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Govt must review interception protocols after Cocos Island tragedy

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Govt Must Review Interception Protocols After Cocos Island Tragedy Published on Sarah Hanson-Young (

Govt Must Review Interception Protocols After Cocos Island Tragedy

The Australian Greens have called on the Federal Government to review its protocols for monitoring and intercepting boat arrivals after the reported drowning of five asylum-seekers off the Cocos Islands, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens Spokesperson on Immigration and Human Rights, says the deaths are a tragedy.

"It is desperately sad that these vulnerable people have lost their lives, reportedly after swimming for help,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"This news again raises the issue of Australia's practices and protocols when a boat is sighted, and the Greens believe the Government must investigate the handling of this incident to identify whether anything could have been done to prevent this tragedy.

"Customs knew of this boat as early as April 30 and were told the boat had run out of food, fuel and water. We also know that many of the boats that make this journey are unseaworthy - this boat had more than 60 people on board.

"An investigation into the incident must consider whether it was possible for Customs officials to pick these people up?

"We need a public investigation of the monitoring and interception protocols and a move to a more pro-active policy rather than a wait-and-see approach.''

Senator Hanson-Young also condemned the Liberal Party's latest ad, which features a call to deal with "illegal immigration", with red arrows pointing to Australia from nations which are the main sources of asylum-seeker applications in Australia.

"This ad is appalling - it's false, it relies on fearmongering and does nothing to advance the discussion on how we deal with vulnerable asylum-seekers,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"The Liberals must pull this ad immediately.

"The question is, however, Is Tony Abbott now proposing a Coalition policy that Australia abandons its international obligations and refuses to allow asylum-seekers or refugees into the country? If he is, then he has to be upfront with the Australian people.

"I am calling on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Advertising Standards Board to investigate this ad and the broadcasters who allowed it to go to air.''

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