Anthony Albanese deports his first asylum seekers since taking office as boatload of Sri Lankans are sent back after their boat was intercepted in Australian waters
- Boat load of asylum seekers was brought ashore overnight on Christmas Island
- They were immediately deported back to Sri Lankan on a chartered flight
- Locals said 45 people including government officials were on flight to Colombo
A boat load of Sri Lankan asylum seekers has been intercepted and kicked out of the country in the first test of new Labor government policy.
Locals on Christmas Island said they spotted the asylum-seekers escorted onto the island by Australian Border Force officers early on Thursday morning.
Residents said they were then immediately transferred to a specially chartered Skytraders flight from the Indian Ocean island to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
A boat load of Sri Lankan asylum seekers has been intercepted by Australian Border Force and kicked out of the country in the first test of new Labor government policy (stock image)
There were 45 people, including government officials, on board for the six-hour flight, which left around 2am local time, The Australian reported.
The Home Affairs Department referred all inquiries on the interception and deportation to the ABF.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABF for comment.
It follows the arrival of an earlier boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers on election day last month, which was turned back by the ABF.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles confirmed after the election the Labor government would continue the Coalition policy of boat turnbacks.
‘They have been returned to Sri Lanka. And that has happened in a very ordinary and routine way,’ he said two days after Labor claimed election victory last month.
‘I think it’s important to say upfront that what this shows is that there is absolutely no change in terms of Australia’s border settings under this government.
‘We will maintain a strong border, which is the right thing to do in terms of protecting lives at sea.’
Residents say they were then immediately transferred to a specially-chartered Skytraders flight from the Indian Ocean island to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo (stock image)
Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Karen Andrews claimed the boat arrival proved the Coalition was right in predicting more attempts under Labor.
‘I have consistently said people smugglers are watching. And they clearly are,’ she told The Australian.
‘This is exactly what the Coalition said would happen and it is happening.
‘The Albanese Government needs to urgently explain how it is going to manage illegal boat arrivals and ensure people smugglers aren’t selling passage because of the change in government.’