Wednesday November 14, 2013 8:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Now that Indonesia's rescue agency Basarnas has revealed to the ABC's Indonesia reporter George Roberts (transcript below) what really happened during last week's stand-off on the high seas should shock not just everyone in Parliament, but it should shock all Australian people about the Abbott government's unbelievable arrogance - if not sheer stupidity - in its dealing with both asylum seekers and our northern neighbours," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said today.
"Last week's maritime operation should go on the record as the most brazen attempt by Australia's maritime operatives in the history of asylum seeker interceptions, where the Oceanic Protector, presumably under direct orders from Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, steamed more than 50 nautical miles towards Indonesia - thereby manipulatively trying to offload asylum seekers and proclaim them as Indonesia's responsibility," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"First, Basarnas has shown up Scott Morrison as a brazen liar, when they revealed the interception had started 107 nautical miles off the Indonesian coast, while Morrison had claimed this had taken place 57 nautical miles off the coast of Java."
"Second, and perhaps even more disturbing, is the Prime Minister's claim earlier this week, arguing that Indonesia had a responsibility for the passengers under the UN Law of the Sea, because they had been rescued in Indonesia's Search and Rescue Zone. Tony Abbott's claim blows up like a dirty bomb in his own face when contrasted with the revelations that the Oceanic Protector tried to 'manipulatively fit up Indonesia' with the passengers by steaming more than 50 nautical miles towards Java."
"There is now no other choice than to establish a full and open parliamentary inquiry into the operations on the high seas last week. Abbott and Morrison now have the full obligation to answer the claim that they both have lied to the Australian people, that they are on a continuous trajectory of manipulating Indonesia while keeping their Operation Soeriegn Borders cloaked in a veil of secrecy because they are hiding their lies under this cover - and in such a parliamentary inquiry representatives of Basarnas should be invited to testify about last week's operations by the Australian authorities."
"There are no excuses for keeping the secret operations intact. The game has changed, and Australia's Immigration Minister and Australia's Prime Minister are now both found out to be bloody liars."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
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Australia attempted to turn back asylum seeker boat: Indonesian official
ABC News Online
By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts
First posted Wed 13 Nov 2013, 5:21pm AEDT
Updated Wed 13 Nov 2013, 5:30pm AEDT
Indonesia's rescue agency Basarnas says Australian authorities attempted to take an asylum seeker boat back to Indonesia last week, directly contradicting the Australian Government's version of events.
A standoff between Canberra and Jakarta developed late last week over a boatload of about 60 asylum seekers rescued by an Australian ship off the south coast of Java.
Australian authorities wanted Indonesia to take back the asylum seekers, but the request was refused.
The group has since been taken to Christmas Island for detention.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said it was not a situation of turning the boat back.
In a statement released at the weekend, Mr Morrison said: "These requests have been for at sea transfers in response to a search and rescue incident.
"They are not a 'turn back' operation, although they do achieve the same result."
However, Indonesia's rescue agency Basarnas has disputed this, saying Australian authorities either towed or escorted the boat nearly 50 nautical miles back towards Indonesia.
The agency's head of evaluations, Yopi Haryadi, says the boat was intercepted by Australian authorities 107 nautical miles from Indonesia, or about half way to Christmas Island.
It was then taken by Australian authorities to a location about 58 nautical miles off the coast as Australia attempted to get Indonesia to accept its return.