Australia to work with Indonesia on asylum-seeker boats
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia is working "constructively" with Indonesia to stop boatloads of asylum seekers travelling by sea, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said on Saturday after another vessel sank and more than 22 drowned.
Thousands of asylum seekers have travelled by boat to Australia this year, many after a transit in Indonesia, and scores have died trying to make the journey in unseaworthy vessels over the years.
On Friday, an Australia-bound boat sank off Indonesia, leaving at least 22 Middle Eastern asylum seekers drowned and dozens missing.
Mr Cormann said the tragedy highlighted the need to stop vessels trying to reach Australia, something the government is attempting to do via a policy that will see boats turned around if safe to do so.