Labor a ‘mess’ amid new boat arrivals

The location of Saibai Island in Queensland. Picture: Google Maps
The location of Saibai Island in Queensland. Picture: Google Maps

Labor is “scrambling to fix a mess of their own making” and must sack the Immigration Minister, the Coalition says, amid mounting pressures on community safety.

On Tuesday, it was revealed a group of asylum seekers had been detained while trying to illegally enter Australia on a dinghy.

The group of men, believed to be from West Africa, are being held on Saibai Island in Far North Queensland – about 4km from Papua New Guinea – after they were intercepted.

The Australian Border Force has remained tight-lipped on when the group arrived, but a spokeswoman said the agency had “well established operational processes to manage irregular movements of people in the Torres Strait”.

It’s understood the men are undergoing medical checks.

It’s the latest in a string of illegal arrivals after more than 40 asylum seekers were found roaming in remote Western Australia before they were relocated to the offshore immigration detention centre in Nauru.

The latest arrival comes as Labor fights multiple migration fires, which the opposition says is compromising community safety.

The location of Saibai Island in Queensland. Picture: Google Maps
The location of Saibai Island in Queensland. Picture: Google Maps

A senate inquiry on Tuesday recommended the parliament pass a Bill that would grant the government powers to jail non-citizens resisting deportation and block visa applications from specific countries.

Labor tried and failed to ram through legislation earlier this year that would result in non-citizens resisting deportation be jailed for between one and five years if they did not co-operate, but the legislation was sent to committee.

Under the Bill, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles could block visa applications from countries that did not accept citizens being involuntarily returned – like Iran, Iraq, and South Sudan.

While Labor senators recommended the Bill be passed, the Greens rejected the legislation in full, while the Coalition proposed 17 amendments to further strengthen the Bill.

Liberal senator Jane Hume said the Bill as it stood “could have a pull factor for more illegal boat arrivals”.

“In the context of yet another potential illegal boat arrival … Labor is scrambling to fix a mess of their own making,” she said.

“Even Home Affairs have said that potentially this Bill could have a pull factor for more illegal boat arrivals.”

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil are under pressure over community safety. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley said the latest boat arrival, paired with new revelations about a former immigration detainee who allegedly violently bashed Perth grandmother Ninette Simmons, should be a good enough reason for Mr Giles to be removed from the immigration portfolio.

“One simple thing the PM can do is remove the Immigration Minister,” she said.

“He only holds that position because of his close, personal relationship with Anthony Albanese. And I’m sorry, factional loyalties should not be first place over keeping the community safe.”

According to The Australian, Majifd Jamshidi Doukoshkan – who was among the NZYQ cohort released from immigration detention after the High Court last year ruled ongoing detention without the prospect of release was illegal – played a significant role in distributing “serious” quantities of meth across Western Australia five years after he was given refugee status.