Have the Boats really Stopped?
GLRAR was surprised that On Water Matters were revealed recently in an effort to convince the community that the boats had stopped. The Minister for Immigration announced that 20 boats with 633 people on board had been turned around in the past 18 months. In actual fact 20 boats had attempted to reach Australia in that time but had been stopped and the people returned to Indonesia or in some cases back to Vietnam. This is contrary to our responsibility to observe the UN convention on seeking asylum. The media has revealed that a boat attempting to sail to New Zealand was stopped by Australian navy vessel and the people transferred to two smaller boats. An Australian officer is alleged to have paid the six crew of the boat $5000 each to sail the asylum seekers back to Indonesia. This boat was not destined for Australia and it is questionable that it should have been stopped as it is understood to have not been in Australian waters.