World

Australia to stop 'undesirables' from boarding flights to country

SYDNEY Australia said yesterday it is stopping "undesirables" such as terrorists, paedophiles, organised criminals and drug smugglers from boarding flights to the country, defending its hardline immigration policy that has drawn criticism from rights groups.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that Australian Border Force airline liaison officers were operating in major transit airports to push those threats "beyond our borders".

Other countries allow people to arrive, then assess the threat but the Australian model is to bar those considered a threat.

"(Liaison officers) try to identify the threats - particularly given that we've got foreign fighters coming back through South-east Asia and all over - the idea is to stop them getting on planes," the minister told the Nine Network.

According to media, immigration officials have prevented 1,043 passengers from boarding flights to Australia since 2013.

Australia has seen the rise of nationalist, anti-immigration politics with far-right wing parties garnering support, while the popularity of the centre-right government has been languishing.

On asylum seekers arriving by boat, Australia turns back unauthorised vessels at sea to their port of origin when it can and sends those it cannot to controversial camps in the South Pacific for long-term detention.- REUTERS

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