Australian authorities have intercepted two more suspected asylum seeker boats with 175 people on board.

The first, with 107 passengers, was spotted near Cocos (Keeling) Island and the other with 65 aboard was intercepted northeast of Darwin, both on Tuesday.

The passengers will soon be transferred to Australian government facilities for security and health checks.

Under current laws, asylum seekers intercepted near the Ashmore Islands, Cartier Island, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands risk being sent to offshore processing centres, while asylum seekers who reach the Australian mainland have to be processed onshore.

The federal government is seeking to remove this legal loophole with legislation currently before the Senate. If passed, the laws will excise the Australian mainland from the migration zone.

More than 15,000 people have arrived by boat since Labor reintroduced offshore processing in August 2012.

 

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