23 June 2012

When an asylum seeker is worth zero

It would seem this is something not looked at by the Australian people government.
On Sunday two fishermen in the south west of Tasmania went out to check their craypots and never returned. They were reported on Monday as missing and today the search has been declared a recovery mission and the divers have been sent in to search for bodies.  A dingy and life jacket have been found but it isn't know whether the men were actually wearing any life jackets.
The search for the two men began immediately after they were declared missing and lasts till now.  So far totaling six days or 120 hrs.

In international waters, half way between Christmas Island and the south of Indonesia 90+ asylums seekers are dead because they weren't given the same attention.  Their lives aren't equal value.

Three people have been confirmed dead and rescue authorities say there are more bodies in the water.
  • 108 adult men and one 13-year-old boy rescued so far
  • Three people confirmed dead and about 90 more remain missing
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority says rescuers still searching for survivors
  • All known survivors have been taken ashore
  • Six ships and several aircraft are on the scene
  • Australian authorities say they knew the boat was in trouble early on Wednesday and told it to return to Indonesia

On Tuesday night at 10pm the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) were called by a person on the boat that 200+ asylum seekers were travelling to Christmas Island on.  The call was one seeking assistance as the boat was taking on water.  This is not surprising considering the condition of the boats the smugglers use to transport these people.  No location was given, yet 3.5hrs later another call was received by AMSA and a location of 38 nautical miles south of java was given.  AMSA advised the caller to turn and travel northward.

In an interview Jason Clare (home affairs minister) gave to ABC Lateline one of the first things he says is that they didn't take the advise given to them.  As if this absolves Australia of the blame for the almost 100 deaths that ensued.
He also claimed that 'we' never know how many people are on board.  I think we can safely say that almost all boats carrying asylum seekers average around 200 people.  This bodes the question of why only 3-4 inflatable rescue boats were dropped?

He also stated that although the boat was in international waters, it is agreed that it was in the Indonesian search area, BUT that AMSA are aware that Australian search facilities are better so we usually help out.  Why then did we leave it until Thursday afternoon to do anything?   Oh that's right, they should have followed the advise and headed back up to Indonesia.

Could that six hours of sitting on your hands and reciting "lalalalalalalalalalalala" saved the other 100 passengers?

Jason, did you know the boat was there before the call or not??  Faxes would say you did, yet you seem unsure??

Today, search the 36hr window of 'opportunity' for finding any more people alive has been passed and they are just going to pick up the bodies and go home.  In south west Tasmania, the 120hr search effort has continued on.  I don't begrudge the Tasmania search at all, but I feel sick that the 100 missing north of Christmas Island don't seem to be deserving of the same efforts.

Another thing mentioned by Jason Clare that makes me want to vomit is when (four minutes into the interview) he casually states that the problem is quite a bit bigger that it seems.  "....200 drowned in Dec when the boat didn't even make it out of the Java Sea..... 100 washed up on shore and the other 100 lay at the bottom of the Java Sea.."   Said without an ounce of compassion or emotion.

Yes, Jason Clare is just doing his job.  Julia, Tony and the rest of those who apparently represent Australians  I blame you all.  You all have blood on your hands.

I hang my head in shame and cry. 

No comments: