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Suspected asylum seekers bound for Christmas Island

[ABC, Tuesday, 16 December 2008 10:17 No Comment]

The Federal Government says a group of suspected asylum seekers, who were picked up in waters off the Northern Territory this morning, are expected to arrive on Christmas Island in three days.

The Government says the group of 37 are probably from Afghanistan, Iraq or Sri Lanka.

They were travelling on a boat which was intercepted by the Australian Navy 200 kilometres north-east of Darwin this morning.

The Government says it does not believe any children were onboard.

It is the seventh such boat to be picked up since September.

Opposition immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone says the spike is a result of the abolition of temporary protection visas.

"It was pretty much an open invitation, ‘come on down’," she said.

But the Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus says that is not the case.

[Full Coverage]

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