PM Knew of Status of Boat, Committee Told
11 February 2003
The Prime Minister, John Howard, was told on October 23 2001, in a cable that the so-called 'SIEV-X' people smuggling boat had sunk in international waters, a Senate Committee heard yesterday.
But on the same day, three weeks before the 2001 federal election, Mr Howard told the media the boat had sunk in Indonesian waters and he never corrected or clarified the record subsequently.
Three-hundred and fifty-three passengers drowned, including 70 [sic] children.
A cable which finally provided to Labor Senator John Faulkner more than a year [sic] after he asked for it, has revealed the Government knew all along that the boat had foundered within the Indonesian maritime search and rescue area, not in Indonesian territorial waters.