catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Was the PM being honest about the Oceanic Viking?

with 18 comments

A report in today’s Australian states that the Government received advice that four illegal immigrants on board the Oceanic Viking were a threat to Australia’s national security before their removal to Christmas Island.

Recall that the Prime Minister slammed Wilson Tuckey for saying that there could be terrorists on board on 22 October

Interview 22 October 2009:

PM: I’ve seen some comments from Mr Tuckey this morning. The first point I’d make is that in Australia, for a long, long time, we have applied health checks and security checks to asylum seekers wherever they come from around the world. And these are prudent approaches, it’s the right approach, to ensure that folk who come to our country have met basic physical standards, but also met basic security standards as well. And this has been the case for a long, long time and it is the case today as well.

But when I look at these remarks today, they are of an entirely different character. You know, since World War II we’ve had nearly three quarters of a million refugees make their home in Australia. We’ve had about 150,000 come to make their home in Australia in the period of the Howard Government, 15,000 or so arrived by boat in the period of the Howard Government.

So what is Mr Tuckey actually saying about all those people? I think these are deeply divisive, disgusting remarks and they do not belong in any mainstream Australian political party. I think Mr Turnbull should show some leadership, and withdraw his support for Mr Tuckey’s preselection as a Liberal candidate for the next election.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, are you confident that there are no terrorists onboard these boats that are coming to Australia?

PM: Can I say that, throughout the period that I’ve been Prime Minister, and I’m sure the case before as well, when it comes to asylum seekers, whether by boat or by other means, necessary security checks are made to ensure that people pass security muster. That’s what they’re there for. Always have been, and will be into the future. Therefore, that’s the way in which you handle these things.
But to go out there and to smear asylum seekers in the way in which Mr Tuckey has done, I say again, is divisive, I think is disgusting, and I don’t believe belongs in a mainstream political party today.

Did the Government risk/compromise our national security for political convenience? Should Chris Evans resign as Immigration Minister for allowing these four to enter Australia in full knowledge that they were a national security risk?

Written by Samuel J

January 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

18 Responses

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  1. Love him or loathe him, Tuckey was right. Evans should go.


    January 12, 2010 at 9:34 pm

  2. Will we ever know what the “adverse security assessment”is?

    Probably never, ASIO answer to no-one.

    Parking tickets, jay walking? – could be anything

    Tuckey doesnt know either which makes his remarks even more suspicious.


    January 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

  3. Now what is the libertarian approach to refugees?


    January 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm

  4. What a Hollywood fantasy, rog. You really are a conspiracy nut.

    “Parking tickets, jay walking?”


    Abu Chowdah

    January 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  5. “Probably never, ASIO answer to no-one.”

    Actually, they answer to the Director General of Security, (also touch base with Defence), and also answer to the Attorney General, PM, GG…

    The libertarian approach is simple: let them in unless they are a security risk, but let their needs be funded by charity.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm

  6. rog – IMHO

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

  7. I take Gandhi’s view:

    “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

    Immigration is important. But we need to decide when, how and who. If you let everyone in, we won’t be Australia in a generation.

    Abu Chowdah

    January 13, 2010 at 7:45 am

  8. Asio or another organisation were screening out quite a few people back in 99 whilr I was working in detention.

    We had one block set up with (at its peak) about 35 people screened out.
    One group of about 15 Hazara blokes were obviously a millitary squad, if I had to guess they bowled over a bank/payroll and decided to do a runner. Nice blokes, but not any threat to Australians.
    The remainder were generaly the “bad boys”, those whos IDs brought up problems.

    Once a staff member called a lawyer for the blokes the block was intergrated with the rest of the detainees and most of the Hazaras recieved visas. Mosy of the others became a massive headache, some given visas, some deported, and most remaining in the system for years.

    Evans is just making crap up as he goes along, either he hasnt read/listened to old reports or hes a fool. Id be guessing both.


    January 13, 2010 at 11:34 am

  9. Look, they are Tamils. They’re not likely to be members of AL Qaeda. We’ve had this discussion before. They probably turned up as security risks because they were Tamil Tigers. While not necessarily nice people to let into Australia or even your first or second choices, they are not going to be threats to the Australian lifestyle or polity or anything like that especially since they weren’t being let to roam free anyyway. So no new information has come in, just the usual scare mongering.


    January 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

  10. Presumably these men have been identified by the Sri Lankan government as senior in the Tamil Tigers.
    True or not, it’s hard to imagine any other country taking them so unless they are deported to Sri Lanka (unlikely) my guess is that they will end up in Australia.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

  11. Picking up on Jason’s point – I would have thought that ASIO should disclose the basis of the security threat. Right now we don’t know if new information has come available or not.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

  12. well reading the story more closely it does actually mention Tamil Tigers so pretty much case closed. Wasn’t Tuckey arguing that they might be a threat because AQ might somehow try and smuggle one of their operatives in among Tamils?


    January 13, 2010 at 11:50 am

  13. FFS – This answer from Chris Evans is unsatisfactory.

    “They do not qualify for visas to enter Australia and they won’t be entering Australia. They’ll be detained on Christmas Island,” Immigration Minister Chris Evans said.

    But Mr Evans says he can’t say what they’ve done wrong.

    “I don’t know the nature of ASIO’s finding so I couldn’t help you if I wanted to, but as you know I wouldn’t anyway,” he said.

    Bloody hell. He should at least know himself, even if he declines to answer. The Australianism for this is “Get off your bum”.

    As the story goes on to explain.

    “When I was in the High Commission in Sri Lanka one of the things we were asked to do by the Australian Department of Immigration was to check out refugee applicants to make sure that they didn’t have an adverse security background”

    “That entailed going to the Sri Lankan police, the Sinhalese police, and seeking a police clearance which was absolute nonsense because if these people were on the other side in a civil war, why would you go to just one party and ask them about the security rating of somebody applying for refugee status.”

    “So it was always going to be and always has been a flawed process and that’s what’s happened in this instance I’d say.”

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

  14. THR

    January 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

  15. Seems like the govt are being led along by the departmental mandarins.


    January 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

  16. That’s what Vanstone claimed used to happen…

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

  17. Actually, THR, that’s ASIO’s legislative role and it’s a role that both Labor and the Liberals are entirely comfortable with.

    There’s a lot of ignorance and delusion kicking around when assessments come up. It’s like clock-work.

    Abu Chowdah

    January 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm

  18. “Picking up on Jason’s point – I would have thought that ASIO should disclose the basis of the security threat. Right now we don’t know if new information has come available or not.”

    As a long-term public servant with experience around parliament house, I can say: Rest assured that Rudd and many in his cabinet are fully conversant and comfortable with the details, even if the lumpen proletariat are not.

    Abu Chowdah

    January 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm

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