Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Home » Australian Politics » “The next move, on Monday morning, was to the orange lifeboat.”

“The next move, on Monday morning, was to the orange lifeboat.”

The brilliance of the government’s tactics in using those orange boats is being  refined with each time that they have to be deployed:

Some of the 28 asylum seekers returned to Indonesia on an Australian lifeboat. Photo: Michael Bachelard

Some of the 28 asylum seekers returned to Indonesia on an Australian lifeboat. Photo: Michael Bachelard

The asylum seekers were transferred to the Customs vessel – perhaps MV Triton, though they do not know the name. As they were loaded on board, officers were ”pushing one by one with hands behind our back”, Ali says, showing on his friend how their arms were bent into a painful position.

Any objections or requests for food and water were shouted down, no discussion entered into.

”He says: ‘Don’t speak. Shut up. F— you’,” Ali says, the others nodding. One man, Khazim Mohammad, from Iraq, was lying sick on the boat: ”The [Australian officer] said, ‘You’re joking. Liar, liar’ … and grabbed him and pulled him.”

The Indonesian crew have told Central Java police that the wooden boat was then ”blown up”. They cannot say how this happened, but speculate on a bomb.

On board the large Customs ship, interaction between crew and asylum seekers was minimal. Once their details were taken and entered on a computer, the men were given wristbands with numbers on them.

For about three days, they say they were kept below decks.

”Inside the big ship, no sun, no air. We don’t know if it’s night or day. We can’t sleep; loud noises,” says Ali.

They were fed once – cheese sandwiches – and given a cup and told to fill it up in the bathroom to drink. ”For two days we went on hunger strike.”

The Indonesian crew was kept in a separate part of the ship.

On the Customs patrol boat, Ashrof says someone searched their belongings, and all valuables – money, phone, SIM card – were taken. He does not know who took them. No phones means that, unlike on other ships, there is no video footage of their experience.

The next move, on Monday morning, was to the orange lifeboat. It was the first time they had seen it and the transfer was done in sight of land.

”The soldiers brought [us to] the orange boat … and closed the door and said to the driver of this boat … ‘Go to that island’,” Ali says.

Again the Australians would not answer questions. The Indonesians – who spoke almost no English – said it was Christmas Island. Ali did not believe them.

But there was no chance of turning back to the real Christmas Island. The crew, though experienced sailors, had never seen anything like the orange blob they now captained, and there was not enough fuel to go anywhere except to that island on the horizon.

The island, it turned out, was Java.

The lifeboats are small and inside they feel smaller. They are dark and airless with only a couple of small, high windows. Having 28 on board would have felt crowded – not everyone could have a seat, though the nameplate says it is rated for 55 people.

”No air inside and no airconditioning for the orange boat. We are very sick. We have no oxygen. We are very sick,” says Ali. ”It’s like animals. Animals [cannot be treated] like this.”

There was water on board and muesli bars.

The journey lasted only about three hours before the boat ran aground in huge seas on a rugged bay near the village of Kebumen. They were 30 metres from the beach and the surf was high, but there was little choice but to jump.

”We jumped from the boat. We are at the beach, ocean high. We arrive and drift, arrive and drift. We think we will die. We think we will die. We can’t swim,” Ali says.

Finally on the beach the exhausted men were confronted with a steep, slippery slope to climb before a local farmer found them and called the police.

The crew is now in custody being questioned by police under people smuggling laws for taking people out of the country illegally and then, at the insistence of the Australian Customs and Border Protection, back into it. The asylum seekers are bound for detention, although they don’t know where.

Sarrah Hansen-Young a very vocal useful idiot  gives us a selfie taken at the Gay `Mardi Gras

Sarrah Hansen-Young a very vocal useful idiot gives us a selfie taken at the Gay `Mardi Gras

Some how I doubt that this group of chancers will be trying again and while I expect that the usual suspects  will whine about the less that luxurious  conditions in the orange boats , or the confiscation  of mobile phones  from this cohort  but there is no escaping the simple fact that this tactic works as a way to return people who try to enter this country illegally under the pretense that they are refugees . Labor believed all of  the lies that they were told because   they wanted the preferences of Greens voters  and the Greens were the most useful idiots to the people smuggling trade but we , the Australian people, want  orderly a controlled  immigration program that chooses socially useful immigrants that will help make this country a better place  instead of self selectors who bring with them a legacy of self serving deceit.

Cheers Comrades

Who needs bullets?

Who needs bullets?


  1. les h matthews says:

    Sometimes I wonder if you are in fact human.

    By the way Sarah Hanson-Young is not an “idiot” as you describe her, she just has a different set of values and beliefs than you. Fortunately.

    Having said that if one was to reverse the observation and consider yourself instead would you prefer to be called an ‘idiot’ or some other less insulting description? I know what I would like to call you but common decency prevents me from doing so,

  2. Ray Dixon says:

    It’s not genius, Iain, it’s arrogance. What’s the difference between Australia putting people in these orange boats, only giving them enough fuel to reach Java, then pushing them off into Indonesian waters and the people smugglers illegally entering our waters? There isn’t one. This is a policy that says two wrongs make a right. It’s not the answer and it is slapping our biggest neighbour in the face.

  3. Iain Hall says:

    I always use any pejoratives in my prose with extreme care and due consideration of what they actually mean thus when I call Sarah Hansen Young a “useful idiot” I am doing so not to say that she is stupid or below average intelligence but to say that she is, like so many advocates for “asylum seekers” being incredibly naive.
    I refer you to this definition of a “useful idiot”

    useful idiot

    In political jargon, useful idiot is a pejorative term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause. The term has been used to refer to Soviet sympathizers in Western countries. …

    BTW I get called all sorts of names and generally I am indifferent to them, don’t take that as permission to call me names in these pages because doing so will get you a ticket to Bansville.


    It’s not genius, Iain, it’s arrogance. What’s the difference between Australia putting people in these orange boats, only giving them enough fuel to reach Java, then pushing them off into Indonesian waters and the people smugglers illegally entering our waters? There isn’t one. This is a policy that says two wrongs make a right. It’s not the answer and it is slapping our biggest neighbor in the face.

    Our biggest neighbor has for the last six years been punching us in the face with nonsense like refusing to take people that they asked us to rescue in their waters when both the maritime convention and the laws of the sea required them to do so. They have shown nothing but contempt for the sovereignty of our borders and made bugger all effort to stem the use of their territory, their boats and their nationals to facilitate people smuggling. None the less they still hold their hands out to us for aid money and our largess.

    I know that you re not a chess player Ray but I suggest that you imagine that your team has found a new (entirely legal with in the laws of the game) way to score goals that the other team has no answer for and that this new play they are now turning around a six year losing streak don’t you think that you would be praising them for their imagination and daring?

  4. Ray Dixon says:

    There’s nothing chess-like, inventive or subtle about what Abbott et al are doing, Iain. They are giving the asylum seekers a brand new boat, putting fuel in it (a little), taking them out of our waters and pointing them in the direction of another country (and not far from that country). After finding them not in that country’s waters and knowing they’re not citizens of that country. It matters not that the boat people departed from Indonesia, once they’ve left Indonesia they are not Indonesia’s problem.

    You need to put yourself in Indonesia’s shoes before you judge them so harshly, Iain. Imagine that Indonesia was the asylum seekers desired destination and they came into our country on temporary/tourist visas on their way there (as they now do in Indonesia). They then get on a people smuggler’s boat in far north WA and head for Java but the Indonesians grab them in their waters, put them in a fibreglass orange lifeboat, tow them back to Australian waters (or near enough) and say “head for that island, you’ve only got enough fuel to get there and nowhere else”. And then they wash up on some remote WA beach, if they’re lucky. There would be outrage in Australia and you’d join it.

  5. GD says:

    That’s a hell of a convoluted argument, Ray.

    Iain, your post nails the issue precisely. Of course the usual suspects here will deride it, wanting nothing less than open borders.

    Never once has a leftist on this blog put a number on our refugee intake, let alone our ‘uninvited, queue jumping, freeloading, economic country shoppers’ intake.

  6. GD says:

    In further news, the newly extended, and now one hour, Bolt Report was broadcast yesterday. Its continued success is proof that Australia needs at least one hour of conservative political commentary to balance the obscene tax-payer funded 24 hour leftist broadcasts by the ABC.

    Here’s the fabulous panel discussion with right wing Peter Costello and left wing Michael Costa.


  7. Ray Dixon says:

    I do not want “open borders”, GD. Do not put words in my mouth please. And please refrain from labelling me a “leftist”. I am not. I am more central. I understand how from your position on the extreme far right everyone to the left of, say, Tony Abbott appears to be a “leftist” but that just shows how out of kilter your views are to the great majority.

    And simply calling my argument “convoluted” does not make it so. Nor does it refute it.

  8. les says:

    and never once has a clown from the right been open and honest regarding the subject of refugees GD including yourself.

    You don’t really care about refugees risking their lives at sea ‘in leaky boats’. All the noise you make about saving lives is simply hiding the fact that you are deep down a racist. They are the wrong color, the wrong religion and they breed. That’s the real reason. Stop pretending you care. You don’t.

    As for watching the Bolt Report I did, once.

  9. Iain Hall says:

    I have precisely the same attitude to anyone trying to enter this country without a visa (or to those who overstay) regardless of their skin colour, The dissonance you perceive as a lack of openness and honesty is not that at all its your own prejudice against conservatives and your own belief that all of us are deep down closet racists. You are wrong.
    As for caring well naturally enough I have a varying care factor, the same as everyone does , that is to say I care more about people that I know personally,and a little less about those who are strangers to me. When it comes to Asylum seekers I care that they don’t drown but I am relatively indifferent to the lives they may have led in their home countries beyond a consideration of how valid their claims of persecution may be.
    Finally I have been a student of religion and religious faith for my entire life and I utterly reject the notion that all faiths are equal in their virtue and I make no bones about the fact that I think that the most pernicious system of belief is Islam so I likewise make no apology for thinking that we should be even more careful about admitting followers of that faith into this country than we should be of believers in other religions.

  10. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, your last para makes it clear your main objection to asylum seekers is based on their religious beliefs.

  11. Iain Hall says:

    Its certainly one of my concerns Ray but it ranks no higher than any other.

  12. Ray Dixon says:

    Okay, Iain, I won’t pursue that one any further (here). But this little orange lifeboat tactic you laud so loudly is going to come back and bite us (or Abbott) on the bum, pretty damn hard I’d say.

  13. les says:

    your little poster is interesting Iain

    a, how do you know there have been no boats? given the reluctance of the minister to be open and honest with taxpayers on this subject why should one believe anything he does say?

    b, so, there are no costs associated with the coalition arrangements? operation sovereign borders is cost neutral is that right?

    don’t bother trying to spin a reply I know what you will say..

  14. Iain Hall says:

    a/ the same way that we knew when a boat had arrived under the previous government.

    b/ of course there are ongoing cost Les, but they are substantially less than they were when our navy was a taxi service for illegal immigrants

  15. richard ryan says:

    i I hear Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono nearly choked on his nashi goreng, after hearing Tony Abbott telling Russia to respect its neighbours borders. No mention of Afghanistan, or Iraq and of course Indonesia’s borders—–Abbott patron saint of HYPOCRISY—GO AWAY you f#ck wit.

  16. GD says:

    Richard blasted:

    Abbott patron saint of HYPOCRISY—GO AWAY you f#ck wit.

    Richard patron idiot of leftist delusion – go away you demented fool.

    lowercase les wimpered:

    operation sovereign borders is cost neutral is that right?

    Well it’s got to be a lot less than paying welfare for the interlopers and their families for the next fifty years. Wake up to yourself!

    Or as Iain more mildly put it:

    of course there are ongoing costs Les, but they are substantially less than they were when our navy was a taxi service for illegal immigrants

    Iain, les doesn’t want to hear that. It goes against his left wing view of the predominately conservative voting Australian public.

    “predominately conservative voting Australian public” is what galls these ragtag leftists who refuse to accept the fact that the majority of Australians at the last election voted for the LNP.

  17. GD says:

    Ray said:

    I do not want “open borders”

    If you disagree with the LNP policy of stopping the boats, which has so far proved a resounding success, what is your policy ideal for immigration?

    Clearly you must have one, otherwise you’re merely mouthing off against a successful government policy which is working as planned, despite negative criticism from Labor and the Greens.

  18. Ray Dixon says:

    If you disagree with the LNP policy of stopping the boats, which has so far proved a resounding success, what is your policy ideal for immigration?

    Stopping the boats is not an immigration policy, GD. It’s a policy about a tiny, tiny percentage of (potential) immigrants. Designed to stop them. What is the LNP policy on immigration? Substantially the same as the ALP’s policy. You’re rather confused, old son.

  19. GD says:

    Ray said:

    Stopping the boats is not an immigration policy…It’s a policy about a tiny, tiny percentage of (potential) immigrants. Designed to stop them.

    Stopping the boats is a policy about stopping the ever increasing influx of country shoppers forcing their way illegally into Australia while pushing aside genuine refugees languishing in UN refugee camps. The left don’t seem to care about those languishing in UN camps.

    Of course stopping the boats is part of the Libs’ immigration policy; it’s the bit that says illegal queue jumpers will, under the Liberal government, be determined as to whether they are bona fide desperate refugees or economic country shoppers.

    As for your claim that the illegal influx under Labor, 50,000+, are a ‘tiny, tiny percentage of potential immigrants’, well at the moment you’re right, however with an open borders policy as advocated by the left, this ‘tiny, tiny percentage’ will become a flood.

    What part of that can’t you understand?

    Even that ‘tiny, tiny percentage’ has already changed the face of Western Sydney. It has increased crime rates and alienated locals.

    But bugger them, it’s all about multiculturalism isn’t it?

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    I don’t advocate “open borders”. I have already told you that. The number of boat arrivals did get too big under the ALP (not their fault) so they finally toughened up a few months before the election, as you know. Abbott has gone further (much further) and in my opinion is damaging our international name & reputation by giving asylum seekers the means and assistance to land illegally in Indonesia (I know that will go over your head). I don’t agree with him or you that asylum seekers are a major problem, but I do agree that their arrivals need to be made more orderly. He’s gone too far.

    As for Western Sydney, I don’t know if what you say about its ‘changing face’ is true or not or even if it’s a real or imagined problem. But so what? No suburb is immune to change, up or down in demographic. That’s life. If you don’t like it there is an obvious solution. But I’ve told you that before too.

  21. les says:

    “Which part of this issue can’t you understand?”

    The part I can’t understand is why numbskulls like you GD insist on turning this issue into a battle between the left and the right. It’s not.

    It’s a humanitarian issue GD and sooner you and your like stop your bloody arrogant posturing the sooner we find a real solution.

    After all they are people we are talking about GD you do realise that don’t you?

  22. Iain Hall says:

    We know they are people Les but that does not oblige us to let them into our territory, after all it is an integral part of our nature to protect and exclude others from the territory and resources that we claim for ourselves and our descendants.
    Personally I find this no borders universality with all people rather quaint and incredibly naive.

  23. Ray Dixon says:

    Here, GD, I’ve done some real estate research for you that might help you get out of your ‘muslim infested’ Western Sydney:

    AUSTRALIA’S cheapest town has a median price of just $32,500.
    A search of the nation’s property markets has identified 43 locations where the median price is less than $185,000.
    For little more than the deposit needed for a capital city mortgage, investors could become owners in suburbs with high returns and capital growth potential, the research by Australian Property Investor magazine found.
    The magazine named Brewarrina in northwestern New South Wales as the cheapest place to purchase property, with the $32,500 median price.

    It’s a pretty little place too, with good fishing in the Barwon River. I don’t think you’ll find any asylum seekers there although it has a large indigenous population, which of course you won’t mind because aborigines are real Australian ‘locals’, aren’t they GD?

  24. les says:

    I would imagine the native’s of this land had very much the same thought when our ancestors arrived unannounced by boat Iain.

  25. Iain Hall says:

    Maybe so Les but the difference is that we are capable of repelling new claimants and the previous inhabitants were not because when it comes to the crunch you don’t own a land unless you can exclude others from it.

  26. GD says:

    Thanks for that link, Ray. I’m not quite ready to move to the west of NSW. As a young muso in the 70s, I drove through those parts of the country a number of times on the way to Adelaide and Perth.

    There weren’t many nightclub gigs in Wilcannia or Narabri in those days, I guess it hasn’t changed much.

    I’ll stick to busking for the Mussies.. they just love the ‘tea-towel on the head routine’. It’s going over a treat, my turban on the ground has never had so many dinars in it.

    I’m so happy..

  27. Iain Hall says:

    That is a sweet little ditty GD

  28. GD says:

    Iain, it’s on the Top 20, or whatever they call it these days. It’s proof that pop music hasn’t gone completely feral.

    And it makes me feel..happy!

    The video’s fun as well!

  29. GD says:

    lower case les reckoned:

    It’s a humanitarian issue GD and sooner you and your like stop your bloody arrogant posturing the sooner we find a real solution.

    Yes, lower case les, I do understand that. So how many people should Australia take? You do, of course, know that Australia has one of the most generous humanitarian policies in the world?

    There are 45 million refugees globally. Are you proposing that Australia, with a population of 24 million takes in another 45 million? Are you nuts?


  30. Ray Dixon says:

    Glad you took my advice to ‘buy in the bush’ so well, GD. Actually, it’s not as silly as it sounds and investing in country towns is going to be a good idea pretty soon. Maybe not towns as remote as that one but certainly in some parts. What’s happening in Sydney & Melbourne with house prices and populations is going to continue to escalate and will drive people out a lot further. I’m actuallly looking seriously at areas in Victoria that previously I wouldn’t dream of investing in.

    As for “how many people should Australia take?”, we do not take enough and need a much bigger population.

  31. Paul Murray says:

    Funny as hell. “We went on a hunger strike” – for two days. “There was no aircon!” on a lifeboat. “We were jammed in like animals!” – for three hours. These are not refugees. Refugees don’t rock that feeling of butthurt entitlement.

  32. Paul Murray says:

    Oh – check out the gut on that one in the white t-shirt on the left. “Refugees”. Right.

  33. GD says:

    Yes, Paul. 🙂 If they’re fleeing persecution why have they left the women and children behind?

  34. Ray Dixon says:

    I hope you’re NOT “the” Paul Murray from PM live on Foxtel. You’re not doing yourself much credit with those comments, mate.

  35. GD says:

    I reckon he’s saying it like it is. Calling a spade a spade. Ray, if they really are refugees fleeing persecution where are the women and children? Can’t be that much persecution, more like country shopping.

  36. Ray Dixon says:

    Yeah, GD, he’s laughing at poor people from 3rd world countries trying to find a new life. Hilarious. “Country shopping”? Well, yes, we would be at the top of the “shopping” list for displaced people I reckon. We should be proud that others want to live (and work) here. To build a new life like so many immigrants & refugeees have done before, and will continue to do. What’s your point? Oh, they only come here to bludge off our welfare system and plan terrorist attacks, is that what you believe? Don’t answer – we all know you do. Sad.

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