Tony Kevin's Speech To Newcastle Meeting|
3 October 2002
Today we have the full transcript of Tony Kevin's address on the Australian People Smuggling Disruption Program delivered tonight to the Newsastle Action for Refugee Rights. In this important speech he points out the disturbing chronology of the order going out from the Prime Minister's Department to 'beef up' disruption activity and the sinking of SIEVX just one week later with the loss of 353 lives.
Another important addition to the site today is the article from Margo Kingston's web diary in which she reflects on the events of the last year since the sinking of SIEVX and acknowledges the work of Tony Kevin and of this web site in uncovering untruths told during this sorry affair.
- Australia's People Smuggling Disruption Program In Indonesia ~ Tony Kevin
Last week in the Senate, Senator John Faulkner stepped well outside any Australian politician's normal comfort zone. Over three days of adjournment debates in the Senate on September 23-25, he bravely raised what Alexander Downer termed 'disgraceful' questions, on what the Australian Federal Police might have known about the sinking of asylum-seeker boats and loss of lives.
Then on Thursday 26 September, supported by senior Labor Senators Robert Ray and Peter Cook, Faulkner mounted a fierce Question Time attack on the credibility of the Government's position. The brunt of the attack was borne by Australian Federal Police Minister, Senator Chris Ellison. Senator Robert Hill, representing the Foreign Minister, was also involved. The three Liberal Senators on the 'children overboard' Committee, Brandis, Mason and Ferguson, leaped to the Government's defence - mainly through personal attacks on me, because they had little of substance to say on the SIEVX issue beyond labelling it a 'fairy story'.
I will speak tonight on what Faulkner focussed on - the Australian Government's people smuggling disruption program in Indonesia. My co-speaker Sarah Stephen is speaking on the second layer of Australian Government 'deterrence and denial' that was instrumental in the SIEVX tragedy - the remarkable failure, by the most massive maritime air surveillance and naval interception operation Australia has ever mounted in the waters between Indonesia and Christmas Island, to detect this overloaded sinking boat and try to save the lives of those on board... [For the complete report in printer friendly format, click here]
- SIEV-X: One Year On ~ Margo Kingston
The first anniversary of the death by drowning of 353 asylum seekers on SIEV-X is nearly upon us. The boat sank on October 19. A few survivors were rescued by Indonesian fishing boats twenty hours later. We heard the news on October 23.
Who will forget the picture of three little girls dressed in white on our front pages. All dead. The government refused their father, who has a temporary protection visa as a refugee, permission to fly to Indonesia to comfort his grieving wife, a SIEV-X survivor. If he left, he couldn't come back, Howard and Ruddock said. Labor agreed.
I was so shocked by the responses of Howard and Beazley to news of the tragedy that I wrote a piece for the Herald on the death of the humanitarian instinct in Australian politics. I had no idea then that Howard had - on the evidence since prised out of the government - falsely stated that the sinking had nothing do with us because SIEV-X sank in Indonesian waters. We now know it sank in international waters well within our comprehensive surveillance zone. We now know that despite intelligence confirmation that SIEV-X - reported as small and overcrowded - was on its way, the navy took no special steps to find it...[Click here for the complete article]
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