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Australia cracks down on asylum seekers

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 - 01:12

July 20 - Australia's PM Kevin Rudd announces tough new measures to stem a dramatic increase in refugee boats, with a new deal to send all arrivals to Papua New Guinea for assessment and settlement. Tom Dinham reports.

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signing a refugee agreement with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. The Pacific island state has agreed to host a processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, KEVIN RUDD, SAYING: "From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees. Asylum seekers taken to Christmas Island will be sent to Manus and elsewhere in Papua New Guinea for assessment of their refugee status. If they are found to be genuine refugees they will be resettled in Papua New Guinea." More than 15,000 asylum seekers have arrived by boat in Australian territory this year prompting opposition accusations that the ruling Labor government is soft on border protection. Australian elections are due to be called within weeks and Rudd needs to take tough action on asylum seekers to have a chance of winning in key seats, where anger at the boat arrivals is a major issue. Since 2001, around 1,000 people have died while trying to reach Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island on unseaworthy refugee boats.

Australia cracks down on asylum seekers

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 - 01:12

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