Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has insisted that his government will not allow Sri Lankans who arrive by boat to settle in Australia.
Prime Minister Albanese said his administration’s policy on asylum seekers is “very clear” after a refugee from Sri Lanka had claimed she was told by people smugglers she would not be turned home under the new Labor government.
The Prime Minister during an event in Melbourne this morning said, “People who arrive by boat will not be settled here. Very clearly our system is in place of Operation Sovereign Borders. People smugglers seek to trade in misery, they seek to mislead, often run by criminal syndicates and that is why it’s so misleading to behave in that way.”
He stressed his government will be “strong on borders without being weak on humanity”.
The Australian Prime Minister said his administration will do as several governments have done for a long period of time by looking after their international obligation to do the right thing.
Meanwhile, Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan has urged Prime Minister Albanese to visit Sri Lanka to address the humanitarian crisis in the country in hopes of reducing the number of asylum seekers making the dangerous journey to Australia.
The former Trade and Tourism Minister said Australians do not want to see a return to the horrific scenes of capsized boats and bodies of refugees floating in the ocean.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security of Australia Clare O’Neil arrived in the country.
The Australian High Commission in Colombo said Minister O’Neil is due to hold discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister GL Peiris.
Meanwhile, another 23 Sri Lankans deported from Australia after reaching its shores illegally in a fishing boat also returned to the country today.
The group had left for Australia on the 27th of May from Wennappuwa.
The group that was deported from the Christmas Island includes 22 males and a female.
They are residents of Negombo, Koswadiya and Mutur. The Lankans were taken to the Christmas Island yesterday, after Australian Border Force officials intercepted their boat closer to the mainland.
The group arrived at around 3.50am at the Bandaranaike International Airport and has been handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department for further investigations.