Wednesday October 19 2005 11:15am WST
For Immediate Release
"Today, on the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the unknown refugee boat dubbed SIEV X by former diplomat Tony Kevin, a boat is once again missing in waters close to Australian maritime territory, but this time the missing boat has sparked a massive search, where thirteen planes, two choppers and two ships are frantically trying to locate four adults and one child since last Saturday."
"This week's nervous but appropriate search for the missing Immigration Department vessel off Indonesia, not far from where SIEV X disappeared four years ago, paints a cruel contrast with what many have seen as a shameful lack of action by the Australian government in locating the refugee boat, perhaps even a deliberate avoidance of responsibilities, or perhaps even sabotage," WA Rights group Project SafeCom spokesman Jack H Smit commented this morning, "and we are reminded of the discriminatory treatment of Australian search and rescue authorities when government department officers themselves are on the receiving end of a distress situation."
"While the government was alerted about the possibility of the boat in distress, the Prime Minister lied about the SIEV to the Australian people, and using spin and manipulative statements, Houdini-ed himself out of the range of attacks."
"Even a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister lied to the group Labor for Refugees in Victoria in a letter, in which he suggested that the government had been fully exonerated by the Senate at the conclusion of the Inquiry into the SIEV X affair."
"Far from exonerated this government is: the then Senate leader John Faulkner in a most furious speech in the Senate vowed to pursue the unanswered questions and demanded that in future a judicial inquiry should take place into the SIEV X disaster."
Like all disasters in the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, the SIEV X affair will not finish until all questions are answered, all documents held in secret by the Howard government are released, and all those who know things they have not told the Australian people, have been subpoenaed to testify and also tell the full and unabbreviated truth about the SIEV X disaster."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]