Written by Bella Dalima
25 Jul, 2014 | 7:59 pm
The Australian Government says a group of asylum seekers, reportedly Sri Lankan, being transferred from a Customs ship to the Mainland will not be resettled in Australia.
The 157 men, women and children left in a boat from India and have spent nearly a month in legal limbo on board the customs ship, after being intercepted by Australian authorities.
Australian Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison said: “It is not our policy to send out a water taxi as soon as the smugglers put up the whistle, as occurred under the previous government.”
A defiant tone from a Minister under pressure.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who has just returned from India, would not confirm where the asylum seekers will be held onshore.
However, Australia’s Public Broadcaster ABC, reports the asylum seekers are being moved to the Cocos Islands, and from there will be flown to the Curtin detention centre in remote Western Australia.
Morrison, who held meetings with Indian ministers while in New Delhi, has suggested India could accept the asylum seekers.
Australian Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison added;
[quote]The final location for return of those passengers is still to be determined and is subject to operational considerations. Until this process undertaken by Indian consular officials has been completed, the persons will remain in Australia. The government reserves its position to then apply any measures available to it under our policy settings and relevant regulations.[/quote]
The full bench of the Australian High Court will hear the asylum seekers’ case next month.
Lawyers for one of the asylum seekers are seeking a court order preventing the Federal Government from sending the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, Nauru, or Papua New Guinea. Lawyers also want the court to declare that the Government acted unlawfully and abused its powers.
In a defence statement filed to the court, the Federal Government said the people on board the vessel did not hold visas entitling them to travel to or enter Australia. It also refused to admit the people on board are entitled to claim asylum from any country.
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