Australia debates asylum bill as another boat sinks | News | DW | 27.06.2012
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Australia debates asylum bill as another boat sinks

A boat carrying asylum seekers to Australia has capsized, five people are thought to have died. Meanwhile, Australia's political actors are divided over how to deal with its steady influx of prospective immigrants.

Four people are presumed dead and 130 have been rescued after a boat carrying 135 asylum seekers to Australia capsized on Wednesday. Only one body has been recovered.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority called off the search for the remaining missing people after the catastrophe late on Wednesday, determining that there were no survivors beyond the 130 that had already been saved.

Wednesday's accident at sea follows the sinking of another vessel carrying asylum seekers in the same area nearly a week ago that left as many as 90 people missing.

A deal with Malaysia

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the national press club in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, July 15, 2010. Australia's government bolstered its economic credentials ahead of looming elections by releasing new treasury data Wednesday that showed its reversal on a promised mining tax had not diminished its budget forecasts. The latest figures are even better than the treasury's last budget outlook, released in May, which showed Australia's finances would be back in surplus in the 2012-13 fiscal year despite billions of dollars in government stimulus spending to avoid recession. The improvement, largely due to soaring prices for Australian energy and mineral exports, is expected to come despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard abandoning plans to introduce a 40 percent tax on mining companies' burgeoning profits.(AP Photo/Mark Graham)

Gillard proposes asylum vetting in Malaysia

The first asylum boat disaster last week reignited debate in Australia's parliament about how the country can deter asylum seekers from making the treacherous sea journey to the country.

On Wednesday, a bill that would allow the government to move asylum seekers to Malaysia and Nauru scraped through the country's House of Representatives by only two votes. But Australia's opposition rejects this solution; the minority Green Party has vowed to oppose the move in the Sentate on Thursday.

Australia is a common destination for boats carrying would-be asylum-seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and other impoverished or war-torn countries.

ipj, sej/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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