Dozens of people rescued after a boat sank are being transferred to Christmas Island, amid fierce debate on the issue of asylum in the Australian parliament.
On Wednesday a bill that would allow offshore processing of asylum seekers was passed in the lower house.
This is now being debated in the upper house, but is considered unlikely to survive the vote.
Australian officials said 130 people were rescued from boat - the second to sink in the area a week.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned that this was the ''last chance'' for parliament to pass the bill before it takes a break.
"I'm prepared to say to every senator... that this is the right thing for them to do in all good conscience," she told ABC Radio.
"I don't want to see a 13-year-old girl drown at sea in the weeks between now and when this parliament comes back in the spring. I don't want to see that," she said.
At least four people are believed to have died when the boat sank north of Christmas Island, which is part of Australian territory, on Wednesday.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) that 130 people were rescued, one body was recovered and another three are believed to have gone down with the vessel.
Another asylum-seeker boat believed to have been carrying 200 people sank in the area a week ago.
That boat was believed to have been carrying about 200 people. A total of 110 people were rescued and 17 bodies were found. The search for survivors was called off late on Saturday.
On Wednesday night, another boat carrying 100 people was intercepted by Customs and Border Protection officials off Christmas Island.
Christmas Island lies off Australia's north-west coast. It is closer to Indonesia than Australia, and is targeted by asylum-seekers hoping to get to Australia.
These boats are often overloaded and poorly maintained. About 50 asylum-seekers died when their boat broke up on rocks off Christmas Island in December 2010.
The recent incidents have reignited debate over Australia's asylum seeker policy deadlock.
The new bill would reopen a detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru and allow the Australian government to send asylum-seekers to Malaysia for processing.
Under a refugee swap deal with Malaysia, Australia would send 800 asylum-seekers who arrived by boat to Malaysia and receive 4,000 refugees in return over four years.
Last year a court ruled against such a move, saying Malaysia - which has not signed UN refugee conventions - did not offer adequate protection.
The opposition is against the deal and is demanding that an immigration detention centre on Nauru be reopened.
Ms Gillard is pushing for a compromise to reopen the Nauru centre as well as go ahead with the Malaysia deal.
She wants the opposition to back a bill to allow an immigration minister to designate any country that is part of the Bali Process an offshore processing location.
The Bali Process is a regional group of more than 40 nations working together to deal issues of illegal boat arrivals and people smuggling.
Critics say such a move would provide inadequate protection for asylum-seekers' human rights.
Australia asylum arrivals 2010-12
In 2010, a total of 6,535 boat people arrived in 134 vessels
The month of October was that year's busiest - with 729 passengers arriving by sea
In 2011, a total of 4,565 passengers arrived in 69 boats
November saw most arrivals - 895 landed by sea
As of 27 June 2012, 4,662 asylum-seekers have arrived in 63 boats
To date, June has been the busiest month, with 1,269 boat people arriving
Source: Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Source: BBC News