Italy and Malta’s refusal to let the Aquarius, the rescue boat that was carrying more than 600 refugees and migrants, land on their shores brought back memories of a similar situation in Australia 17 years ago.

The so-called "Tampa Crisis" occurred in 2001, when Australia's government refused to let a Norwegian container ship carrying rescued refugees ashore.

Since then Australia has had notoriously tough policies on refugees and asylum seekers, policies which now seem to be starting to serving as an example for other governments to copy.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Sydney.

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