1 May 2009

More asylum seekers arrive in Australian waters

8:50 pm on 1 May 2009

Two more boats carrying asylum seekers have been found in Australia's northern waters.

More than 80 people were detained by border officials on Wesdnesday. The ABC reports the boats are the ninth and 10th arrivals this year.

Earlier this month, a boat carrying more than 40 asylum seekers exploded at Ashmore Reef, killing five people and injuring dozens.

The Australian government blames a recent increase in arrivals on escalating conflicts in the region, in particular Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

But deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop says arrivals have been on the rise since the Government changed immigration laws last October.

She says there should be an inquiry to consider "all the intelligence reports and the advice from the Australian Federal Police and other government agencies".

The Government changed immigration laws last year, including abolishing temporary protection visas and ending the Pacific solution policy of the previous government.

Ms Bishop says it is clear people smugglers are taking advantage of the changes: "These latest boat arrivals provide further evidence that the Rudd Government's policies on border protection have failed."