Malaysian police say they have cracked open an international people-smuggling syndicate. This comes after intercepting a modified tanker carrying 131 Sri Lankans, believed to be bound for NZ and Australian shores.
The raid resulted in the arrest of 16 suspected smugglers.
In the early hours of Tuesday, Malaysian naval and coastguard authorities detained 98 men, 24 women, and nine children. They were being ferried by a fishing boat, Kota Tinggi, in Johor on the southern Tamil Nadu.
Soon afterward, Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said any move by Bill Shorten to soften Labor’s support for Operation Sovereign Borders would ‘play into the hands of people-smugglers’.
‘It’s clear the threat from criminal people smuggling syndicates remains and so must our efforts to maintain our border security…
‘The need for Operation Sovereign Borders is as vital as it was when it began. Unfortunately Labor’s support for tough border policies is ebbing away.’
This comes after the Opposition leader faced a pre-election brawl over border protection, as revealed by The Australian. With the party’s draft national platform proposing to revamp the government’s home affairs portfolio and shift asylum-seekers out of mandatory detention after 90 days.
Opposition spokesman for immigration and border protection, Shayne Neumann, accused Mr Dutton of ‘helping the people-smugglers’. ‘By playing petty politics, Peter Dutton is encouraging the people-smugglers to restart their vile trade,’ Mr Neumann said. He claimed Labor would ‘never let the people-smugglers back in business’.
Turning back the boats a proven success
The flow of boats has drastically declined since 2013, when Australia first started turning back boats and introducing thorough policies that rejected boat arrivals.
Over 50,000 asylum-seekers arrived under the Rudd and Gillard Labor government.
The countries that resettled the most refugees though the UNHCR in 2015 were:
- United states (66,500)
- Canada (20,000)
- Australia (9,400)
- Norway (2,400)
It proves difficult to measure how Australia will rank in comparison to other countries when it reaches the expected figure of 18,750 in 2018–19. But, just by comparing the numbers, we can clearly see how significant a difference the Coalition’s policies have made.
With a Federal election looming in late 2018 or early 2019, this hot-button issue is sure to remain at the forefront of debate. Especially if more arrivals or arrests like these take place.
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