24 Dec 2010

PNG group's bid 'blatant disregard of Australian law'

8:07 pm on 24 December 2010

Australian immigration authorities say a group of people from Papua New Guinea campaigning for Australian citizenship has shown a blatant disregard for the country's laws.

The 119 people from Papua New Guinea's Western Province set off from Daru Island across Torres Strait in a flotilla of 11 boats in a bid to reach mainland Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship intercepted the boats and detained the group overnight on Horn Island.

The department says the interception, detention and repatriation of the people - who belong to the Papuan Australian Plaintiff United Affiliates group - will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It says it was a foolhardy endeavour and puts people's lives at risk.

The boats have been confiscated.