How Australia combated people smuggling
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CANBERRA: Australia's battle against the boats - how it unfolded.
* More than 50,000 asylum seekers arrived by boat in Australian waters between 2008 and 2013.
* During the peak of 2013, over 20,000 arrived
* Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Pakistan were among the source countries asylum seekers trying to reach Australia, whose population is about 24 million
* Kevin Rudd banned refugees who arrived by boat from being resettled in Australia shortly after he seized the prime ministership from Julia Gillard in July 2013
* Rudd struck deals with the Papua New Guinea and Nauru governments to resettle refugees there after processing at immigration detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru
* With a change in government in Australia in September 2013, newly elected prime minister Tony Abbott introduced "Operation Sovereign Borders" - a military-led response
* Key planks of the policy included:
1. Secrecy about operations at sea involving boats with asylum seekers
2. Boat turn backs to transit and source countries "when safe to do so"
3. Reintroduction of three-year temporary protection visas for refugees
4. Capacity expansion at overseas immigration detention centres
* In 2014, there was only one boat and 160 people trying to reach Australia by boat detected
* Since then, there have been zero boat arrivals
* The sole boat detected in 2014 involved a month-long stand-off at sea with Sri Lankan asylum seekers detained on an Australian Customs vessel
* Australia's High Court was asked to consider whether this was lawful and a 4-3 majority ruled it was
* The court in 2016 also threw out a challenge to Australia's policy of detaining asylum seekers on Nauru.