Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s efforts to ease voter concern at a jump in asylum seekers under the governing Labor party has failed to help overcome a deficit with the opposition ahead of a Sept. 7 election.
A boat with 81 passengers that was stopped today off northwest Australia will be the first to face the government’s new policy of refusing entry to refugees and sending them to neighboring Papua New Guinea.
Four people drowned after a boat carrying suspected asylum seekers capsized off Australia, the second fatal incident in a week as the government seeks to ease voter discontent over the flow of refugees ahead of elections.
Australia will prioritize work to stem the flow of asylum seekers attempting to reach the country by sea, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said today, after an infant drowned in the second incident this week involving boats bound from Indonesia.
A boat carrying people suspected of seeking asylum in Australia capsized in heavy seas close to Christmas Island, killing several passengers. Customs officials have pulled 27 bodies from the water, Sky News said.