we'll stop sending them by boats !

    MagodisThuma Monday, 04 February 2013 10:09 AM

    Australia is big enough to accommodate all the Sri Lankans !

    Esala Monday, 04 February 2013 12:14 PM

    Check with boat people how many their relatives already stay in Australia. Their the one who arranging boat trips for these people.


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