Canberra: The Australian authorities have intercepted another two boatloads of suspected asylum seekers near the Christmas Island.
One was carrying 103 passengers and two crew and the other had 138 people on board. The suspected asylum seekers are being transferred to the Christmas Island for security and health checks.
The Australian labour government has launched a so-called Malaysia solution to the issue about one year ago to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 who had already been processed. But the Australian High Court scuttled the plan.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said on Monday 80 boats had turned up since the policy was announced. "Things just go from bad to worse," he told reporters.
"With 17,000 people having arrived on Labor's watch, people smugglers have grossed, we estimate, some AUD 165 million (USD 169. 9 million) since Labor got rid of the policies that worked under the Howard government."
Asylum seekers arriving on Australian far north shores is a long-time problem in the society which raises both humanitarian and immigration concerns.
But until Monday, there is no effective solution to the issue due to cheap labour shortage and economic considerations in the country. The Labor government has been blamed for increasing society safety and high cost of living concerns brought by asylum seekers.
First Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, 14:19