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Your reaction to the Australia asylum boat disaster

Sarah Holmes Sarah Holmes | 09:32 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Map showing location of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean

At least 27 people have died after a boat carrying asylum seekers crashed into rocks off the coast of Australia's Christmas Island.

Local people said they first knew what was happening when they heard the screams of those who had been thrown into the water. One eye witness told Australia's ABC radio what it was like.

People were running round with life jackets, trying to compile as many life jackets as we could. But it was pointless, because the wind would just blow them back in your face. I've only just realised that the boat's broken up and people are in the water. I saw children on that boat. I saw children screaming... Screaming. And I can hear children, screaming.

While rescuers are still working to help those involved the blame game has already started. Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says the Australian authorities knew that the boat was headed for Christmas Island so could have prevented this accident.

Some are questioning Australia's immigration policy. This blogger goes as far as to say Julia Gillard should resign over it.

Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for Refugee Action Coalition, also pointed the finger at the Australian government.

The blame lies with the Australian Government. If the Australian Government was willing to properly process asylum seekers in Indonesia and resettle successful refugees in Australia, then far fewer people would get on boats to travel to Australia.

Australia has seen an increase this year in the number of immigrants trying to reach its shores by boat, but does this disaster show that Australia needs to re-examine its immigration policy? If so, is there a better alternative?

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