Tony Abbott: People smuggler?

I haven’t touched this story so far but given it is now an international scandal I had better. From the FT:

Australia has come under pressure to clarify whether its navy paid the crew of a boat full of asylum seekers to persuade them to turn back to Indonesia, as part of its hardline anti-immigration policy.

Tony Abbott, prime minister, on Friday refused to confirm or deny local media reports alleging that an Australian official paid up to A$30,000 (US$23,000) to the captain and crew of an intercepted asylum boat.

“What we do is stop the boats by hook or by crook, because that’s what we’ve got to do and that’s what we’ve successfully done,” Mr Abbott told Melbourne’s Radio 3AW.

Under repeated questioning, Mr Abbott refused to confirm or deny the claims, but said that Australians were using “incredibly creative” means to stop the boats and his government would do whatever it took to stop “this evil trade”.

Jakarta is investigating the claims, which were made by the Indonesia’s police chief on the island of Rote, where the captain and crew of the boat carrying 65 asylum seekers were detained.

“They were then told to take two smaller boats and turn back into Indonesia after the money changed hands,” the island’s police chief Hidayat told the AFP news agency.

“I saw the money with my own eyes. This is the first time I’d heard Australian authorities making payments to boat crew,” he added.

Asylum seekers on the boat, which made landfall in Rote in late May, have made similar claims to Australian media.

And CNN:

The boat — carrying 65 migrants from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar — was intercepted by the Indonesian navy after turning back on May 31, the UNHCR said.

The migrants were transferred to an Indonesian customs vessel for four days before being sent on two boats to Indonesia, the UNHCR added, after speaking to some of the passengers.

Australia did not deny the payment and Prime Minister Tony Abbott went on the defensive Friday when asked about the claim. Abbott refused to “comment on operational matters.”

And Fairfax:

Indonesia’s foreign minister has asked the Australian government to explain claims it paid people smugglers to return 65 asylum seekers to Indonesian waters, as a  local police chief  insists the payment occurred.

Fairfax Media is aware of the contents of a detailed official report submitted to the Indonesian National Police in Jakarta, who are now also investigating the incident, and has seen photographs of stacks of $US100 bills allegedly paid to the boat crew.

If this proves to be true it destroys the “stop the boats” policy. Paying people smugglers tax-payer’s money to turn back is people smuggling. It encourages them to keep coming for more money as they get paid for both legs of the ‘wait and return’ job. It is morally, legally, practically, strategically and politically indefensible. From The Australian:

Professor of international law at the Australian National University, Don Rothwell, says if proven the activity could be tantamount to people smuggling under current regional protocols.

“People smuggling is defined with the protocol and to that end the provision of moneys to people who are engaged in people-smuggling activities to take persons from a place on the high seas to another place, such as Indonesia, is clearly a people smuggling-type activity,” he told the ABC.

Barely a day passes without the craziness of this Government spawning a new scandal. We currently have revolution brewing around superannuation reform and housing affordability, the High Court has killed citizenship stripping of terror suspects, gay marriage is simmering without redress, the first year Budget and reform are paralysed, the TPP is deeply troubled, iron ore is unresolved, international legal action against Australian people smuggling looms and ahead is carbon mitigation going into Paris, all swirling around the Government in a deepening maelstrom.

There is no apparent philosophy, vision, policy compass or unity of purpose, there is no political brand or economic narrative, no reason, no process, no planning and no political judgement.

This is government by complete fruit loops.

Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


    • And wholly acceptable, it seems, by the electorate.
      Who are also, perhaps, unprincipled?
      Else, why would ‘Barefaced’ think it a reasonable thing to defend?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        And wholly acceptable, it seems, by the electorate.

        The electorate is suffering from 15 years of co-ordinated government and media misinformation and demonisation of refugees designed to deflect real and justified concern about high – legal – immigration rates.

      • The electorate is suffering from 15 years of co-ordinated government and media misinformation and demonisation of refugees designed to deflect real and justified concern about high – legal – immigration rates. Yeh, I to am pretty sure that is a significant part of the picture here drsmithy.

      • Unfortunately I agree. Somehow Australians have collectiively become so foolish that they’ve stopped appreciating rule of law and transparency in government…

        The lack of these things is what really makes a banana republic; not a broken economy. While rule of law and transparency are in place, even the most broken economy can be fixed. Once they’re gone, you’re probably in for decades/centuries of misrule.

        Perhaps I’m wearing rose coloured glasses, and the 80s and 90’s were an abberation in Australia’s history (as far as the Federal government is concerned). Perhaps the future of the nation looks like Queensland in the 70’s.

      • Actually, the government of the day is merely a reflection of what 227 years of white colonisation has brought to the land of the dreamtime. With the latest wave of intending colonists likely to be a bit smarter IQ wise than the average Strayan I wouldn’t be surprised if the indigenes up Arnhem Land way are having a quiet snigger or two into their didgeridoos. As the Murcan saying goes: what goes around comes around.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        The blackfellas have a sense of humour. Back when our Tony was at his worst hyping up the hate against asylum seekers and the F $^^& off we’re full movement, one off the community groups quietly printed out a tshirt that said “Fuck off, we were full 230 years ago!”

        Wish I could get another one. That really used to rile the rednecks.

      • Mining Bogan. It would be a trivial exercise to reprint these with most/all profits going to a charity.
        I have a wholesale account at an ethical tshirt mfr, and screen printing access.


    • drsmithyMEMBER

      The only thing rolling will be Julie Bishop’s eyes that yet another Abbot brain fart has made it into the spotlight.

  1. As long as we never forget that the political alternative is only skin deep different… by a design.

  2. So they are breaking the people smugglers business model by paying a bribe to the people smugglers???

    We are way beyond Banana Republic now.

    • It will be interesting to see what will happen if Tony Abbott simply continues to answer “Look, the important thing is that we stopped the boats” to this question. Since there is now zero transparency, what is everyone going to do? Nothing, that’s what. There is simply no way of finding out short of leakers and whistleblowers. Such leakers and whistleblowers will go to prison if they leak the truth about this. From a Guardian article in January:

      “A spokeswoman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said: “Any unauthorised disclosure of information is an offence, the portfolio will continue to refer any matters to relevant agencies for consideration and investigation.””

      Welcome to the new Australia folks. You collectively voted for it, and now you’re going to get it. Just wait until this delightful little security apparatus turns its eye inwards, as it inevitably will.

      Ha ha ha!

      • truthisfashionable

        Don’t worry, I heard that the Auditor General is on the case… Just like the FIRB we should have complete faith in this office to do their job. /s

        I have come to realise the only government department I trust to do their job effectively is the ATO

  3. I want the truth!

    You can’t handle the truth!

    Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.

    • Well put Escobar.
      2 words summing up Abbott and this government…’grotesque and incomprehensible’…………

    • It was a great speech but it did not save Colonel Nathan R. Jessup. Don’t be despondent and instead take the longer view; remember what happened in the Nuremberg trials. It’s probably only one Government and a royal commission away.

      • Mark HeydonMEMBER

        I thought when Howard was booted the AWB scandal would get fully investigated in a Royal Commission, but it never came. Politicians of all stripes close ranks to protect themselves.
        There will be no sanctions against Abbott for paying people smugglers. I am not hopeful that the truth will even come out.

      • Mark, good point. I had forgotten about the AWB scandal. You probably could add the phantom WMD and the bribes paid to get orders for plastic bank notes to the list. But one thing that has changed since the end of the Howard era is that our politics has become even more tribal and it is conceivable that a Labor government could institute a range of RCs as “pay-back” for the ones that Tony et al have inflicted on the opposition and its supporters.

      • @mark
        Abbott blew that pact out of the water when he ordered a royal commission into the insulation scheme. Expect labor to return the favor.

      • truthisfashionable

        @Lath – I want to believe that Labor would start some RC’s but as we are seeing in Victoria, they just don’t have the nerve to do it. Its a disgrace and is why a new political party really could get up in this current environment. Especially if they use social media correctly to diffuse the poison of the current establishment.

  4. Hill Billy 55MEMBER

    We pay people smugglers, we take laundered (corrupt) money to prop up the housing prices. When I say we, I refer to the government that the collective ‘we’ elected. No wonder I’m leaving!!!!!

  5. This is the sort of stuff that should bring down a govt, instead we’ll edge closer to neo-fascist diktats and angry stare-downs.

    • adelaide_economist

      True. Even when you think things can’t get worse, they do on a daily basis.

      The supreme irony of this is the way Abbott presented himself as a defender of democracy prior to the last election. Nevermind judicial comments on the use of the Ashby/Slipper affair to try and basically destroy a government which went over people’s heads. All we’ve seen since is a total subversion of Westminster norms in behaviour and actions by a government that has the nerve to then pay homage to ‘traditional’ values.

    • What is Labor doing?

      This is the most amazing opportunity for them to slay the Libs with their own sword.

  6. There is clear precedent about whose heads will roll. When we sent our Navy out to aggressively patrol the very edges of our Reich, we then turned around and punished 7 Senior Commanders for their infringement. 7 careers of good public service leaders doing as they were told – up in smoke. We will find someone to blame where we were shocked, absolutely shocked! Next we turn against any media publishing in Australia information published overseas. Australians have no right to know about operational matters. Our saviours will be returned in a narrow victory, have no fear. Even an economic downturn will see them back in because they will give us TPP to save Australia. Think this is cynical? You just wait and see.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Sad, isn’t it? A society destroyed to fit the egos of a few who in reality aren’t fit to own a dog.


  7. I think everybody is being quite harsh.

    We should extend this policy to all criminals. We should be paying gangsters, pimps, robbers, hitmen and drug dealers to stop committing crime.

    Domestic crime? Solved.

    • Josh MoorreesMEMBER

      well it worked pretty well in Iraq. Look at how peaceful that place is nowadays. Money can buy happiness.

  8. A win for productivity – Think of how much cheaper they’ve stopped the boat with this technique vs the current processing, detention, etc!

  9. The EU spends money to save people, Australia spends money to send them back onto a dangerous sea.

    The thing is, this probably makes certain groups of Aussies proud because at least they’re ‘handling things’ or as Abbott calls it ‘doing what needs to be done’.


  10. I am the child of refugees who came to this country, so I have a greater perspective given that I know the refugee experience here in Australia

    The last thing we want here is more illiterate peasants, mainly from Muslim countries

    This is highly anti pc, but most Europeans, especially Greeks and Italians, would love their govts to have the balls to stop African and Middle Eastern migrants who will be forever dependent on the state

    Fair enough, no money should have been paid though, but in the scheme of things, it saves money as these people will be dependent forever on us, in a time of rising unemployment and uncertainty

    • The silent majority speaks.

      Abbott has made the judgement that most Australians will overlook this because he is doing “whatever it takes” to stop the boats. He may well be right.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        You know we’ve failed as a community when you have people cheering when they see the news of a boat carrying asylum seekers break up on rocks. And cheering louder when they find out children have drowned.

        This is the new Australia.

    • This attitude represents everything that is wrong with this country. Scared, ignorant little minds, and unfortunately there are others who think the same way. You say you’re anti-PC, actually you’re just another bigot, happy to sacrifice human lives to maintain your sheltered life.

      We have a government as unwilling as you to take responsibility for anything and it is shameful. This is up there with the white Australian policy and the stolen generation as one of the darkest periods in Australian history.

      • Both party groupings of mono cultural Oz middle class have created this wedge issue or grid lock that compromises both parliament and Australia, well done to those policy and strategy makers who think Australia is made for race baiting and dog whistling…..

        With respect to descendents of refugees, economic, political or otherwise, Turk Oz comedian Tahir Bilgic (Habib in Pizza) did intro (suitably embellished for entertainment) to a discussion on ‘identity’ whereby after the ceremony he walked out with his newly minted certificate of citizenship, saw his freinds and family, and then told said to them ‘p*** off you bloody wogs!’

        Example of how newer arrivals over compensate in their quest to fit into Australia’s strong xenophobia, of the many types apparent, refugees and boats are just one.

        Bob Carr (the one that no one is quite sure of who he is and whose life dream was to live in London) on economic refugees? So he has met all these refugees and interviewed or had access to them? With the fellow travellers Carr has (especially in the US whom also indulge in demonisation of refugees, hispanics, blacks, jews etc.) it’s hardly surprising and no doubt in 2015 the same types would be disrespectful toward Sir John Monash being recognised as a great Australian, another bloody economic immigrant, and worse, a jew….. who respected indigenous culture and understood exactly what ‘mateship’ was about. (I became so tired of a Howard loving NZ immigrant friend’s rants against aboriginals, jews, refugees, Indians, Chinese etc., I dared him to walk into an RSL club and state categorically that Sir John Monash had no right to be in Oz as he was jewish, the friend declined as most of these types do, assume he preferred pollies to do the public dirty work).

        At the end of the day, Australians have become so insulated and will only stop putting up with this infantile behaviour, when it has been pointed out to us too often from offshore, bit like property bubbles, and round ball football is here to stay.

        Australia gets the politicians it deserves……. our politicians, no matter how much we say we don’t agree with or approve of them, are merely reflecting not just media preferences, but ourselves and Australian society….. warts and all.

    • A friend of mine works as a doctor in a hospital that has a very large multi-ethnic cross section of patients.
      I work for an organisation that has very broad group of backgrounds.
      You just confirmed what we have both observed many times over.
      Children of immigrants and refugees are often the most vocally racist against further immigration.
      I’ve no idea why, but that is the way it seems to be.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Everyone likes to think they’ve done or are doing it tougher than the rest. They need something to complain about.

        It would be much nicer if they would complain about the collapse of community spirit instead of the misconceptions of their own selfishness.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      The problem is that it’s not an effective policy, breaks international law, and pisses off Indonesia.

      If this is the policy they want to follow, this is how it should be done :

      * Hire Indonesia sailors to send the refugee back, make sure the boats are registered to Indonesians
      * Arrest the captain the the crew of the boat.

      Still turning back the boat, but no sovereignty issue, and no incentive for smugglers to try again.

    • “The last thing we want here is more illiterate peasants, mainly from Muslim countries”

      Well, at least we know that the propaganda machine works. It is indeed a sad reflection on our nation.

    • It’s a struggle to see what all the fuss is about.

      Firstly, did we or did we not? Let’s play the game and say we did, so what? Undeniably paying for the smugglers to return prevented any tragedies at sea, our first priority. It was cost effective – weekend news sources indicated payment was only a few thousand – cost of processing every asylum seeker runs at a minimum $70k per person. Longer term, despite the claims of some it would encourage people smugglers, I suggest it is more likely to deter asylum seekers paying thousands for what in effect is a return trip. Regardless, if a boat has been identified as a people smuggler it can be monitored and returned once it reaches the 24 nautical mile contiguous zone – the smugglers know this.

      Australia has a well publicised policy on illegal boat arrivals, ensuring adherence to policy, prevention of loss of life and encouraging asylum seekers access legal Immigration services seems appropriate. Australia is signatory to a number of voluntary codes governing actions at sea, if we elect to remove ourselves from a particular code, or diverge in some small way (if indeed anything like this has occurred) it is our prerogative as a Soveriegn nation.

      Sounds to me like we have saved lives and as a small bonus, money.

      • Do you honestly think that paying people smugglers to take them back has no incentive on their operations? They don’t care if their passengers get where they want to go, they’ll just take the money and keep advertising the Australian dream.

      • Ronin8317MEMBER

        If you want to talk about bring ‘effective’, then overseas didn’t detention is costing a billion dollars a year for housing 4000 asylum seekers. There is a huge lack of imagination as to how to do it cheaper. For example, you can create a PNG embassy in northern Australia, then expand the ground to house the aslyun seekers. This means no problem with the PNG natives, but they’re not on Australian soil, and since it’s outside the sovereignty of Australia, the courts will have no power over it.

        Resorting to illegal and expensive solutions is just stupid.

      • And Jason, you think the very well connected asylum seeker community won’t become aware…and elect not to pay the $$$ for a return trip? Eventually the business goes bust. And no one need drown.

      • ” the smugglers know this.” exactly, you are being short sighted here the least to say. Now they make money from the people escaping and from our government. Wait for a tsunami of boats now that people smugglers know they can cash in on both sides.

        Regarding saving lives, that can’t be proved. If the journey is perilous on the way to OZ, i’m sure it is too on the way back and plus many are escaping oppression so you’re sending them back to face that oppression again …
        This is not the way to fix this issue. I don’t have a solution but how how about we start more spending foreign aid and instead of spending money on people smugglers, we help those people overseas by spending money helping them and thus deterring them from coming here this way in the first place.

      • The EU spends 36k per refugee to save them from dodgy boats. For me that’s not a waste of public funds. For me that’s a reason the be proud.

        I’m not disagreeing with the fact that migration brings its issues, especially the burden it places on welfare and social systems. That said, the solution is not sending individuals back onto sea.

      • There is a way around this of course. Get the White Shoe Brigade up at Sanctuary Cove to motor out with their own dough… And come to think of it, maybe certain mining magnates have some spare. Only fair to make them do their share…to pay off the smugglers. This way Neolib honour is satisfied and the Navy keeps its hands clean. A WinWin!

      • The ultimate aim is to prevent asylum seekers risking the journey in the first place. Pretty much achieved it seems.

      • 3d, you’re a dirt bag, that’s for sure.

        How does doubling the journey reduce the chance of drownings?

        Your justifications show you for what you are.

        I wish upon you a tragedy, one that will cause you immense emotional pain, you’ve earned it! 🙂

      • … and after that little ditty from 3D, there are still people here who praise at as being ‘profesional’.

        Let’s face it: 3D would have turned back Jews in WW2, and would have sold resources to the Nazis on top.

        It’s becoming very sad.

      • Boys, assuming it did happen… No deaths. Financially advantageous. Asylum seekers in Indo face no imminent threat. Ensures commitment to well acknowledged government policy (Stop the Boats). Ensures no child will be placed in protective custody. Potential to end smuggler’s trade. Allows asylum seekers to pursue legal immigration paths.

        You might not like it, but it fulfills the above. We are not an Open Borders nation. Ffs most of you can’t stand the thought of any immigration at all. I do support immigration. I support a compassionate humanitarian response and encourage an increased intake via orderly processes.

        And you Duddles, back to the photo booth 😉

      • 3d1k, putting them in detention indefinitely doesn’t seem to have stopped them from coming! The boats are still coming, as this latest event demonstrates, no matter how much the Government tries to cover it up.

        And how long until an enterprising captain figures out that all they have to do to get a bit of cash from the Australian govt is fill a boat up with their mates and head to the Australian border and pretend to seek asylum to collect a cool couple thousand? How long until Indonesian boat captains start to shake us down wholesale?

        The ultimate aim is to prevent asylum seekers risking the journey in the first place. Pretty much achieved it seems.

        Except the boats haven’t stopped, the reporting of arrival has stopped because the Government has threatened to lock up journalists who bring it to light.

      • Actually it probably went down like this –
        “so I was taking some tourists out on a harbour cruise and the Aussies approached my boat and gave me $5,000 dollars to finish it early. I’m going to do free cruises now because the Aussies pay better than tourists”
        “Wow Ketut, maybe I should do harbour cruises too”

    • O boy, this site is full of people who have drunk the kool aid from Team Progress [tm], you’re seriously going to butt up against their indoctrination, not quite the shibboleth of feminism but up there.

      I wish you luck.

    • it saves money as these people will be dependent forever on us,

      I take it from this comment that your parents have been on welfare of one form or another the entire length of their stay in this country.

      • His parents probably came in the full employment era complete with industrial protectionism. You had to work, though jobs were easy to find and bottom rung jobs for poor English speakers weren’t shipped offshore.

        They also probably had to make do with ex-WWII army barracks that were poorly insulated and single timber cladding for shelter.

      • Protectionism bad, free trade good! (Or so They say). I say that the latter meme has us done in plurry good and proper. The Swiss, with a population of eight million or so, sell us aircraft for the RFDS that in part replace an aircraft (GAF Nomad) which we designed and built here! As they have also done by supplying the RAAF with the PC-9 trainer that replaced the Macchi.

        We need the high tech capabilities that competent aircraft and automotive industries provide us with. So what do we do? Destroy them!

        Poor fellow my country.

    • War doesn’t discriminate. Refugees are not by definition ‘peasants’.

      Also, they are likely to be many times more loyal to their new country that I will ever be. I came here for enjoyment and lifestyle. When things go sour there’s little stopping me from going back to Europe. I assume it is the same for many others in the Skilled Migration Scheme (who have options due to those skills in demand).

    • I’d suggest you go back to where your parents came from. ” illiterate peasants,” you fucking wanker, is the this what you gained moral wise from this country taking your parents in, is this what you have learned? “I’m here, and everyone one else can fuck off.”

      “ this time of uncertainty….” You ball-less twat. Are you scared of the dark?

      You piece of shit.

  11. This is government by complete fruit loops.

    And yet, Abbott is still ahead as preferred PM in most polls. How stupid are we?

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      @ The Lorax
      Today’s Fairfax Ipsos poll has LAB 37%, Lib 40%, Greens 14%
      2 party preferred Lab 53% Lib 47 %
      There is hope for us yet.
      Nods to Djenka’s comment

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        It’s been interesting this morning watching the commentariat of the ABC trying to not mention this poll. Abbott really does have them by the short and curlies.

  12. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Does anyone else think we’re well on the way towards international sanctions? There’s no good outcome out of this rubbish.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      International sanctions would be a good outcome at this stage.
      They might snap us out of our march to totalitarian rule.

      • Torchwood1979

        Indeed. Putting us under UN sanctions along with the likes of North Korea would be a good wake up call for Aussies.

        The Abbott Government is undoubtedly on the wrong side of history, even as it’s unfolding. We haven’t had to wait decades or even years to see this in relation to carbon pricing or the Australian housing bubble. The flimsy edifice Team Abbott was elected upon is already falling apart around them one year out from the end of their first term.

        Not in our postwar history has there been such a shallow, short sighted and vacuous Federal government.

    • I think that there would be a secret glee if the international reaction gets larger. He can then just ramp up the us vs them rhetoric and not have to bother with good governance. Power without responsibility seems to be the ideal.

    • Yep. Just like Putin or the CCP does when any external agency seeks to “meddle in internal affairs”. International norms are only of use for justifying dragging us into the next U.S. foreign policy misadventure.

  13. I don’t understand how this government still has any sort of support from the electorate and how Abbot and his mob are not being stood down and not being put on trial as people smugglers!
    Paying criminals to smuggle people back IS people smuggling so no difference between this government and people smugglers and yet people smugglers are labeled criminals but not the ones in suits that govern us!

  14. Who thought this was a good idea? Either it is government policy or it is someone senior in the navy own bright idea? And if it is only the latter, why are they being allow to use tactics that are not formerly approved?
    When you let the military set foreign policy, there are some serious risks of war or confrontation.

  15. It sometimes seems that there are two disjoint Australias – one which finds, for example ‘First Dog on the Moon’ funny and true and another which finds that Alan Jones often talks common sense.The first finds Abbott and his minions increasingly ridiculous (cf. newly minted memes about windfarm aesthetics) but the second possibly just wishes he would get on and do more.

    It is uncertain, given their different reactions to the identical sets of words, whether these groups speak any common language.

    • adelaide_economist

      Agreed. I think this is even reflected in media. I like to think I’m not devoted to one view of the world but I can’t even read most of the Murdoch press anymore. It’s not the spin they put on things, they literally don’t report major happenings in Government. Simply not reported. Seriously, why is the front page of full of clickbait ‘you won’t believe this thing someone did’ or ’10 things you must never do’. Unbelievable!

      Australia seems to be ‘polarising’ just like many other democracies (or ex-democracies?). On the positive side, despite the issues we have with media in this country (even the ABC seems to be busy trying to preserve itself by abandoning critical reporting of the Government) the polls show there’s enough ‘high information voters’ in the swing vote category to bring (some) sanity back to our political course.

      In truth Abbott is no longer even playing to win the overall vote, he’s trying to shore up his internal base – hence the ‘crazy’ policies. I would assume they’ll try to switch to ‘centrism’ of some sort just prior to the next election (whenever that is).

  16. I don’t understand this to be honest, if the crew are criminals then why not arrest them? There’s the deterrent, just arrest the crew? Pay them money instead, that’s ridiculous.

    • Well if Scott Morrison says so, it must be true.

      Morrison will be the first one to go down at the Royal Commission.

  17. We do have some basic laws about bribery that are supposed to apply to Australian organizations outside our borders. Problem words here … Law, legal, ethical, responsible, strategy. Abbott to win.

    • You’re assuming that Australia applies rule of law and has low levels of corruption. Both these assumptions are demonstrably false.

  18. Abbott has previously talked about the war on people smugglers.

    So let’s follow the logic.

    There has also been discussions recently about revoking the citizenship of Australians fighting for terrorist organisations who are eligible for citizenship of another country, as they are effectively at war with Australia.

    So now that Abbott is the leader of a government that is apparently funding those who are fighting a war against us, and he was/is a British citizen, does that mean his citizenship will be revoked?

    • @ DT re. “So let’s follow the logic……

      There has also been discussions recently about revoking the citizenship of Australians fighting for terrorist organisations who are eligible for citizenship of another country, as they are effectively at war with Australia.

      So now that Abbott is the leader of a government that is apparently funding those who are fighting a war against us, and he was/is a British citizen, does that mean his citizenship will be revoked?”

      *raspberries……LOL! ….but seriously, surely our GG Cosgrove could ‘do’ something with this? Wonder if Sir Peter has enough sealing wax to operate all his vice regal stamps…..hidden away in the olde mahogany davenport ?

      • …..can only imagine all the cartoonists *squealing in delight at this latest bit of purported news.

  19. As the Fairfax journalist knows perfectly well (as he has written about the “poor duped crew being prosecuted by the AFP, the guys running the boat aren’t the smugglers. They’re just poor Indonesian fishermen from the outer islands where there’s not much fish left, The smugglers are safely back in Indonesia, ACBPS has just made the crew a better offer, turn round and go back.

    • Correct Brian. The smugglers have paid local Indonesian officials to facilitate their trade and they get all upset when Australia plays the same game to stifle the lucrative and corrupt local Indo officials.
      Turning boats back is bad for the locals Indonesians who benefit from the trade.

      • george fripley

        Awesome income stream isn’t it. Soon there will be loads of boats full of people coming to collect their money off the Australian govt in order to turn back (if that’s what happened). This would hardly solve the problem, would it? If the turn back boats policy is predicated on stopping people getting on unsafe boats (which I believe is one of the foundations) then this would encourage more people onto unsafe boats. It’s a bit of a PR disaster at the moment, could be a bigger disaster if it’s proven to be true – we shall have to wait and see.

  20. SupernovaMEMBER

    Agree with Bob Carr that most of the people who arrive illegally by boat are “economic-migrants”, how else could they afford to pay the people smugglers? 85% of illegal migrants are without any jobs after 5 years of Centrelink payments. Australia (and many other OECD countries) is beginning to face a “full-time job crisis” because most of the jobs created are only part-time. As 3d1K infers, as a sovereign state, it is our prerogative to retract any voluntary signatory regarding actions at sea within our OR contiguous zone.

  21. The number of people cheering on likely illegal acts by government conducted in secrecy with jail time for anyone who whistleblows is intriguing.

    Such people deserve everything they get when that apparatus turns on them, which it inevitably will.

    Unfortunately, much damage will be done and many lives ruined in the meantime.