Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

No Christmas on Christmas Island

On 19 October 2001, 146 children, 142 women and 65 men drowned in horrific circumstances that are fully documented and explained now at http://www.sievx.com/ although the Howard government did their very best to cover up the fact that they were well aware of the criminal coward behind the tragedy nearly two years before it happened and also covered up the fact that they were aware of everything about the vessel which came to be known as SIEVX.

Since then two wars have been started by Howard and his cronies along with Bush and Blair, all in the bogus name of the "terror", and for a short time refugees stayed closer to home to see if things might improve if Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were no longer around.

History has shown that is not the case: the violence in Iraq that we unleashed continues unabated with Christians and other minorities singled out for murder, suicide bombings, and even killing by the so-called "allies" by "accident", which of course are not really accidents.

We have now seen a few thousand Afghans (99.7% acceptance rates), Iranians escaping the crackdown and brutality since the election (acceptance rate 98.5%), Iraqis (97%), Tamils fleeing the hell that has been created since the "end" of the war (acceptance rates 89) DIAC chart 43, page 83 of annual report and again the racist cowards and ranters are out in force demanding they be drowned, shot or any other atrocity they can think of rather than see the human face of the people they trash.

It is reported that every day in Afghanistan 850 kids die of hunger and disease (310,000 per annum) even with the billions in so-called aid we have poured into the country over the past nine years. Every day 51 women die in childbirth but here we whine that men come with their kids and don't consider that these men want to save their children from the fate of their brothers, sisters and/or mothers.

We see hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans blown to bits; it is not deemed to be a tragedy, merely collateral damage in two wars that were and always will be illegal and immoral.

The reaction to the accident today is bizarre.

Andrew Bolt blames Gillard and says she has blood on her hands. Really, Andrew? The boat crashed in full view of many cameras because it was caught in the worst seas ever seen on Christmas Island.

The Australian is blaming "people smugglers", yet the crew got the passengers to Christmas Island in complete safety as have others over the years. The so-called smugglers are only destitute Indonesian crew who do the bidding of the refugees. Tom Allard in the Age is reporting that even though we promised to re-settle 500 refugees from Indonesia each year we have not done so, yet we pay to have them jailed illegally in Indonesia in hellish conditions and blame them when they dare to escape.

In fact the record shows that we accepted 17 Afghan refugees from Washington last year and two from Jakarta, no wonder they can't wait in the hellholes we provide.

This was an accident but there needs to be answers to some questions.

1. Why was the navy tracking them for two days, well aware that conditions on the island were terrible and let them proceed anyway?

2. Why did a rescue take so long?

And many others.

There is a ghost in my head tonight though - the ghost of the beautiful and tragic Amal Hassan Basry who survived the SIEVX tragedy with her son only to die of cancer in Australia.

She told Michael Gordon of the Age, "I was like a camera, I saw everything".

This time it was real cameras that saw everything and as sickened as I am by this I could clearly see it was an accident.

No-one is to blame unless we start with the mullahs in Iran who are cracking down on dissidents and Christians and the murderous thugs in Iraq and work our way down to Australia having them jailed in Indonesia and not allowing them safe passage to this country under the law.

It's not like we can pretend we care about them as we just lock them up anyway and pretend they have done something wrong, we never correct the record to shut up the ranting haters and we don't ever acknowledge the humanity of the people.

Even the US noted the cruelty and politics involved in one of the many cables released by Wiki.

We have to stop jailing refugee applicants – that is the bottom line.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Nah, they won't even release the bodies

It's quite disgraceful that after one month they have not released the bodies or the names.

Most Australians couldn't give a flying fuck.

And another dirty deal with Karzai

To return "refused" asylum seekers by force.

The last family we returned by force were almost killed.

gone but not forgotten

You know, it's amazing how deathly quiet the silence concerning this has been, post Xmass.

Folk can be very good at "forgetting", when they think it's a fair course concerning something troubling.

Fiona: Paul, the only reason apart from holiday apathy that I can imagine is the shock - the enormity - of the weather. Not just in QLD, by the way, but just about everywhere in Oz.

The double take

Fiona, no question about it!

It was just on the periphery of my consciousness for a time and it was a little like 11/9 in an unfolding sort of way, from Rockhampton onwards. Nature dwarfs humanity, even when it is only stirring in its sleep.

Nuts'n Bolts

Thought the Zabel link was a logical follow up to the issues Carlyle Moulton unpacked, as to a kind of modern "dictation test" mentality built around loosely and selectively observed sections of the immigration act and refugee accords.

Too much Sir Humphrey and nor enough heart or, given things have deteriorated, more likely just plain commonsense, it is self defeating to accomplish success on terms that will prevent your conscience from ever being clear.

"What we need now..."

What we need now are non-partisan expressions of empathy and understanding. We need our political leaders to unite, not to divide. We need a debate that goes beyond puerile slogans that imply there are simple ways to stop the boats. We need to take into account that there are an estimated 43 million displaced peoples worldwide and that we are dealing with a global problem that requires a mix of global, regional and local solutions. We need to bear in mind that this is an enduring human drama, and that desperate people will continue to embark upon the journey in years to come.

Please read this excellent article.


But while both major parties enjoy the hate they engender against innocent people and while the racist cowards are allowed free rein to rant because the two major parties are cowards nothing will change.

After all, the first and only reaction has been to sympathise with the Christmas Island people and put the refugee survivors in the slammer for months.

Plenty of blame to go around.

I never thought I would find myself agreeing with anything said by Andrew Bolt, but in blaming Gillard for the tragedy at Christmas Island he is at least partly right. Gillard, Abbott and other Australian politicians who choose to use boat refugees as a wedge issue or choose not to effectively oppose this use by others are higher in the chain of blame than the people smugglers who crewed the sunken boat though of course not as high as the warlords of Iraq and Afghanistan who prompted the boat passengers to flee in the first place, or the mega warlords like Bush, Cheney, Blair and Howard who invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to prolong the refugee generating chaos.

Fact:- Refugees flee tyrannical governments.

Fact:- Refugees migrate to countries that have signed the 1951 UN convention on refugees and do not choose to stay in countries like Indonesia that have not.

Fact:- The 1951 UN convention on refugees allows claimants of refugee status to arrive at the border of a signatory country and claim asylum.

Fact:- The UN convention does not require that refugees have visas for the signatory country.

Fact:- A person who arrives at the border without a visa in Australia is called an "unlawful immigrant" and this terminology is unfortunate but this does not mean the same as "illegal immigrant". An unlawful migrant who is a refugee is NOT doing anything wrong.

Fact:- A country that is a signatory to the UN refugee convention has accepted the obligation to take all genuine refugees that arrive at the border, they cannot vet them for good character or limit the numbers allowed each year to a number deemed acceptable by existing citizens.

Fact:- When refugees move they often do so in large numbers and it is not unreasonable for the citizens of destination countries to say that there are limits to the numbers that they should allow in based on fears of being swamped. Anyone who doubts this, go to an Australian country town, visit the refugee camp of the descendants of unlawful migrants who arrived 40,0000 years ago on the outskirts of town and ask them about 1788, or visit Gaza and ask the Palestinians about the Jewish refugees who arrived in the 20th century and whose descendants are bombing them from F16s.

Opinion:- It is my opinion that the rate of arrival of refugees in Australia has not reached a rate that threatens the hegemony of the Anglo-Celtic culture.

Fact:- There are many vocal persons in Australia who do find the current rate of refugee arrival unacceptable and there are politicians who pander to them and other politicians who lack the courage to argue the opposite.

Fact:-The rate at which refugees want to migrate to Australia makes a significant proportion of Australians nervous.

Fact:- There are three ways refugees can reach Australia's borders:-

1/ By aircraft;

2/ By boat;

3/ By swimming.

Fact:- One cannot board an international flight to Australia without a passport and a visa.

Question:- Does Australia give visas to people specifically for the purpose of claiming refugee status or to people without passports and if so in any numbers that apply?

Thought. If Australia does not allow immigration by air by refugee claimants who can afford the fare and if it can prevent travel of unlawful migrants to Australia by boat hen it can achieve the contradictory goals of limiting the number of arrivals to what the denizens of talk back radio land will accept while maintaining the pretence that it is meeting its self-accepted obligations under the UN convention on refugees.


The thought in the previous paragraph identifies the root cause of all the political obfuscation that is going on in Australia about refugees arriving by boat. Some people including politicians fear that refugees want to arrive in excessive numbers, some politicians and commentators are exploiting these fears as a wedge issue and some other politicians and commentators are refusing to raise the obvious counter arguments for fear of losing political capital. I will refrain from suggesting which politicians and commentators fit into which categories.

Let's consider what would happen if a group of refugees in Indonesia without Australian visas tried to charter an aeroplane and that aeroplane attempted to ferry them to Australia.

Would the aeroplane be allowed to take off in Indonesia?

Would the aeroplane be allowed to land in Australia?

If the aeroplane did land in Australia would Australia confiscate it and would Australia burn it as it does the boats of the poor fisherman/people smugglers who currently provide the only means by which visaless people can reach the Australian border to claim refugee status?

The definition of arrival of refugees by boat as a problem that has to be solved by application of the criminal law is the core of Australia's hypocrisy. Australia could do the honest thing and withdraw from the UN convention on refugees on the basis of need to limit the number to protect its borders, but it does not want to do this, yet it wants to limit the numbers because too many of the people arriving by boat are genuine refugees.

People smugglers are doing nothing wrong beyond using unseaworthy boats and overloading them, but if you know that your boat is going to be confiscated and burned when it reaches Australia why would you use a valuable seaworthy boat and why limit the number of paying customers to a safe number?

Yes Julia Gillard is more to blame for the tragedy at Christmas Island than the poor people smugglers crewing the boat and those that organized the trip, because she refuses to allow refugees without false travel documents (ie. visas for Australia for some reason other than claiming refugee status, like business or tourism) to board safe airworthy unoverloaded aircraft bound for Australia.

Julia Gillard has raised the idea of an offshore refugee processing centre in Indonesia, but I suspect that she does not mean in her plans for the centre that genuine refugees arriving at it would be allowed into Australia at the same rate at which they arrive, but if the centre does not allow for this possibility it will not lessen the incentive for genuine refugees to board leaky unseaworthy overloaded boats and risk the rocks of Christmas Island.

Well stated

When the department's own figures show that 99.7% of Afghans are accepted as refugees even under the illegal scheme it shows what liars the media and pollies are who pander to the lying media.I couldn't even get anyone in the media to publish this.




(80) Program 2.1: Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance

Senator Fierravanti-Wells asked:

In relation to the number of places allocated to non-UNHCR-registered asylum seekers, please provide a breakdown including:

a. the number of places allocated to unauthorised arrivals by boat;

b. the number of places allocated to unauthorised arrivals by air;

c. the number of places allocated to persons who had arrived on a valid visa and then sought asylum;

d. the number of places allocated to over-stayers who subsequently claimed asylum.


Allocations, targets, or limits are not made in relation to Protection visas for asylum seekers. If all the criteria for a Protection visa are met, the visa will be granted and no distinction within the Program is made regarding the lawful status or arrival means of the applicant.

Visas granted to asylum seekers in Australia are counted towards the Special Humanitarian component of the Humanitarian Program. In 2008–09, 2497 humanitarian visas were granted to persons in Australia which were counted toward the overall humanitarian program outcome of 13 507 visas.

Santa comes to town.


Re the two linchpin questions near the end of Marilyn's post, some of the

"You'd better not shout,
Better not cry
cos...." ,


second try

Now, how did this get buggered up?

Half the post is missing!

The two questions Shepherd was asking and the the curious responses from various politicins and "experts" on teev last night

Same hymn book, different hymn books or just different editions.

No, you can't be quite satisfied with the responses.

What's it all about?

Fiona: Thank you for the clarification, Paul.

lays down cloak in mud, for delicate feet..

For you, my lady, anything...

As to the incident, I think it's very quickly being swept under the rug, or hidden under Santa's belt, or  tucked under his  flak jacket; whatever.

Must be patient, as to what details trickle down, as to info. The press is no help either, a lot of the time. The Bolt thing was despicable.

Delicacy, and other matters

Paul, thank you for being so gallant. My feet, however, are not so delicate, even if the weather so far has not been sufficiently conducive to let me toughen them up. (That is, as I used to say when I was very young, I haven't been able to wear bare feet much this spring/summer).

What's more, in the few weeks that I spent on Christmas Island in 1985 and 1986, I was only ever brave enough to be barefooted indoors – the crabs are quite intimidating. Though I must admit that one of the funniest moments of my life was watching my mother – after she had been teasing a "little nipper" crab unmercifully (quite unlike her...) – having to run away very quickly to avoid being nipped around the toes, ankles, and anything else within reach.

But – Christmas Island – what a perversion of a beautiful, solitary place. Perverted first by the thankfully-failed notion of a casino, and then by the Howardistas' prison.

Christmas Island, pace Marr, is not all that "gloomy". Au contraire, unless the weather is bad it is truly idyllic, and one of the few places on earth these days when one can experience silence. For example, the silent beauty of watching a bosun bird drifting above the ocean, its tail streaming out in the wind.

It is, however, inhospitable. There are (from my recollection) only three or four true beaches – and all very small. Apart from that, there is Flying Fish Cove, which is the only possible anchorage, and impossible in a big swell. The cliffs are horrific, and those bits of the coast that aren't sheer cliffs are dragons' teeth of igneous rock – superb ribbon-makers. (Maybe that's where JWH formulated his notion of human shredders....)

It is in my opinion one of the least appropriate places in the world to house a prison place of detention for asylum-seekers. (Nauru, Easter Island, and Antarctica would have to be the only better choices.) High time that we went back to Fraser's program of "processing" (ugh) refugees from camps in SE Asia, and flying them to Oz. But that would require bipartisanship, and perhaps a little more Christianity than the likes of Abbott, Andrews, Bernadi, Cormann, Bishop, Morrison, Old Uncle Tom Cobbley and all are capable of.

Oh, I almost forgot – dear, dear Erica Abetz.

And high time that Julia Gillard remembered the compassion that should be inherent in her (humanistic) atheism.


That's amazing.

I was just walking home from the soccer (bloody cold for December!!) wondering whether Abbott's supposedly deep Christianity presented him with any problems re the Xmass Island horror. How do Christian politicians deal with the conflict between their faith and cabinet solidarity and discretion, with issues like this?

Beatitudes and that sort of stuff. Y'know, Suffer the little children, or blessed are the humble and merciful, or look after the poor, the widows, homeless and so on.

Or maybe the good Samaritan story?

I think I mentioned in the other post, the other thing last night that struck me was the confused waffle coming from politicians, "experts" and the like, as to this episode. The papers suggested there was no anomaly, but really, two days out there and they didn’t know?

What about all the much-vaunted "eye in the sky" technology that is supposed to able to identify which clue you're attempting as you do your crossword puzzle with a cuppa in the morning sunshine?

And yes, Gillard and co have hardly been inspiring this week, either. Like Kristina Kenneally, surreptitious and devious and that's being kind.

To you Fiona, I'll wish you and yours a happy Xmass now, if am not in touch sooner. And to my other WD friends, may it be a fulfilling time for you, also.

Do not tell me that they did not know

bay class ships, range 1000 nm (1800 km), 20 knots.

98 m trimaran armed.

Ashmore Guardian at Ashmore Reef - 35 m 339 tonne vessel

7 navy armidale class

other navy on call.

PC3 orion

10 fixed wing aircraft with radar, infra red and ASMA on call.

Northern command - Darwin,


91 Feds operating against the law in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - this perverts the rule of non-refoulement and prevents people seeking asylum.

4 AFP and three other cops on Christmas Island.

All this waste of resources against innocent human beings who have not committed a single offence in any country.

The facts maam

Marilyn, you say "No one is to blame" and in the same breath ask "Why was the navy tracking them for two days well aware that conditions on the island were terrible and let them proceed anyway?"

It sure sounds as though you are blaming the navy.

I am sure you are aware that Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, speaking from Christmas Island today, has confirmed the asylum boat was not being tracked.

You forgot to mention that bit, but then again that would have spoiled your little rant.

They said SIEVX wasn't tracked as well

If you want to believe the lying cowards in our government Alan you go right ahead but I don't believe a word they say.

Every boat is watched as it leaves Indonesia and tracked from Darwin all the way.

Now how do you think they managed to rescue people 700 km from Cocos Island unless they were tracking people?

Bolt is dreaming of a white xmass, too

"...ranting haters...".

Yes, I was appalled at some of the callous responses at tabloid media concerning this disaster on a huge scale. I can't think of anyone I'd hate so much as to wish  a death upon them, like the one suffered by fifty or sixty people just now at Xmass Island.

That some people actually celebrate it is to me a frightening sign of our own deterioration as a civilisation; the level of ignorance built up through dumbing down by politicans and media.

Surely the amount of ignorant people about, starting with Andrew Bolt, is disturbing evidence of dumbing down and society's consequent attendant inability therefore to work out the actual meaning of  real world situations, or function to inform or heal itself.

The event itself, and some of the responses, demonstrate how much Australians and civil society have been coshed over the last twenty years; this sort of thing ought to be history by now.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 5 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago