Australia's PM-elect faces early asylum-seeker test
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott faced an early test on Monday over the divisive issue of asylum-seekers, with the first people-smuggling boats arriving on his watch and diplomatic pressure from Papua New Guinea.
Mr Abbott, elected as Australia's next leader on Saturday, put a pledge to "Stop the Boats" at the centre of his campaign, vowing a crackdown on asylum-seekers arriving by sea.
In an early test of his promises, the first boat on his watch, carrying 88 passengers, was intercepted off Australia's coast overnight and taken to the remote Christmas Island processing centre.
A second vessel carrying 57 passengers, including two foreign journalists reportedly working for the US media, was escorted to Christmas Island later on Monday after being intercepted by the navy.