Australian Opposition Leader blames Govt for rising asylum seeker issue

Australian Opposition Leader blames Govt for rising asylum seeker issue

Australian Opposition Leader blames Govt for rising asylum seeker issue

Written by Staff Writer

23 Jun, 2022 | 3:56 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); The Australian Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says that the increasing number of vessels carrying illegal Sri Lankan immigrants is a problem of Australian Government’s own making, reports Sky News.

Citing the Opposition Leader, Sky News states that recently, four vessels have been intercepted by Border Force and Sri Lankan officials in the last five weeks with refugees claiming they were told they would not be turned back to their home country under the newly-elected Government in Australia.

“This is a significant and emerging problem for the new government but it’s a problem of their own making. The situation in Sir Lanka hasn’t occurred in the last four weeks since this government was elected,” Dutton told reporters on Thursday (23).

Dutton said the situation in Sri Lanka has been “in a state of turmoil” for a while as he hit out at Labor for their stance on temporary protection visas, which he insisted was a key part of deterring people smugglers under Operation Sovereign Borders. “The situation economically and socially on the ground otherwise has been in a state of turmoil for some time and the circumstance in which the Government finds itself at the moment is of their own making because they trashed Operation Sovereign Borders,” he said.

“They wanted you to believe that they had Operation Sovereign Borders as their policy but of course it’s not. They removed the central limb to OSB which was the temporary protection visa…and the people smugglers aren’t stupid, they’re sophisticated criminal syndicates and their marketing on that basis to people.” he claimed.

The Labor party flagged during the federal election campaign it would abolish temporary protection visas and move to permanent protection visas if it won government but declared its support for boat turn backs and offshore processing.

Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews mentioned hat the “start up of boats coming to Australia” is a massive issue, which the Labor Government has to deal with. She pointed out that it is important that Operation Sovereign Borders is maintained.

The Home Affairs Minister of Australia, Clare O’Neil flew to Colombo recently to meet with Sri Lankan leaders to discuss how Australia could assist in the humanitarian and economic crisis as well as how to tackle the issue of asylum seekers.

She pledged the Government will provide $50 million in support, including $22 million to the World Food Programme and $23 million in development assistance, in addition to the provision of thousands of GPS devices to Sri Lanka to track fishing vessels, and in hopes of asylum seekers leaving the island.


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