CHRISTMAS Island detention facilities are likely to tip over official capacity today despite a charter flight taking 53 people to the mainland.
There are now 1920 people in immigration detention on Christmas Island and 120 spare beds, but interpreters and Customs are now at Flying Fish Cove preparing to receive about 140 asylum seekers from boats intercepted last month.
- Column – Boat people call for Rudd’s cabs
- Boat people resent more boats arriving
- OPPOSITION: Christmas Island now a ‘taxi service’
- Poll: Will border protection policy be a big election issue?
Official capacity is about 2040, a spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.
Most of the people who left the island on this morning’s charter have been granted visas, and the plane delivered 12 Indonesian crew to detention in Darwin in preparation for court appearances or repatriation.
Earlier today, Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison labelledÂ Christmas Island a “taxi service” after an asylum-seeker boat slipped though Australia’s border security and announced its arrival in a triple 0 call.
Paul Kelly in The Weekend Australian tomorrow argues that the lines are drawn for a bitter election year confrontation over boat people as the political ghosts of Tampa hover over the national contest. If the boats continue Australia faces another election test on refugee policy spilling into border security, humanitarian concerns and our international obligations.