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Beginning of a new wave of boat arrivals, with about 300 people arriving by boat each year, mostly from Cambodia, Vietnam and Southern China.
NEW BOAT ARRIVALS
The Labor Government of Paul Keating introduces mandatory detention for all people arriving without a valid visa.
More asylum seekers begin to arrive, predominantly from the Middle East. The numbers are larger than before. Woomera Detention centre in South Australia opened.
WOOMERA DETENTION CENTRE
August: John Howard's Government denies permission for the Norwegian vessel the MV Tampa to enter Australian waters after it rescued 438 mainly Afghan refugees from a stranded boat off Christmas Island.
It leads to what becomes known as the 'Pacific Solution', where outlying territories of Australia such as Christmas Island are excised from the migration zone. This means asylum seeker arrivals there cannot automatically apply for an Australian visa. Asylum seekers sent to detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea while their refugee status was decided.
7th October: the ‘Children Overboard’ affair. Asylum seekers were wrongly reported as having thrown children overboard from their boat. The Government released photos of children in the water to support the claim. It was more than 4 weeks before the report was publicly corrected and it was acknowledged that the photos had been misused.
The Labor Government closes the centres at Manus Island and Nauru. Asylum seekers arriving by boat to be processed at Christmas Island.
Over 100 boats carrying more than 5,000 refugees, mostly from Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, arrive in Australia. Julia Gillard’s Labor Government reopens the asylum seeker processing centres at Manus Island in PNG and Nauru.
May: Australian mainland excised from Australia’s migration zone.
July: the Labor Government announces that any asylum seeker who came to Australia by boat without a visa would be refused settlement in Australia, and would instead be settled in Papua New Guinea.
September: Tony Abbott’s Government continues Kevin Rudd’s policy of refusing settlement in Australia. The Government introduces Operation Sovereign Borders with the aim of ‘stopping the boats’.
OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS
The Coalition Government reaches agreement with Cambodia for resettlement of refugees.
Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Berati, killed in the Manus Island detention centre.
Australian Human Rights Commission report, The Forgotten Children, the Report of the National Inquiry into Children in Detention released by the Australian government on 11th February.