Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith has labelled the federal opposition's call to deport all Sri Lankan asylum seekers "extraordinary" and "hypocritical".
The opposition on Sunday urged the federal government to reach an agreement with Sri Lanka for the immediate return of people intercepted en route to Australia.
In a joint statement, opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop and immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said those who made it through should be immediately sent back to Sri Lanka, without setting foot on Australian soil.
The call came after Australian authorities intercepted a boat carrying 81 suspected asylum seekers apparently from Sri Lanka, north-northwest of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on Saturday.
"Firstly, the suggestion is in breach of the Refugee Convention and in breach of international law," Mr Smith told reporters in Perth on Monday.
"Secondly, this is the political party who said that they couldn't authorise the Malaysian arrangement because Malaysia was not a party to the refugee convention.
"So I find it both extraordinary and hypocritical.
"We have an obligation under the convention and an obligation under international law to process someone's application for asylum if they make it."
Mr Smith's comments echoed those made by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on Sunday.(AAP)
Comments - 17
kumar Tuesday, 04 September 2012 10:22 AM
Saman Tuesday, 04 September 2012 03:15 AM
Sri Lankans living in Australia would love to see more Sri Lankans coming to Australia armed with good skills so that they could contribute to our economy. Sri Lankans living in Australia do not like to see tossers jumping in to a boat as fake refugees and go on the dole once they arrive because people in Australia work hard and pay lots of tax. We would like our tax dollar spent on roads, education and health instead of feeding you people.
nicky karunarathna Tuesday, 04 September 2012 03:21 AM
The major problem here is, Australian Labour Party in government with the help of Australian Greens with razor thin one vote, who is Australian Green member in federal parliament.Then again Australian Green support is needed to pass bills in the senate. The Australians Greens are with Tamil terrorist and people smugglers who support immensly with illgotten money to fund Australian Greens Party. Knowing all these frauds and under hand deals with LTTE, Australian Greens leader slowly quit the Party ( Dr. Bob Brown)saying that he got other things do. Australian Greens are corrupt to the core. Now that their support base has come down to 8% per cent from 12%. Australian Greens are lead by all women like Rhiannon, Sarah Hanson Young et al are good in crying before TV cameras and taking money in bed from the Tamil terrorist and are now super rich.On the other hand they need more boat people in Australia to collect more votes in their bank. Otheriwse no Australian will vote for them.
Nihal Amarasekera Tuesday, 04 September 2012 04:50 AM
Tks Nicky for enlightening on the factual position.
Calistus Jayatilleke Monday, 03 September 2012 01:19 PM
What an inducement for those who still plan on going in boats and for the people smugglers who make a quick buck.
SL Monday, 03 September 2012 02:12 PM
Then don't whine when boa loads of people appear on your shores.
ceylon Monday, 03 September 2012 02:34 PM
Please don't deport them keep them since they were so desperate to get out of SL
Hussain Monday, 03 September 2012 02:32 PM
These are all economic migrants and need to be sent back to the countries that they came from. If they wish to emigrate then they must go via the legal way and take their place in immigrants line.
raj Monday, 03 September 2012 03:01 PM
Sri Lankan who are living in Australia do not want other Sri Lankan to go there. They are real hypocrites, they must come back to Sri Lanka first and then they can talk about others going to Australia by boat etc. Have they ever t hought why they should risk their life's to go on boats etc.
jayalath Monday, 03 September 2012 03:18 PM
So keep them. Dont deport . Good for sri Lankan economy.
hamid Monday, 03 September 2012 04:00 PM
OPEN VISA TO GO TO AUSTARALIA.
PJay Tuesday, 04 September 2012 07:19 AM
Sri Lankans with skills and qualifications are always welcome to Australia through the front door. It is the queue jumpers who come by boats with a begging bowl thinking that they can make a living out of Australian tax payers hard earned money is the issue. These beggers not only bring shame on Sri Lanka but also the deacent Sri lankans who are living in Australia. Raj, your accusation is not reasonable.
Fair N Square Monday, 03 September 2012 05:43 PM
The Australian authorities have already lined the pockets of " High Up" in the Sri-Lankan govt so that they intercept these refugees, economic and political even before they reach the borders of Australia. They are party to the Refugee convention and also party to step on SL.. Let them have the baby....
You reap what you sow.... it's harvesting time......
You reap what you sow.... it"s harvesting time.........')" type="button" class="btn btn-outline-secondary btn-sm" style="padding-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 2px">Reply
raj Monday, 03 September 2012 06:16 PM
during the second world war, some french officical collaborated with Germany so they deported Jewish who escaped from Nazi Hitler. Opposition leader comment remind what happened to jewish.
Himal Tuesday, 04 September 2012 09:50 AM
Raj I think you want to go yourself but afraid to take the risk. I tell you man, these people will go there and ruin the chance of Sri Lankans going leagally.
Saman Tuesday, 04 September 2012 09:42 AM
Well said. I hope the next elections are not far away!
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