Sri Lankan asylum seekers sent home to Colombo from Christmas Island by Australian Border Force
Anthony Albanian deports its first asylum seekers since taking office as boatload of Sri Lankans is turned back after their boat was intercepted in Australian waters
- Boatload of asylum seekers landed overnight on Christmas Island
- They were immediately deported back to Sri Lanka on a charter flight
- Local residents said 45 people, including government officials, had fled to Colombo
A boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers has been intercepted by the Australian Border Force and expelled from the country in the first test of the new Labor government policy.
Locals on Christmas Island say they saw the asylum seekers heading to the island early Thursday morning by ABF agents.
Residents say they were then immediately transferred to a specially chartered Skytraders flight from the Indian Ocean island to the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
A boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers has been intercepted by the Australian Border Force and expelled from the country in the first test of the new Labor government policy (stock image)
the Australian reports that 45 people, including government officials, were on board for the six-hour flight, which departed around 2 a.m. local time, 5 a.m. AEST.
The government’s Home Affairs Department referred all questions about the interception and deportation to the Australian Border Force.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABF for comment.
It follows the arrival of a previous boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers on election day last month, which was reversed by the ABF.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles confirmed at the time that they would continue the coalition policy of boat reversals.
“They have been sent back to Sri Lanka. And that has happened in a very normal and routine way,” he said two days after Labor claimed election victory last month.
“I think it’s important to say up front that this shows that there is absolutely no change in Australia’s border situations under this administration.
“We will maintain a strong border, which is the right choice to protect lives at sea.”
Residents say they were then immediately transferred to a specially chartered Skytraders flight from the Indian Ocean island to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo (stock image)
Opposition spokeswoman Karen Andrews said the arrival was predicted.
“I’ve always said people smugglers are watching. And they clearly are,” she told The Australian.
“This is exactly what the coalition said would happen and it is happening.
“The Albanian government urgently needs to explain how it will manage illegal boat arrivals and ensure that people smugglers don’t sell through due to the change of government.”