Sunday, 9 February 2014

Is the Abbott Government about to be caught out in a lie again?


After Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister David Johnston all pilloried the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for reporting the allegations concerning mistreatment of certain asylum seekers intercepted at sea, it appears that the public broadcaster may have no case to answer.

The Sydney Morning Herald


The ''torture at sea'' affair now has some of the troubling hallmarks of the ''children overboard'' episode of 2001, with a twist.


It was Fasher who alleged a month ago that three asylum seekers had their hands deliberately burned by the Australian navy during its second operation to tow back an asylum vessel to Indonesia in January.... 
His account has been consistent from the first. He says he has no doubt that what he saw at close quarters on about January 3 was three people's hands being deliberately held to a hot exhaust pipe by Australian naval personnel to punish them for protesting, and to deter others from doing one simple thing: going to the toilet too often. 
They are allegations which, when given credence and air time by the ABC, encouraged the Abbott government and Rupert Murdoch's News Limited to open a culture war with the national broadcaster, to review its funding and question its reach into Asia.....

Border Protection officials will make fresh inquiries into claims that its sailors deliberately burned the hands of asylum seekers after a witness gave Fairfax Media a detailed account of the alleged abuse.
After weeks of flat denials by Defence, Customs and the Abbott government, Fairfax Media understands that the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service will lead a review of the information that forms the basis of the denials.
After Fairfax Media on Friday published detailed allegations by a Sudanese man who says he witnessed sailors forcing the hands of three asylum seekers onto a hot engine pipe, the government again refused to say why it was so certain the allegations were untrue.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Remember this from Sky News in November last year?
“A woman claims the 'inappropriate behaviour' that prompted the navy to launch an investigation into sailors involved sexual assaults on young male sailors on HMAS Ballarat.
The Navy has confirmed the ship involved in the allegations is Anzac Class Frigate HMAS Ballarat, which is currently deployed on border protection operations.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said the navy was being as open and transparent as it could within the limits of its investigation processes.
'Allegations such as these are serious and it is critical that the investigative process is properly followed. As such I will not speculate on any aspect of the allegations,' he said in a statement on Thursday.
'We have dealt with the allegations swiftly and I reiterate that inappropriate behaviour is not consistent with our values and is not tolerated in Navy.'
The woman who made the sexual assault claims is a former navy member who alleged younger male sailors were set upon and sexually assaulted by their crewmates.
'People were set upon by other members, stripped off and had things essentially put in their bums,' the woman, identified only as Bridget, told Network Ten on Thursday.
In one instance, a sailor was left with a bleeding rectum after being anally penetrated by a whiteboard marker, she claimed.
Bridget said her friends still serving in the navy had asked her to get the truth out, because people were scared.
'If it happened in a normal workplace, the police would be called, charges would be laid,' she said.
The Australian Defence Force opened a formal investigation on Tuesday after allegations against some members of an unnamed ship's company were made by a sailor.
However investigators will not be able to join the ship for several days.
HMAS Ballarat responded to a distress call from an asylum-seeker boat off the coast of Indonesia.
Australian Customs and Border Protection and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority could not comment on Thursday. The federal government is not scheduled to brief the nation on border protection until Friday.
However Indonesian search and rescue agency, BASARNAS, has confirmed to AAP that a distress call had been received from a vessel in the Sunda Strait earlier on Thursday.
The Indonesian spokesman said HMAS Ballarat had responded to the distress call from the boat.”
http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=922481&vId=4219185

Elizabeth Holloway said...


If you want to understand the Navy's treatment of criticisms, ask your local Library, or buy the book entitled "Breaking Ranks". By Lieutenant Commander Peter Cabban, published by Random House in 2005, it tells the autobiograhical story of the officer who had been second-in-comand in Voyager, and who retired just 5 weeks before she collided with HMAS Melbourne in February 1964,with the loss of 82 lives. It was the largest loss of life in Australian peacetime naval history.
Cabban was never called to testify at the inquiry, though he could have given evidence as to the character of the captain in charge of Voyager, found in a second inquiry much later to have been 'unfit to command'.
I wonder if we have a parallel here, in that as at that time, the government of the day was unwilling to allow any evidencein the first inquiry that may have reflected poorly on the Navy or its senior personnel.
This courageous story chronicles a 'saga of duplicity, dishonour and corruption at the highest levels of government and the public service.' It is also an account of the 'extraordinary courage required to be a "whistleblower" in 1960s Australia, and to break ranks after a lifetime of loyalty to the Navy.'
It will take a similar act of courage for the truth to come out now as to orders issued to our Navy regarding treatment of asyllum seekers hoping to reach sanctuary in Australia.
If you want to understand the Navy's treatment of criticisms, ask your local Library, or buy the book entitled "Breaking Ranks". By Lieutenant Commander Peter Cabban, published by Random House in 2005, it tells the autobiograhical story of the officer who had been second-in-comand in Voyager, and who retired just 5 weeks before she collided with HMAS Melbourne in February 1964,with the loss of 82 lives. It was the largest loss of life in Australian peacetime naval history.
Cabban was never called to testify at the inquiry, though he could have given evidence as to the character of the captain in charge of Voyager, found in a second inquiry much later to have been 'unfit to command'.
I wonder if we have a parallel here, in that as at that time, the government of the day was unwilling to allow any evidencein the first inquiry that may have reflected poorly on the Navy or its senior personnel.
This courageous story chronicles a 'saga of duplicity, dishonour and corruption at the highest levels of government and the public service.' It is also an account of the 'extraordinary courage required to be a "whistleblower" in 1960s Australia, and to break ranks after a lifetime of loyalty to the Navy.'
It will take a similar act of courage for the truth to come out now as to orders issued to our Navy regarding treatment of asylum seekers hoping to reach sanctuary in Australia.