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Zahra (6), Fatima (7) and Eman (9) - the daughters of Sondos Ismail and Ahmed Alzalimi -  three of the 146 children who lost their lives when the vessel that has become known as SIEVX foundered in international waters en route to Christmas Island on 19 October 2001.
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Why Haven't You Updated Your Website Minister?

by Marg Hutton
19 July 2002

Almost two years to the day before SIEVX foundered and sank in international waters en route to Australia, Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, launched an overseas information campaign aimed at deterring illegal immigrants from entering Australia.

The slogan for the campaign was sharp and to the point - 'Pay a people smuggler and you'll pay the price'.

The campaign was even allocated its own page on the DIMIA website and updated regularly.

Visitors to the site were provided with graphic and frightening information about 'what happens to boat people':

It is a dangerous and futile journey

Boat people often pay huge sums of money to people smugglers and then spend months on a dilapidated, unseaworthy boat with little or no water or food, no bed and no toilet.

Sometimes they die.

  • A boat person drowned when 53 Chinese tried to swim to shore after their boat hit a reef near Coburg Peninsular in the Northern Territory
  • 15 illegal entrants were lost at sea when their boat sank near Christmas Island.
  • 6 were lost in mangroves on Christmas Island for up to 48 hours with no food or water, before being found.
  • 56 were lost in the Australian outback for 10 days without food and water after their boat ran aground on a deserted part of Australia's north-west coastline.
  • 78 landed in crocodile infested country in northern Australia without food or water.
This page was regularly updated for almost two years but it hasn't been touched since 11 August last year. We are curious to know why the Minister has chosen not to update this page with the details of the SIEVX disaster given that it is such a perfect fit with this campaign. We would be interested to hear how he would utilise the deaths of 353 people to further protect our borders.

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