Australia returns 6 rejected asylum seekers to Sri Lanka

An official says six asylum seekers who attempted to reach Australia by boat have been sent home to Sri Lanka in a demonstration that tough border enforcement measures have not softened since recent Australian elections.

Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement Wednesday that a tip from the Sri Lankan government alerted Australian authorities about the boat. He says the six were sent back to Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Asylum seekers were an issue in the elections in July. The government had warned that if the opposition had won, the new administration would soften border measures, which have been criticized by Indonesia and rights groups.

The Sri Lankans are the first known attempt by asylum seekers to reach Australia by boat since the July 2 poll.