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* Australian Prime Minister says focused on stopping boats to prevent deaths at sea
Tue, Jul 8, 2014, 12:14 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 08, Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today defended his government's decision to turn the Sri Lankan asylum seekers back at mid sea without processing them on land.

In a radio interview with Sunrise, Seven Network, the Prime Minister said he is focused on stopping the boats of illegal migrants coming to the country's shores.

"What I'm focused on is stopping the boats. That is what we are absolutely and constantly focused on because as long as the boats keep coming, we will keep having deaths at sea," Mr. Abbott said when asked about the injunction by the court to halt the returns.

He said the "most decent, humane and compassionate thing you can do is to stop the boats."

"I do want to assure everyone that what we do on the water is consistent with our legal obligations and consistent with safety at sea."

The Prime Minister criticized the Labor Party and its activists, the Greens and their activists, for trying to disrupt the Government's policies.

"We are stopping the boats. It's important that we keep the boats stopped because as long as the boats keep coming, people will keep drowning and that's the last thing anyone should want," he said reiterating Australia's policy.

The Prime Minister declined to comment on the group of 153 asylum seekers, who got a reprieve from the court order.

He said any commentary by government members about operational matters just gives aid and comfort to the people smugglers.

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