Former diplomat Tony Kevin’s book on the sinking of Siev X, A Certain Maritime Incident, has taken the Community Relations Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards at the Sydney Writers Festival.

Very courageous, minister, as Sir Humphrey might say. Its contents are confronting, to put it mildly.

Powerful forces in government would love to see the matter forgotten, yet there’s strong evidence that ministers and senior officials have sought to mislead the Senate over the incident. There are also hints of Federal Police involvement in a shadowy people smuggling “disruption program,” as well as all the predictable “who knew what when issues” that the Howard Government perpetually seems unwilling or unable to answer.

The award keeps the issue of Siev X – and all the unanswered question about what the Government knew about the voyage that lead to the deaths or more than 350 asylum seekers – alive.