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May 29, 2014

The boats have stopped

Crikey readers discuss the issues of the day.


Coalition’s asylum seeker unequivocally successful

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. “Asylum seeker lifeboats fail safety standards, says regulator” (yesterday). Once again, Bernard Keane delves into the minutia of our border policies — noting that lifeboats used to send migrants back to Indonesia don’t contain “buckets, knives and fishing lines” and suggests this makes them less safe (or “non-compliant with SOLAS”). But less safe than what? No one has died trying to come to Australia since the government stopped the boats last year. From 2009-2013 under Labor and The Greens, when 51,637 people turned up, at least 1200 died trying. Being transferred from a leaky wooden fishing boat onto an unsinkable lifeboat is a serious safety upgrade. The fact that this policy has stopped the boats and stopped the deaths at sea is a further safety bonus, to say nothing of the impact on our border integrity. Worrying about the removal of “buckets, knives and fishing lines” is pretty weak criticism of an unequivocally successful policy.

Ken Lambert writes: Bernard Keane has worked hard on confecting a scandal over this one. Knives and fishing lines — great for threatening your sovereign borders and self-harm. Seems like Keane should be questioning the people smugglers about the safety of their boats — now there is a scandal. Leaky, rotten and very sinkable when put into water. Perhaps Keane could lodge a complaint with Indonesian officials about the safety of the boats bought and sent to sea from their teeming shores.

It seems like they have stopped coming — safety problem solved — and it seems like none of the smugglers in our orange boats have suffered anything worse than burned hands from grasping those hot exhaust pipes. What a horrible result: dodgy boats have stopped coming, nobody has drowned since Scott Morrison became Immigration  Minister, detention centres closing for lack of inmates, and smugglers going out of business.

And the Indonesian officials are earning honest modest livings while the Australian government saves hundreds of millions of dollars. What a shocking, scandalous policy achievement of the Abbott government.

Too clever by half

Megan Stoyles  writes: Re. “Age of empires” (Tuesday). Does Guy Rundle assume that Crikey readers know that the “Grauniad” is called that in the UK by the satirical magazine Private Eye on account of its typos, or is he being an arcane smarty pants? A more relevant critique would be of Fairfax media, which, with the offshoring and outsourcing of their subediting, now regularly publish typographical howlers that leave The Guardian for dead.


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17 thoughts on “The boats have stopped

  1. Chrispy

    I’m strangely reminded by Ken Lambert’s statement “Keane should be questioning the people smugglers about the safety of their boats — now there is a scandal” of the so-called pink batts enquiry. Why is a former government getting the blame for that when it was unscrupulous employers who were clearly at fault?

  2. Gratton Wilson

    Those who insist that the boats have stopped don’t seem to be able to cope with what these Australian owned lifeboats are doing – disregarding their safety or lack of it, why do they keep turning up in Indonesia if the boats have stopped?

  3. Jaybuoy

    is there a correlation between the denial of scientific consensus on rising ocean levels and maritime safety regulations…

  4. Yclept

    So the Abbott government tells us the boats have stopped. We’d believe them, of course, they would never lie to us, would they?

  5. Draco Houston

    3 people died in the reef incident conroy brought up, up yours, tamas.

  6. CML

    Earth to Tamas and Ken! It seems you have conveniently forgotten that the turning point of so-called boat arrivals occurred following the announcement by Kevin Rudd, some months before the federal election, that ALL boat arrivals would be transferred to PNG and no one would be settled in Oz.
    While I can understand the Labor party not wanting to take credit for such a diabolical policy, the fact remains that ‘stopping the boats’ had very little to do with the current federal government. Sure we have had lots of menace, secrecy and dramatic language from that poor excuse for a human being, Morrison, but none of it was necessary, really. He just likes big-noting himself, and trying to give the impression that it was all his own work!
    Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!!!

  7. Tamas Calderwood

    Well said Ken.

    Gratton – the boats have stopped coming to Australia.

    Jaybuoy – yes, the correlation is based on reality.

    Yclept – so the boats are still arriving? Why isn’t the press reporting this?

    Draco – nice… and the other 1200 who died? What about them?

    CML – yeah, right…

  8. Jaybuoy

    explain Reza Berati in Tamaspeak for us..

  9. CML

    “yeah, right” doesn’t quite cut it Tamas.
    Don’t you have a credible argument to offer???

  10. Tamas Calderwood

    Jaybuoy – howard stopped the boats. Rudd and gillard started them. Rudd 2 sent reza to manus.

    If the boats hadn’t started again, there would be no manus.

    No boats, no de aths, no detention centres.

    Make sense?

  11. Tamas Calderwood

    Cml – my comment does cut it. Your argument is ridiculous.

  12. Ken Lambert


    Yeah, RUDD2’s was a diabolical policy….just like Professor Gillard’s 800 person swap with Malaysia and her direct line to Dr Who in East Timor. Rudd was under challenge by the smugglers when he was sacked by the Australian people, and who knows what would have happened if Kevvy had miraculously stayed prime minister.

    My guess is he would have folded to the screaming kiddies like Hansen Young, and the smugglers would have faced him down like Gillard and Swan did when he wimped ‘the greatest moral challenge of our age’.

    Make no mistake, the PNG solution was not the only factor or the major factor. Morrison’s resolve to use the Orange lifeboats has broken the smugglers business model. On many occasions I have written that smugglees had to end up back in Jakarta, and only then would the demand cease for $10000 one way tickets to Oz.

    A hard day if you are a smugglee, and who would not feel upset if you had paid your $10000 and ended up on an orange lifeboat. In fact the ABC tried the old moral blackmail on us all showing smugglees who were on their second trip back
    on a lifeboat. They could’nt get a refund from the smugglers and their Indo corrupt mates so the smugglers offered them another free go on a leaky boat.

    Hence the iphone video of those twice smugglees while under tow on their orange boat screaming “F**K Morrison, F**K Immigration and F**K Australia” (or words to that effect) .

    I am sure the great unwashed Australian public would have felt bad, along with the ABC, about missing out on such immigrants.

  13. JohnB

    The children have come to play again. Silly thoughts and sillier words. That is has been left to TC and Ken to wave the flag indicates the paucity of the argument.

  14. Russ Hunter

    Tamas and/or Ken,

    Is there any conceiveable conduct which, if engaged in by an Australian government in achieving ‘boat-stopping’, could impact on your perception of an “unequivocally successful policy”?

  15. CML

    No Tamas, my comment contains the FACTS!
    Didn’t think you would have anything credible to say in reply. You have lost the plot once you start abusing people.
    Just another troll!

  16. Russ Hunter

    Ken Lambert. You are right about one thing there: the ABC story showing the abusive asylum seekers was not at all helpful to their cause.

    That might cause a problem to your “ABC bias” narrative though, so be careful mentioning that one.

  17. Ken Lambert

    Russ Hunter

    Well I didn’t say that the ABC was clever or perceptive about the effects of their story.

    In this Orwellian world, the ABC just might have thought they would get a sympathetic response for the smugglees.

    The ABC could be just out of touch with the mainstream of the Australian people who know a smuggling racket when they see one, and are repelled by the smugglees behaviour laid bare.


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