22 Oct 2009

Another asylum boat intercepted

3:01 pm on 22 October 2009

Another boat carrying asylum seekers has been intercepted off the north coast of Australia.

The boat was first seen by a Customs and Border Protection aeroplane, before being intercepted by HMAS Albany just north of Ashmore Island on Wednesday afternoon.

It is the 34th intercept reported this year.

The Federal Government believes 22 asylum seekers and two crew are on board the boat. They will be taken to Christmas Island for security, identity and health checks.

Meanwhile, the ABC reports the asylum debate has dominated Parliament in Canberra.

The coalition says a softening of the Government's policy is to blame for a surge in the number of unauthorised boat arrivals.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has defended the Government's approach as tough but humane.

He has called the Opposition the "party of children overboard" and the "party of Cornelia Rau".