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Malaysia And Manus Needed As More Asylum Seekers Reach Australia
Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-15/an-aus-asylum-arrivals-reax/4313452?section=australianetworknews
Source Date: Monday, October 15, 2012
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: Australia
Created: Oct 14, 2012

Australia's Government has responded to a large number of asylum seeker arrivals over the weekend by emphasising the importance of the refugee swap deal with Malaysia.

A total of 292 asylum seekers have now been taken from Australia to Nauru.

However, six boats carrying 525 asylum seekers arrived over the weekend, which is more than a third of the planned total capacity of its detention centre on Nauru.

Australia's Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says Nauru by itself is not an effective deterrent, and insisted the government's policies will be more effective once the Malaysia agreement is implemented.

Slow progress

"There's wide awareness now of our new policies and they are being noticed, however as I've consistently said, we have a very significant challenge in that we are tackling lies and the spin of people smugglers," Mr Bowen told the ABC.

"But we've seen more people returning to Sri Lanka under these new arrangements than we have certainly previously... and that's a significant step forward."

He said the Government was discussing possible changes to the agreement with Malaysia, but has not said when the issue will be presented to parliament.

The arrivals on the weekend came amid unrest within the detention centres on Nauru and Christmas Island.

The Immigration Department says about 200 people peacefully protested inside the Nauru facilities and two Iranian men attempted self harm.

On Christmas Island, the department says a number of asylum seekers were treated for minor injuries after they were involved in incidents of self harm as part of a wider protest involving about 40 people.

Destination Manus

Meanwhile, the acting secretary of the immigration department, Martin Bowles, asylum seekers will also be sent to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea from the end of October.

The opposition Coalition says the continuing arrival of asylum seeker boats is proof that people smugglers are not taking the ruling Labor government seriously when it comes to border protection.

They estimate that 27,192 people asylum seekers have arrived by boat since the Labor party came to power in 2007.
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