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Plan B

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Tony Abbott says he’ll turn back the boats

There’s nothing new about his foolhardy plan. He’s always made that bold claim, however it has now been celebrated with some pathetic journalism from the news.com stable. Under this glaring headline “Tony Abbott says Indonesia will accept boats turned back” we see these amazing predictions.

  • Libs say a Coalition government will solve boats
  • Exactly how Libs will solve boats is not explained
  • Labor could lose 24 seats: poll
  • Labor MPs add fuel to super tax debate

Exactly how do you solve a boat?

And what is the true purpose of this article? It certainly says nothing to confirm how Tony Abbott will turn back the boats. It appears just another Labor bashing exercise to me, as the sub-headings would suggest.

Instead of making up this rubbish why doesn’t the media try reporting facts?

Here’s Fact 1:

Tony Abbott’s plan to send back all asylum-seeker boats has drawn fire from Indonesia’s police as well as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as dangerous and in breach of international law.

The expressions of alarm came a day after The Age reported former Australian Defence Force chief retired admiral Chris Barrie saying it would be close to impossible as well as expensive to send all the boats back.

Yesterday, Indonesia’s police questioned whether Mr Abbott’s policy of using the navy to turn back asylum seeker boats contravenes international law, amid widespread disquiet in the country about the opposition’s hardline position.

Here’s Fact 2:

A former defence chief has declared naval officers would disobey orders from a future Abbott government to turn back asylum-seeker vessels, saying commanders would always put safety ahead of policy.

The Opposition Leader today maintained the controversial policy was the most effective strategy to secure Australia’s borders and prevent mass drowning of asylum seekers.

But Admiral Chris Barrie (ret), who served as Chief of the Defence Force at the time of the Tampa crisis, said government policy could not override international law.

“Policy can’t override international law; nor can it tell a commanding officer what decisions he must make at sea at the time,” he told ABC radio.

Here’s Fact 3:

. . . Tony Abbott stated the following:

Within a week of taking office, I would go to Indonesia to renew our cooperation against people smuggling. I would, of course, politely explain to the Indonesian government that we take as dim a view of Indonesian boats disgorging illegal arrivals in Australia as they take of Australians importing drugs into Bali.

Despite what our individual opinions are of asylum seekers, it is NOT illegal to seek asylum in Australia.

Tony Abbott more than anyone else should know this, and if he doesn’t, then it is soley because of his own ignorance.

As a member of the Refugee Convention, Australia has certain responsibilities in handling asylum seekers.

As a party to the Refugee Convention, Australia has agreed to ensure that people who meet the United Nations definition of refugee are not sent back to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. This is known as the principle of non-refoulement.

Australia also has obligations not to return people who face a real risk of violation of certain human rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These obligations also apply to people who have not been found to be refugees.

Facts aren’t really hard to find, are they?

And here’s another fact: Indonesian authorities have since expressed their opposition to the policy. Yes, it’s in the article . . . but not the headline. Readers might find their way to it if they haven’t been busy clicking the links to anti-Labor rubbish that preceded it.

Instead of stopping the boats, why don’t we instead stop the bullshit?

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  1. Cuppa

    I’m going to Indonesia next week, and I’m going to tell them what’s going to happen! Remember when he boasted thus before a visit to Jakarta, then chickened out when it came to actually ‘telling them’?

    Tony Abbott: All Spin No Substance.

  2. johnlord2013

    On his last visit to Indonesia he didn’t even have the guts to raise the question.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    Indonesia slams Bishop over asylum policy ‘arrogance’ – ABC News

    Dog-whistle politics offends Indonesian ears | Crikey

    Australia – Toothless Tigers visit Indonesia – reported in the UK

    Julie Bishop appeases Jakarta on boats | The Australian

    Coalition hit by Indonesian backlash over asylum-seeker boat policy …

    Tony Abbott tries to mend fences | The Australian

    Visiting Indonesian ministers have said the Federal Opposition’s policy is ‘Impossible’

    Sinking in rhetoric – The West Australian

    Abbott rules out lecturing Indonesia on asylum seekers

    …and lots more.

    Abbott’s and Bishop’s first real face to face foreign diplomacy effort. Big FAIL.

  4. khtagh


    Fact 4 :-
    Lieberal propaganda (Ltd News network) has nothing to do with facts OR truth, the reason Murdoch & Abbott are so arrogantly spreading their lies is they know NO-ONE can or will stop them!

    I’m surprised Murdoch doesn’t the have front page headlines in his toilet papers.

    ‘I have told you who to vote for now just do it or else.’

  5. Dirk Rossey

    Khtagh….. wipe the froth off your lips before you read this…. the facts are so simple …

    fact 1
    2006 – 1 boat in A YEAR….. 4 people in aylum (give or take a few)
    2013 – 23 boats so far (we’re still in March)…. and over 30,000 people in asylum….. (give or take a few)

    fact 2
    2006 – cost of illegal immigration a few million AUD
    2013 – cost of illegal immigration a good few Billion AUD

    fact 3
    2006 – people dying trying to come here… none
    2013 – people dying trying to come here …. over 1000

    fact 4
    2006 – government in charge… liberal
    2013 – government in charge … labor incompetents…

    Now what was that about ‘failed’ policies again ???

  6. Robert

    Tony Abbott doesn’t mind sprouting foolishness as it will help try to win government. Realities will prevail and the Australian public will realise that Tony Abbott’s promises were based on a lie, not unlike everything else that he talks about. After three years the Australian public will be hectored into accepting the ‘difficu;ty’ of dealing with this issue and will and will have forgotten that they voted Tony Abbott into office on a lie (his promise to return the boats back to Indonesia) just like they did when Howard went to war in Iraq on the basis of a lie (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Howard was never punished by the electorate for, in the same way that Tony Abbott won’t be for his current lies and deceptions. People will put it down to the fact that politicians are meant to lie and often do. People are regretably forgiving and uncritical, thinking one party is much the same as the other. Ofcourse they’re not, as they have found out about Newman in Queensland and Tony Abbot if elected.

  7. Möbius Ecko

    Dirk Rossey how about you tell us what Howard spent on the asylum seekers?

    Not a few million that’s for sure.

    So can you please link us to where you got your facts from?

    Also remember the current policy in place is a more punitive form of Howard’s policy. Ergo if Abbott brings in Howard’s policy he will be softening border protection, which is a misnomer in any case.

  8. khtagh

    Dick Rossey

    Children overboard = A lie
    Iraq war WMD = A lie
    Lieberals stopped the boats = A lie
    Asylum seekers are illegal = A lie
    China has no Carbon pricing= A lie
    Abbott didn’t punch a wall = A lie
    Lieberals had nothing to do with Ashbygate= A lie
    2013 – people dying trying to come here …. over 1000 = A lie

    Common factors Lieberals= lies.

    Willful ignorance doesn’t change facts.

  9. Alison White

    Indonesia’s treatment of drug smugglers includes capital punishment – is that how Abbott is implying he will deal with people smugglers OR is it just more empty rhetoric. Dirk – please -you know there are more reasons that contribute to an increase in refugee numbers other than a change of government. You only sound like a totally biased fool when you post such petulance.

  10. Roswell

    So, Dirk, how will Abbott stop the boats?

  11. Anna-Rose Smith

    I do not believe anyone with a heart could actually turn back all the asylum seeker’s boats,most of them would no doubt perish on the return journey and would not be accepted back by Indonesia……we have huge areas of land (in so far uninhabited areas), I have often thought, what a waste of land, could we not use this somehow….. to help these people?

  12. Cuppa

    Well said, Khtagh. Very important to keep pointing out the reams of Lieberal lies.

  13. Jamie

    They have to blow 2 or 3 boats out of the water and they will stop them selves

  14. Miglo

    Jamie, that is true, but not a measure I’d like to see implemented.

  15. Glow.

    Can we send Abbott and his lieberal party on a boat to Indonesia. Maybe Dirk would like to go along for the ride.

  16. Jennifer Fallon

    This is an article written by journalists who interviewed asylum seekers before they left Indonesia. It explains how the deal is done and also the fact that because official channels take so long most of them would get on a boat if they could find the money. Our “border protection” policies are irrelevant to them.

  17. Jennifer Fallon

    I have this vision of a fleet of what…10…20.. 50…naval vessels towing back a fishing boat each…while 200 sail past going ner ner. Our entire fleet arrives in Indonesia where one policeman meets them on the dock and says piss off they ain’t OUR problem.

  18. Min

    Dirk, you’re clearly confused. It is not “illegal” to seek asylum. An illegal immigrant is one who arrives, just *might* claim asylum but is found to have no claim to remain in Australia OR it is a visa overstayer OR someone working outside the terms of their Visa such as on a Tourist Visa. These are the illegal immigrants and the vast majority of these arrive by ‘plane.

  19. Min

    As Tony Abbott insists that he will bring back stringent requirements for TPVs, the last time we had these, one result was a huge increase in the numbers of women and children boarding the vessels due to the fact that there was no family reunion option. Therefore we can expect the same this time around should it happen. Now add in Tony Abbott’s insistence that he will change government policy to order boats to turn back then as Admiral Barrie has stated, you have a disaster waiting to happen.

  20. Dr Right

    Here are some facts for most of you to choke on.
    End of 2001, Pacific solution came in 2002 arrivals = 1 person on 1 boat. 2002 until the pacific solution was scrapped in 2008, total = 449. These are FACTS, not ALP BS. Start of 2009 till end of 2012 total = 31048 + over 3000 so far this year. Now tell me the full Pacific solution didn’t work, oh and please don’t say “oh but people are in more danger now” because that is simply untrue.
    Here is the source:

    Oh and before any of you say I don’t know anything and need an education. I have Bachelors degrees in History, Politics/ International Relations, Geography and Sociology, with post graduate qualifications in fields relevant to this discussion.

    I have read comments from many people here who clearly have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, and should stop embarrassing themselves on the net. Forget about ideology, irrational beliefs and assumptions and look at the facts.
    The fact is that the full spectrum of the Pacific solution worked, and since being scrapped, tens of thousands of people have arrived by boat and thousands have died trying. The blame can be put fairly and squarely at the feet of those whom scrapped the Pacific solution and no one else.

  21. Fed up

    Morrison has said that turning the boats back to Sri Lanka is working.

    Sorry, the boats are not being turned back. They are being stopped from leaving.

    There is a difference.

    Indonesia will not take the people back. We learnt that quickly when Indonesia only allowed those to alight from that ship in Indonesia port, if we agreed to take them,.

  22. lmrh5

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

  23. Bacchus

    Dr Right Wing Spin Merchant obviously hasn’t read the document to which he/she linked either TS…

  24. Truth Seeker

    Dr Right, if in fact you do have all those qualifications, you have just proved that academic qualifications aren’t necessarily worth the paper they’re written on, otherwise you would know that the circumstances in the world were completely different then and the numbers of refugees were already declining, but don’t let the facts get in the way of a BS story. 🙁
    IMHO you have left part of your name off, it should have been DR Right Wing Spin Merchant.

    Cheers 😀

  25. Col

    Facts aren’t really hard to find, are they?

    Spot on. ‘Facts’ (and there is almost an infinte number of same re particular events) always result from the application of a particular and peculiar methodology as well as other variables. As you suggest ‘facts’ are a dime a dozen. For example, some people produce ‘facts’ to show that the world isn’t warming. LOL.

    No, the ‘epistemological’ endeavour must go way beyond ‘facts’. It must take into account the ‘theory’ underpinning the ‘fact’ production in the first place (the motivation), the methodology that’s employed and ultimately the ‘meaning’ that is then given to those theory laden ‘facts’.

    It’s a problem that serious historians know only too well.

    For example, I’ve crossed the Rubicon (nothing unusual in that because thousands of Italians do it every day) but because a future Roman Emperor did it once, historians give a particular meaning to it.

  26. Col

    As for Dr Right, your ‘education’ has let you down rather badly. Indeed tragically so.

    As for:

    Forget about ideology, irrational beliefs and assumptions and look at the facts.

    Really? You’re hilarious. Just imagine, ‘ ideological free knowledge’.

    Care to nominate what institution awarded your ‘post graduate qualifications in fields relevant to this discussion’? Bet you won’t but if you’re feeling particularly brave you might nominate the academic(s) that gave such emdorsement. But be careful now because he/she might see as you are reflecting on his/her personal academic standing.

    Dr Right, you really do need an education!


  27. Truth Seeker

    Bacchus, He was probably too busy reading all his qualifications 😆

    Cheers 😀

  28. Lev Lafayette

    He could turn the boats back; by having Australia leave the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

  29. pterosaur1


    Turn back the boats Abbott! Howard did it and so can you! you guys have rocks in your heads!
    Stop being so stupid!

    Thus illustrating the fundamental failure of an ideology reliant on opposition to reality, and expressed through lies.

  30. chikania

    What the devil are you lot talking about!! Whatever Abbott does or doesn’t do atm isn’t the question! it’s the 30,000 people from these boats, in a few short years, that have never contributed to Australia, and that we are feeding, clothing, medicating and even ending up in court for such ridiculous things as slipping on soap (that we provided) in showers..that we also provided!

    Turn back the boats Abbott! Howard did it and so can you! you guys have rocks in your heads!
    Stop being so stupid!

  31. LOVO

    Howard didnt turn back any boats… and as far as I’m aware most of those boat people were proven to be refugees and are now living here….. so what did Howard “stop” 😕

  32. Alison White

    Howard evidently stopped some Australians from having a heart….

  33. OldSapperJim

    Fact One: When push comes to Shove, politicians cannot tell the armed forces what to do!

    Service officers are bound to the Constitution and their oath of allegiance to HM QEII, her heirs and successors, which is explicit in their form of commission, signed by the Governor General, on behalf of the Sovereign. In particular section 68:

    Command of naval and military forces.
    68. The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative.

    If so moved, a service officer may tell a politician to POQ and more!

    It is only a matter of courtesy that service officers do as instructed by politicians. They have no obligation in law.

    Fact Two: Law of the Sea – Article 98

    Duty to render assistance
    1. Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the passengers:

    (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost;

    (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him;

    (c) after a collision, to render assistance to the other ship, its crew and its passengers and, where possible, to inform the other ship of the name of his own ship, its port of registry and the nearest port at which it will call.

    2. Every coastal State shall promote the establishment, operation and maintenance of an adequate and effective search and rescue service regarding safety on and over the sea and, where circumstances so require, by way of mutual regional arrangements cooperate with neighbouring States for this purpose.

    I do not know how any Politician can wriggle around these legal issues to simply “turn the boats around” without; a. constitutional amendment, and/or getting the UN to amend the the Law of the Sea?


  34. TeddySea

    Dirk Rossey ….. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  35. Pingback: Tony Abbott says he'll turn the boats back | Australia: The 'Lucky Country' | Scoop.it

  36. Fed up

    One question that is not being asked, is why do we expect that countries that already have high numbers of poor and disadvantage should be expect to take these refugees.

    The numbers within the scheme of things are not that high. It appears that ,many that are coming now, actually have professional skills.

    This nations still has a need for people and skills. Why do we expect people that could be of use, to rot in poverty, in nearby countries.

    Mr. Rudd, as PM did attempt to return some asylum seekers, which Indonesia refuse to take.

    Yes, Abbott can turn about as many boats as he likes. Where do they go, if Indonesia does not allow them back into their territory?

    That is the reality that Abbott is ignoring. What it would do to the relationship between countries does not bear thinking about.

    The PM needs to bring to the table, quickly, new arrangements that she can negoiate among the countries within this region.

    The PM needs to tighten that wedge on Abbott.

  37. hannahquinn

    There is little Abbott will not do or say to achieve the Office of Prime Minister. That, and not Australia or or it’s many and diverse people, are his true focus.

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