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So, the boats haven’t been stopped after all

Who would have thought? An illegal vessel has made it to the Australian mainland. After all the boasting, the chest beating and bragging by the architects of the most brutal and repressive asylum seeker policy our country has ever implemented, it turns out that on at least one occasion, they have been gamed.

Their politically motivated action against defenceless asylum seekers attempting to find a better life has fallen on its face. Our once impregnable borders, policed so rigidly by the Australian Border Force, have been breached.

“You have to wonder how a boat like this would get so far without being detected,” Port Douglas Marine Rescue president Ross Wood said. Indeed! But should we be surprised? The distance between the southernmost point of Papua New Guinea and the Australian mainland is just 150 kilometres.

How long did it take Australian Border Force management to realise that people smugglers would eventually find a way to make the relative easy crossing?

While details are still sketchy and probably will stay that way if Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has anything to do with it, perhaps seventeen or more asylum seekers have made it to Australia. How embarrassing! A dozen or so have since been rounded up, but the remainder, now at large, may well be in even greater danger hiding in the mangroves and rainforest regions of the Daintree.

“There is no risk if they don’t go in the water. But if they aren’t familiar with the area, if they go in the water behind the beach where the river is or to stand on the edge of the deep water where it’s murky, there is a risk of a crocodile attack,” said tour operator David White, who has been taking people up the Daintree River for 20 years.

While concern for their safety should be paramount, politically, it is a disaster for the government. No longer can we accept the Coalition mantra, “we’ve stopped the boats.” It’s no longer true, if it ever was. And what do we do with them, now

Manus is closed. Nauru perhaps? Christmas Island? What are our international obligations when asylum seekers land on our shores? Stupid question! No one cares. We can send them anywhere we want. Who will stop us?

Doubtless, people in Far North Queensland will be horrified. They will fear for their safety, lock their windows and doors, keep their children home from school, even barricade their driveways. So they should! Monsters are on the loose, heathens who could murder them in their beds at night.

After the appalling events in Canberra last week, one cannot help but feel some sense of amusement at this latest event. The implications for a government that might, just might, have had one claim to fame in its miserable time in charge, has been destroyed. Now, they have precisely nothing to crow about.

With three prime ministers in five chaotic years, no vision for the nation’s future, no idea what they stand for, internal bitterness and disunity that dwarfs anything we have seen in three generations of politics, they have now had their signature tune blown out of the water.

It’s not a government. It’s a circus.


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  1. John Higgins

    I lived in Cairns for nearly 10 years. Sure there are rednecks in the area but not as many as in the Coalition. Lots of residents of Cairns and surrounding areas came from elsewhere … Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth etc (not many from Sydney for some odd reason). Mad Matter Katter is the exception, but he’s kept in by preference deals. Also don’t forget, there is a very large indigenous community throughout. I hope those people are found safely and treated with respect (highly unlikely with Dead Eyes Diutton back in his position).

  2. ozfenric

    “Stopped the boats” was always a slogan for mugs. The Coalition never meant “stopped the boats coming towards us”, but they certainly hoped people thought that was what they were saying. “Stopped the boats reaching us” doesn’t have the same ring of deterrence.

    That’s what the information blackout is all about, after all. It’s not about protecting the operations of Sovereign Borders from being known to the people smugglers – you would have thought that trumpeting each intercepted boat far and wide would be order of the day, if deterrence were the goal. Instead, the blackout is so the Australian people don’t ever become aware how ineffective it all is. People smugglers certainly don’t care if boats are intercepted or asylum seekers find themselves imprisoned in hellholes on Nauru and Manus. So long as their desperate clients don’t hear, so long as the smugglers can keep pretending to have some level of success, they’ll keep making money.

    The only thing that keeps the current arrangements in place at the moment is the idea that if you relax even a little, the people smugglers will start again. Hopefully the arrival of a successful boat might help some Australians to wake up to the fact that the people smugglers have not stopped trying, will not stop trying. Without the thought that we’re “putting the people smugglers out of business”, perhaps the whole distressing Indefinite Detention scheme might fall apart.

    Not holding my breath, though. This will be spun as a one-off arrival. I half expect Border Force to try to tell us that they had scaled down their operations and this attempt was the result, so they must redouble their efforts.

  3. Ian Parfrey

    The boats have never stopped. Only Boarder Farce reporting of them has.

  4. helvityni

    I the crocodiles don’t get you, you can be confident that uncle Dutton will…

    It’s all so unbearably sad…

  5. Alpo

    “So, the boats haven’t been stopped after all.”…

    Nope, they kept and keep coming…. But why was this one allowed to land on the mainland? Why wasn’t it detected and turned back?…

    An embarrassment for Dutton?

    A desperate attempt by this lunatic government of Liberals to distract the People from their Civil War and their vertically plunging fortunes in the opinion polls?


    I firmly believe that those poor Aussies in the Cairns area are in GRAVE danger from these illegals. It has been proven, by some of the greatest minds in this country- CORY BERNADI, MICHAELIA CASH, PAULINE HANSON, BARNABY JOYCE,ERIC ABETZ, TONY ABBOTT, IAN GOODENOUGH(sic), SCOTT BUCHOLZ among many have,with the “new funding” for CSIRO in mind, concluded that all of our food will turn HALAL overnight. The second I heard of this boat arrival, I moved to Hobart.

  7. johno

    What happened to the ring of steel, rust perhaps !?

  8. totaram

    Roy Edwards: Cheers! I too am worried about eating Halal meat. It’s bound to cause all kinds of horrible diseases, especially mental health problems (radicalisation?) perhaps even cancer! I recommend creating a fund to do some serious epidemiological studies of this issue. Perhaps One nation can put up a bill for special funding for this research.

  9. Matters Not

    So the latest ‘boat people’ travelled the (approximate) 700 kilometres from Thursday Island to the Daintree without being spotted. Hopefully they will be ‘rescued’ soon because that part of the world is teeming with crocodiles (and mud crabs).

    Put some pots into the Daintree River overnight and two results are likely. First, you will trap any number of mud crabs. Unfortunately the vast, vast majority will be jennies (female crabs which are illegal to catch and keep in Queensland). Second, your pots are likely to be physically smashed by crocodiles who seem oblivious to the ban on catching and consuming jennies.

    By the way, if you elect to walk along the beach in that part of the world stay some considerable distance above the high water mark. Here’s one who didn’t.

  10. iggy648

    If turning back the boats has been effective, why is there a need to torture the poor bastards who didn’t get turned back? A double disincentive doesn’t seem necessary.

  11. New England Cocky

    John Kelly; DW News (SBS 280818) reported this morning that PRC (code for “communists”) is proposing to build a multi-purpose international stye port on Manus, likely at, or around the former naval base that became the hell-hole for Benito, so maybe there is hope for the legal refugees yet.

    @ozfenric: I think you may have hit this on the head.

    I wonder if any contributions were made to the Liarbral Party by the people smugglers for coming up with this ingenious publicity black-out scheme?? How do you cover up Border Force sinking refugee boats? Simply, do not report it.

    Could it be that the unaccounted personal wealth of one of the instigators of this horrendous policy was increased as business deal?? No that could not be, this is the Liarbral Party we are discussing; pure as the driven snow and ALWAYS putting the best interest of jobs for Australian voters ahead of tax relief for foreign owned multinational corporations trading from secure tax havens.

    @Roy Edwards: That is exactly the Liarbral Party plan; sell off WA to PRC (the communists), Queensland to Japan; NT for the Aborigines; NSW to the highest bidder and Victoria (well, Melbourne only for preference) to Israel and all Australian borne Caucasians transported to life onTasmania. Shades of 1806!!

  12. Paul

    The Libs are effectively marginalising themselves.
    They really couldn’t care less about ‘boat arrivals’.
    If Hanson hadn’t opened her ignorant mouth and opened pandora’s box we may well have had a very different approach to refugees.

    They are bleeding support to the far right and all the posturing on ‘sovereign borders’ etc. is to simply try and stem the tide.
    Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your persuasion this constant moving to the right has them losing the middle or moderate support within in the electorate.
    This and a total lack of genuine policy as well as the pathetic poll watching has led us to where we are today.

    And I for one love it !

  13. Rhonda

    I noted with shame, horror and perplexed frustration, that our ABC news report last night, identified these people as “illegal arrivals”. Buying the bullshit narrative, much!

  14. Kaye Lee

    I noticed that too Rhonda. Joe kept saying asylum seekers and the Queensland reporter kept saying “illegal arrivals”. What do they not understand about the law? And how do they keep getting away with this?

    On the government’s own parliamentary library website it says:

    “Although those who come to Australia by boat seeking Australia’s protection are classified by Australian law to be ‘unlawful non-citizens’, they have a right to seek asylum under international law and not be penalised for their mode of entry.”

  15. Ricardo29

    I suspect one reason for the failure to prevent this boat arriving might be that the blackshirts in Borderfarce took their eyes off the ball because their fuhrer was going for the top job and needed their support. That said, I believe there are those in Borderfarce who would prefer to go back to earlier less militaristic and more humane times. Hopefully these people will be in the ascendancy when the inevitable revolution sweeps the fuhrer away.

  16. Jane

    Just wondering why you say ‘Manus is closed’ when there are still hundreds of refugees languishing up there in neglected misery?

  17. Kyran

    Describing this ‘government’ as a circus, however flattering to them, must distress any self- respecting member of the circus community.
    This mob use weasel words to conceal their barbaric duplicity. Remember, they only recently changed maritime laws, with bi-partisan support from the ALP. It was in the middle of all the hoo-haa about the anal offerings of Anning, on 16th August.
    “Labor and Liberal MPs voting together to retrospectively validate the unlawful detention of up to 1600 people seeking asylum confirms that business as usual has resumed, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.
    “This is the Labor and Liberal parties trying to rewrite history because their detention of up to 1600 people seeking asylum was based on a legal fiction,” Senator McKim said.
    “Bipartisan support for the Migration (Validation of Port Appointment) Bill 2018 resumes the cosy arrangement of arbitrary cruelty towards refugees and people seeking asylum.”
    “All of yesterday’s speeches about rejecting racism ring hollow while the Labor and Liberal parties continue to detain and deliberately harm men, women and children on Manus Island and Nauru.”

    Just to insert a few facts into the creative narrative of the ‘government’, with bi-partisan ALP support.
    For the record, between July, 2015 and June, 2017, 31 vessels, with 771 occupants, were intercepted by Broader Farce. As the ‘government’, with ALP support, constantly hide behind their weasel words, it is important to make the distinction.
    The boats never stopped.

    For a greater clarification on numbers and the different words we use to conceal their reality, this link helps to interpret and define the language they use, as opposed to English.
    Weasel words.

    At a time when Dutton’s entitlement to sit in parliament is still under question, it is only fair that his questionable decisions made during his questionable tenure are subject to scrutiny.

    It is also fitting to recall the moronic stupidity of a ‘man’ who can’t even keep to the simplistic dismissals of his predecessor (Scummo, our new PM), in not talking about ‘on-water’ matters. This fool is so moronic, he leads the charge on speculating about the most recent arrival, even though he is, ostensibly, the one overseeing it. No rational, intelligent mind would speculate on the outcome of their own investigation.

    Naturally, all of this is done in the hope of avoiding the most paltry and cursory of enquiries. The Pacific Islands Forum is soon to convene on Nauru, with the ABC and The Guardian having already been told they are not welcome. We will be reliant on NewsCorpse to report – independently, independently – on the ‘true’ conditions on that hell hole. The number of children removed in just the last week due to their evident health problems, is staggering. That these removals were fought, tooth and nail, by Dutton and his ABF storm troopers will be a matter for reflection some time in the future. Hopefully, before a court or tribunal with the capacity to inflict some accountability on these monsters. At some point, the question must be asked of our ‘leaders’. How many deaths will it take to change this barbaric, and demonstrably false, ‘policy’?
    Rest assured, these animals have already started on ‘the set’ of the new ‘stage play’, ‘A Holiday on Nauru’.

    There does not appear to be any word yet as to whether our PM, or his goon, Dutton, will be attending the forum. In any event, neither have ever visited the paradise they created. Our GG has.

    The G G’s Diary – Where’s Cozzy?

    Maybe he can give them directions, tell them about the best hotels, recommend ‘tourist spots’, point out historic markers (even if they are only headstones), or recommend a good restaurant or two. They will have such a hoot.
    Naturally, polite discourse will see them discuss such principles as;
    “Non-refoulement (a principle of international law which forbids the rendering of a true victim of persecution to his or her persecutor. Generally, the persecutor in mind is a state actor. It is a principle of both the customary and trucial law of nations).”
    Being ever so polite, they will likely limit the conversation to the foul stench on the set of their new stage. Their Holiday on Nauru will be portrayed in pictures, devoid of ‘smell-o-vision’.
    Was it U2? ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’?
    “How long? How long must we sing this song?”
    “Wipe the tears from your eyes”.
    There’s not a lot we can do, is there? Our ‘government’ will do what they do, regardless of what we think, and the opposition will agree. Maybe some real Aussies will join over 40,000 other Aussies and sign yet another petition to ask these ‘leaders’ to change their foul ways.

    Thank you Mr Kelly, and commenters. How long? Take care

  18. Diannaart


    No matter how valid, pertinent and true, quoting from a Greens spokesperson has little value to those rusted on from either the LNP or Labor.

    Which is sad.

    While I look forward to seeing Labor annihilate the COALition at the next federal election, I see no end to “Border farce” … appearing tough on people in leaky boats remains a vote winner, apparently.

    Some token efforts may be made; faster resettlement of detainees from our island gulags than the recalcitrant snail’s pace of the incumbent Libs, but “not on Australian soil” of course. Maybe a PM Shorten will consider the generosity of New Zealand, although that won’t be for ALL remaining detainees.

    Will a Labor government disband the nonsense of stopping boats? Admit smugglers never stopped their activities? Unlikely. Never mind the obvious solution, a cooperative approach with Indonesia and other neighboring countries would more effectively stymy the smugglers than sending out our defence forces to forcibly turn back crowded leaky boats in the middle of the ocean.

    Thank you Kyran and John Kelly always appreciate your thoughts. Ozfenric also.

  19. ozfenric

    Finally a bit of sense appearing in the media, thanks to the renewed attention caused by this boat arrival. Fairfax reports that asylum seekers in Indonesia believe that indefinite detention does not stop the boats: the true factor that’s reduced the number of attempted arrivals is the turn-back policy.

    I don’t approve of turn-backs either, but once we understand that boat turn-arounds are effective and ongoing torture in island gulags is not, perhaps we can make progress towards ending this deplorable chapter in our history.

    We don’t need to convince the Coalition, who’ve welded themselves so tightly into the “let them rot” narrative that they’ll never extricate themselves. All we need is a few hard-heads in Labor to change position – there are already strong progressive voices in Labor wanting to close Nauru and end indefinite detention, and that could easily become policy.

    Labor is terrified (with good reason) that the moment they give any ground, the Coalition will start wailing about porous borders and an ignorant populace will believe them. If there is a workable alternative and evidence that torturing civilians isn’t needed, just maybe we might get progress. We can only hope.

  20. Diannaart


    Boat turn backs do not address the existential issue of refugees. Do you not wonder what happens to people after they are “turned back”?

    Without a comprehensive and cooperative system which addresses and actually helps refugees, nothing will be achieved.

  21. Adrianne Haddow

    Thank you for the link, Kyran.

    I’m reading Behrouz Boochani’s book ” No Friend but the Mountain”. It’s not easy reading because of the shame I feel that this travesty is being done in Australia’s name, and supported by both major parties.

    Both Morrison and Dutton deserve to pay for their heartless policies against these people, as do the succession of businesses that run these gulags to the tune of billions, as do the cruddy dictators of Nauru who are paid millions to allow this prison island to exist.

    Kronomex, the transparent hypocrisy from the minister who ‘would be PM’ about his discretion regarding the ‘au pair’, and their AFL chief mentor makes me seethe, and reinforces the need to dismantle his Border Farce fiefdom. His judgement that the granting of her visa is ” in the public interest” while he deports New Zealanders who have family living in this country, shows he has no judgement or morality. Not even pretending anymore.

  22. Kaye Lee


    I agree. But we must, as a first priority, save the people on Manus and Nauru. Labor have promised to increase the humanitarian intake. Hopefully they will establish processing centres in transit countries, expedite the processing times which have become ridiculous, and communicate better to applicants what is happening so they don’t take desperate actions.

    I hate the boat turnbacks but I hope they will become unnecessary if we give people a legal way to get here.

    And we must do more to address why people are fleeing their homes. I never understand why those who are so worried about refugees coming here are the same people who want us to stop giving any foreign aid. It makes no sense.

  23. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Damn straight.

    However, wishing I knew what happened to people whose boats were turned back, I wager the truth is too sensitive for the public to hear.

    Those you mention who manage holding such conflicting positions on refugees and foreign aid also tend towards boosting expenditure on our defence budget.

    War remains a lucrative industry.

  24. corvus boreus

    “Labor have promised to increase the humanitarian intake.”.
    Has this promise come with a counter-balancing proposal for an attendant decrease in current levels of voluntary immigration?
    If not, an increase in humanitarian quotas might help the ALP claw back a few disaffected Green voters but will probably lose just as many, if not more votes from the ‘center’, for many of whom, seemingly, there is increasingly little appetite for more force-feeding of Australia’s rampant population growth.

    In April, Essential conducted a poll including questions on community attitudes to population and immigration.
    Of the total respondents, 64% stated that they felt current levels of immigration were too high, 23% said they were about right and 5% supported increased levels of immigration.
    Similar ratios applied regarding Labor voters (62%, 24% and 6%).
    Now, remembering that one of the aims/methods of democratic governance is to propose/implement policies that are supported by a majority of the voting public, this seems like a bit of an existential problem.

    Ps, on another recent thread, I did put up an idea that could help sell an increase in our refugee quota to an increasingly worried and suspicious public, but my suggestion attracted about as much consideration as ruminants offer a passing tumbleweed..
    I’ll drop a repetition here just in case anybody is vaguely interested;

    ‘To help support the idea of a ‘drastic’ decrease in voluntary immigration, there should be a significant increase in our humanitarian intake (if nothing else, just so the rest of the globe doesn’t immediately adjudge us to be racist arseholes).
    I would add to this the rather old-fashioned and somewhat ageist/sexist notion of children and women getting life-raft priority over people with fully formed testicles (women and kids first, how conservative, eh?).
    Uncomfortable truths would also suggest that this priority has validity in a humanitarian sense when you look at the situations in many of the nations/societies from which people flee, where there is often a socio-religious imperatives which deem those possessing a vagina as automatically being entitled to inferior rights (BTW, this doesn’t just apply to hardline-Islam)
    As an added bonus which helps muffle the terrorfied dog-whistle, people with XX chromosomes are pathetically under-represented in the field of ideological mass-murder.’

  25. corvus boreus

    Yeah, you’re all probably right.
    Trying to jog some conscience back into mainstream and conservatives through an appeal to traditional values is probably a wrong approach, and the disadvantages faced by female children in hardline Islamic countries, or amongst cultures practicing forced child marriages and FGM are probably over-rated, and the fact that about 98 in 100 terrorist atrocities are committed by males would be irrelevant to security concerns.
    I might just go back to calling the majority of my country-folk heartless racist arseholes, that seems to work convincingly.

  26. corvus boreus

    A people smuggling boat managed to get through and land in FNQ. so even though most of the people on board will probably end up incarcerated indefinitely, and those who fled into the mangroves will probably get munched by crocodiles, we can still all have a good laugh at Peter Dutton’s expense (If he actually had a soul, and we weren’t all ‘dead to him’, he might even give a shit).

    In Logan hospital, a male Sri Lankan Tamil ‘unauthorised maritime arrival’ died. The unnamed man ended up committing suicide after spending 4 years stuck in a hellhole on Nauru. He died leaving a wife and 3 kids back home in circumstances so utterly dire that that he himself had to flee.

    Also in the ‘who gives a shit’ section of the AIMN news, the ‘essential’ poll that was rather pointlessly referenced earlier also revealed that, broadly speaking, the only immigrant category towards whom Australians are generally less sympathetic than humanitarian refugees are those coming here on 457 visas.


  27. corvus boreus

    Of course, when the subject of population and immigration was raised on another thread (in the context of the relationship of both to environmental degradation), the overwhelming majority of posters (36 of 48) were for decreasing our human intake (notably, none stated racist reasons), and only 2 people supported the idea of cramming in ever more mouths and feet.

    Of the 2 dissenting, one opened by opining that the article was ‘twaddle and rubbish’ (rip-snorting opening debating statement that!) and the other launched straight into accusations and insinuations of racism and support for eugenics, allegations of conspiracies of association between the Rockefellers and nazi genocide and links to sites claiming that climate change was nothing but a trojan horse to install one world government and implement Agenda 21.
    Which pretty much sums up the general quality of debate around the subject.

    Simply put, concern over population is an increasingly resonant issue with the Australian public, and the majority of our fellow citizens now seem to want to decrease the inflow. from immigration.

    Now we can either debate the subject of future immigration sensibly and rationally (including offering workable suggestions) or we can ignore the realities within the issue, hurl hyperbolic insults like ‘RACIST’ and ‘FASCIST’ at those who differ (ie the majority of our countryfolk) and leave all substantive discussion on the subject as the patented property of panel talks hosted by Andrew Bolt and political negotiations between Peter Dutton and Pauline Hanson.

    For the sake of that not happening, I once again offer an idea which has brought grudging nods from relatively conservative people with whom I have engaged in topical discussion;

    “Expanded humanitarian quotas should, like lifeboats, favor women and children over adult males.
    Children are especially vulnerable in situations of conflict and turmoil,
    females often suffer institutionalised oppression in ‘developing’ nations,
    and single men are far and away the most likely demographic to commit acts of murderous terrorism.”

    Feel free to debate, discuss and offer alternative suggestions, because you can bet your collective arses that other agencies elsewhere most certainly are (eg; ‘ban all Muslims’, ‘ban all Africans’, ‘reclaim white Australia’)

  28. corvus boreus

    Silly silly corvus, when will you learn?

    Just because a subject is the object of conspicuous and dramatic displays of pearl-clutching and shirt-rending, it doesn’t mean that such matters are actually open to rational discussion or the offering of valid information and serious suggestion, particularly if doing so means the confrontation of inconvenient or uncomfortable realities.

    The best solution to the problems in and around human mass-migrations (voluntary and other), and the perception of such in the eyes of the resident population, is to shed an occasional tear at the general heartlessness of antipodean attitudes, then move quickly on to less complicated matters, thus allowing the subject of immigrants and asylum seekers to continue lying squarely in the safe and sturdy hands of commercial media agencies and populist politicians.

    Moving on to more weighty matters, I wonder who Barnaby will shag next time his eyes start a-roving?

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