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Nov 26, 2009

Datapig: lies, damned lies and boat arrivals

Datapig David Gillespie looks at the PM's selective take on boat people arrivals.

Kevin Rudd yesterday was asked about the number of illegal boat people arrivals in Australia since his pre-election commitment to “turn back the boats”.

He answered the question with statistics that I have graphed for your viewing pleasure.  They seem at odds with the graph I published last week until you realise that Rudd has been somewhat selective with the statistics he cited.

KRBoats Source: Hansard Proof 25 November 2009

For ease of reference, here’s my graph from last week:

Boat People

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3 thoughts on “Datapig: lies, damned lies and boat arrivals

  1. Jim Reiher

    Is there a point to this? We know that the number of asylum seekers that come by boat is a tiny minority of the full number of actual asylum seekers – and most come in by plane. And when boat people are finally processed nearly all of them do get refugee status because they are genuine asylum seekers in great peril or fleeing really crappy places.

    So…. why the fear of boat people? Why doesn’t Rudd have the balls to just say: “Give these people a bloody break! They are desperate families risking everything to get out of terrible situations. If we actually helped improve the situations back in their home countries they would nearly all prefer to stay there and not risk life and limb getting into leaky boats and traveling across the ocean looking for somewhere better to stay.”

    But no…. he can’t seem to do it. Perhaps he is scared of the ignorant voter backlash, fueled by weak journalists and conservative editors.

  2. Peter Ringwood


    Almost nothing on your graphs is readable (in Safari, at least) at the scale you have published them – neither the units of the axes nor the comments attached.

    If the graphs are pertinent to your argument, it would be more than very useful to provide a click-through to higher resolution images so that we could read them and draw our own conclusions.

    All the best,


  3. David Gillespie


    I agree – they are not coming up well in the Crikey published version. There are clickable versions over at the blog: but from now on, I’ll do them in format that is readable at this size.