Asylum seekers who come to Australia by boat could be banned entry for life

A barge carrying rescued suspected asylum seekers. Photo: Getty Images.

Asylum seekers who attempt to enter Australia by boat will be banned from the country indefinitely under legislation set to be introduced by immigration minister Peter Dutton.

As part of the conditions, all adults detained at the Manus Island or Nauru detention centres from July 19, 2013 – including those who have chosen to return home will receive the lifetime ban, however children will be exempt.

Dutton said the move would also prevent refugees from marrying Australians and entering the country on a partner visa.

“That is not acceptable. We are not going to allow arrangements that would subvert the program and the success we’ve had,” Dutton said.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says the new rule “will send the strongest possible signal to the people smugglers”.

“It will send the strongest possible signal to those who are seeking to persuade persons currently on Nauru and in Manus that the Australian government will change its policy and allow them to settle here. It is incredibly important that we send the clearest message.”

Turnbull also put pressure on Opposition leader Bill Shorten to support the legislation saying: “it is entirely consistent with his party’s stated public position.”

It refers to Labor’s own rhetoric when Kevin Rudd vowed as prime minister in July 2013, that asylum seekers would never be settled in Australia.

The legislation will be put forward when parliament meets on November 7.

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