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Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 05.30 GMT
Minister Morrison says Sri Lankans set to return


Sri Lankan asylum seekers coming to Australia, whether by plane, boat or through third countries, can now expect to be promptly returned home.

The immediate decision to return all 79 passengers aboard a vessel which arrived in waters near the Cocos (Keeling) Island on October 11 to Sri Lanka demonstrated the Australian government's resolve, AAP reported.

Australia's Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he's instructed his department to enforce a screen-out policy on all Sri Lankan nationals who claim asylum, regardless of how they reached Australia.

Under Labor, one in five Sri Lankan boat arrivals was being screened out and returned.

But Sri Lankans arriving in Australia through third countries weren't subject to the screen-out policy.

"Under Operation Sovereign Borders we are taking a much stronger position. We are not dealing in half measures under protest," Mr Morrison said on Friday during a weekly border protection update.

Since the new policy began on September 18, the trend in boat arrival numbers has been falling.

"While there has been a significant decline in the number of illegal arrivals by boat to Australia during this period, I want to stress that the government is drawing no conclusions," Mr Morrison said.





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Last modified: October 20, 2013.

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