Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned of the “real” threat of asylum seeker boats from Sri Lanka as it emerged a vessel was stopped by the Australian Border Force last month.
The boat from Sri Lanka was intercepted west of Christmas Island on August 7, with 13 suspected asylum seekers flown back to the south Asian country on August 18, The Courier-Mail reports.
Four asylum seeker boats carrying more than 90 people have now been intercepted off Australia since the May 18 federal election.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the threat out of Sri Lanka was concerning.
“It is the reason Sri Lanka was the first country I visited after the election, to make sure we can keep these boats stopped. This threat is very real,” he told the newspaper.
“Labor wants people to believe that the threat of new boat arrivals is not real. It is. We are dealing with it every day.”
News of last month’s asylum seeker boat comes as a Tamil family being held on Christmas Island are waiting to find out if a court will allow them to stay in Australia.
An interim injunction blocking the deportation of Priya, her husband Nadesalingam and their Australian-born children Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, has been extended until Wednesday.