Govt 'dragging its feet': Morrison

OPPOSITION immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has used the arrival of two more boats carrying 146 asylum seekers to ramp up his attack on the Federal Government.

Mr Morrison delighted in pointing out 27 boats carrying more than 1500 asylum seekers had arrived since the Federal Parliament passed legislation paving the way for offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island.

He accused the government of dragging its feet on setting up a detention centre on Nauru.

"It took the Howard government just 19 days to get Nauru up and running. During that time 542 people turned up on three boats, and they all went to Nauru," Mr Morrison said.

"The number of those to have arrived to date means it will be impossible that all those who turn up before Nauru is open will be sent there."

HMAS Launceston came to the rescue of a boat north-east of Ashmore Island on Wednesday afternoon. The boat was carrying 80 people.

The second vessel, which had 66 passengers, was rescued by HMAS Childers and HMAS Maitland north-west of Christmas Island on Wednesday night.

All passengers were taken to Christmas Island for security checks.

A Federal Government release containing details about the latest arrivals again carried the warning that people without a visa arriving in Australia by boat after August 13 ran the "risk" of being returned to a regional processing country.

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