16 Nov 2013

Asylum seeker baby incident regretted by PM

8:56 am on 16 November 2013

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he regrets an asylum seeker was given limited access to her sick baby, but it happened because she tried to come to Australia illegally.

Latifa, a Rohingyan woman from Myanmar, gave birth in a hospital in Brisbane last week but was returned to a detention centre while the baby remained in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The ABC reports Latifa was allowed to visit her baby at the hospital between 10am - 4pm.

Mr Abbott in Colombo that said he deeply regrets that she was separated from her child.

But he said he won't apologise for what happens when people come to Australia illegally by boat.

''We've got to ask ourselves, why have any of these things happened?" he said at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

"They've happened because people have come to Australia illegally by boat and if you want to avoid these things, you've got to stop the boats.

The baby was discharged from hospital on Thursday.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday he has asked the Immigration Department to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, three more boats of asylum seekers have arrived in Australian waters.

General Angus Campbell said on Friday they were carrying a total of 163 asylum seekers and eight crew.

The ABC reports two boats arrived at Christmas Island, one on Sunday and one on Monday. Another boat arrived in Darwin on Monday.