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A fake Australian Indonesian look-alike fishing boat

Go Back to Where You Came From (1)

Tony Abbott's brutal push-back strategy of asylum boats

The complete report on Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison's ruthless and top-secret 'pushing-back' policy of asylum-seeker boats

There is always a problem with policies of 'punishment' in a populist political environment such as Australian politics: once it starts, subsequent governments need to 'ramp it up' in their vein pursuit to seek re-election.

Fact is, that Australia's draconian policies of punishing asylum seekers - and their journey organisers - for arriving 'uninvited', first began under the government of Malcolm Fraser during 1977-78. Not a single government or Prime Minister since Fraser has ever retreated in any significant way from this punitive approach. In terms of the treatment of maritime asylum seekers, Australia now firmly resides in the Pariah-State league of nations.

About these pages

Tony Abbott was Australia's 28th Prime Minister for exactly two years, from 18 Sept 2013 to 15 Sept 2015.

Before his 'rise to the top', Abbott was a ruthless and aggressive opposition leader, who attempted to destroy whatever he could during the period of the Prime Ministerial administrations of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. And, if you elect a streetfighter and brutal pugilist as your Prime Minister, then you can expect policies and strategies that will be in character with that brutal attitude.

As Prime Minister, Tony Abbott maintained his spirit of super-aggressive conservatism. The already shocking treatment of asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat (under Kevin Rudd's second administration and Julia Gillard's governance, hardline offshore detention camps had been re-established on Nauru and Manus Island) descended further into secret policies of brutally sending people back on their own boats or on specially supplied one-way vessels.

Abbott was supported in his brutal policies by Scott Morrison, who as Immigration Minister was happy to practice a policy of extreme disdain for reporters: on several occasions Morrison happily walked out from formally organisated press-conferences when he didn't like the questions and scrutiny of openness and accountability. Under Scott Morrison, Australia's Migration Act was almost entirely destroyed: all affirmations of the rights of asylum seekers that applied in International Law under the United Nations Refugee Convention were stripped from the Act.

Within months of coming to power, government apparatchiks 'leaked' the news that the government was considering a policy of "pushing the boats back" or "turning boats around" to Indonesia. Just two weeks later, reporters discovered abandoned boats on Indonesian shores. Abbott and Morrison didn't give a damn about the serious diplomatic fall-out with Indonesia, they didn't give a damn about the rights of asylum seekers under International Law, they didn't give a damn about their own humanity, they didn't give a damn about Australian decency, and they didn't give a damn about the implications for Australia as a country with international legal obligations.

There are three pages in this section. The reports and opinion pages contained in these pages cover the period from January to June 2014.

first page ] [ second page ] [ third page ]


Related pages

22 October 2017: Go Back to Where You Came From (2) - Tony Abbott's brutal push-back strategy of asylum boats. The third of three pages, comprising our complete report on Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison's ruthless and top-secret 'pushing-back' policy of asylum-seeker boats.

22 October 2017: Now we send them back in orange lifeboats - Tony Abbott's brutal push-back strategy of asylum boats. This is the first of three pages, comprising our complete report on Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison's ruthless and top-secret 'pushing-back' policy of asylum-seeker boats.

25 February 2014: Burnt hands and the ABC's burnt fingers - When allegations of Navy abuse during asylum seeker interdictions surfaced in ABC reports, it became Tony Abbott's convenient culture war trigger. Ever since the 2013 election, the pack of conservative wolves have been quietly howling and trampling at the bit to start degrading the ABC on behalf of the commercial media hounds bleating about ABC bias.

1 October 2013: Abbott's Liberals and the 'illegal boats' election campaign - Tony Abbott's aggressive 'Labor's illegal boats' campaign was a brazen attempt to redefine asylum seekers as 'illegals' throughout his time in opposition - but activists successfully undermined his 'flagship' in Perth.

Some photos

As reported by Guardian Australia, these fake, Australian-owned, Indonesian fishing boats "look-alikes" were built in Taiwan and Malaysia, shipped to Australia, and used by the Abbott government to forcibly send apprehended asylum seekers and their voyage organisers back to Indonesia.

This secret practice may have been fully maintained also during the post-Abbott government administrations. But we do not know this, because our governments are keeping this policy a top-secret. Australian taxpayers pay for these boats and this policy, but we're not allowed to know whether this policy even exists or not.

Click on the thumbnails to open a large size photo in a new browser window.

fake fishing boat 1
fake fishing boat 2
fake fishing boat 3
David Pope cartoon
five fake fishing boats
Michael Leunig cartoon

Quick links:

Click the links below to jump down to the articles and items on this page with the same title.

Boat pushed back to Java: Indon media

AAP / The West Australian
February 6, 2014, 1:19 pm

A boat carrying about 50 asylum seekers has reportedly been pushed back to Indonesian waters by Australian authorities, and washed up on a Java beach.

Indonesian news service Kompas.com reports the group of Middle Eastern people stranded on Pangandaran Beach, West Java, on Wednesday night.

They then dispersed, and only 21 were in the custody of Indonesian police, the report on Thursday said.

Among them were pregnant women and children.

They said they had been pushed back by Australian authorities after the boat they were on managed to cross into Australian waters.

Kompas.com reported they ran out of fuel before stranding.

An officer from Pangandaran water police, Sutikno, said the 21 asylum seekers were found not far from where the boat washed ashore.

"Men, women, children and pregnant women were there," he said.

"Those who have been secured are in the police station, water police station and military office in Pangandaran."

Police were still searching for the others, who are suspected to have fled to Pamugaran.

The boat is being guarded by police.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/21302135/boat-pushed-back-to-java-indon-media/

Marty Natalegawa says turn backs 'not helpful'

Marty Natalegawa says turn backs 'not helpful', as Greens accuse government of lying about boat arrivals

The Age
February 7, 2014 - 9:38AM
Jonathan Swan, Michael Bachelard

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has again attacked the Abbott government's policy of boat "turn-backs", as the Greens accuse the government of lying about boat arrivals.

As reports emerged on Thursday of another turn back of an asylum seeker boat, Mr Natalegawa indicated the policy was deepening tensions between the Indonesian and Australian governments.

''This kind of policy of transferring people from one boat to another and then directing them back to Indonesia is not really helpful,'' Mr Natalegawa told the ABC.

Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young seized on the latest report of a boat being pushed back on the high seas, to say it exposed the "lie" that asylum boats were no longer coming to Australia.

''What it shows is that the boats still are coming despite whatever [Immigration Minister] Scott Morrison or Tony Abbott say about them stopping. It's a lie,'' Senator Hanson-Young told the ABC on Friday.

''People are still fleeing war and persecution, they're desperate for safety and they continue to come.''

Senator Hanson-Young said she was "very concerned" about reports that there were children as young as 18 months old on board the latest boat.

''It is never safe to turn back a boat, push a boat back to the high seas with children that young on board,'' she said.

Former Labor immigration minister Chris Bowen said his successor, Mr Morrison, was obsessed with secrecy.

Mr Bowen said Mr Morrison would have demanded his resignation if he had tried the same measures that the Coalition government had since winning office.

''Whoever it was (as minister) when Labor was in office, whether it was myself or Brendan O'Connor or Tony Burke, we were upfront with people,'' he told ABC radio on Friday.

''We fronted up to the press conferences, we answered the difficult questions and we didn't hide from the scrutiny as Scott Morrison appears to be devoted to doing.''

Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday that the Abbott government had deployed another of its big orange lifeboats to return a group of asylum seekers to Indonesia - the sixth confirmed turn-back since the policy was enacted in December.

Sources in Cisarua, where many asylum seekers gather before boarding boats, believe the 34 people on board had left almost two weeks ago, on January 27.

That timing suggests the people have been in the custody of Australian authorities for a perhaps a week before embarking on the ''unsinkable'' vessel.

Reports emerged in recent days of Australian vessels Triton and Bathurst sailing off the coast of Christmas Island, with an orange boat in tow.

Indonesian media reported the boat was carrying 34 people and had landed on the west coast of Pangandaran Bay, on Java's southern coast at about 8.30pm local time on Wednesday night.

Local authorities were quoted saying that as many as 21 people from Iran two of whom were toddlers aged about 18 months five from Bangladesh, six from Nepal and two people from Pakistan.

All were now temporarily housed in police or naval facilities.

When contacted for comment on Thursday afternoon, Mr Morrison said: ''In accordance with the Operation Sovereign Borders Joint Agency Task Force policy regarding public release of information on operational matters, the government has no response on the issues raised.''

In less than two months, Tony Abbott's Coalition government has turned back, towed back, or sent back to Indonesia in lifeboats more boats than his mentor John Howard managed in more than two years between October 2001 and November 2003.

However, the boats appearing during the Howard era were bigger, and 614 people were returned by the Australian navy in his time. Mr Abbott has so far returned just 249 people.

www.theage.com.au/../../marty-natalegawa-says-turn-backs/../-20140207-325hk.html

Indonesia objects again to turnbacks as second lifeboat washes up on Java

Comments come as row over burns allegations is reignited by interview with man who says he witnessed mistreatment

Paul Farrell
The Guardian
Thursday 6 February 2014 17.23 EST

Indonesia's foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, has expressed further concern about the Australian government's policy of sending asylum seekers back to Indonesia after a second lifeboat washed up on Indonesian shores.

The ABC has obtained footage that shows the asylum seekers disembarking the lifeboat on a Java beach. Indonesian authorities said there had been 34 asylum seekers on board the vessel, which the Abbott government bought to send asylum seekers back to Indonesia.

"We still think that pushing back boats is not the best solution," Natalegawa told reporters in Indonesia in Thursday.

The policy of turning back asylum seeker boats has been an ongoing source of tension between the two countries, and Natalegawa has previously rejected the policy.

"On the push-back policy itself, let me put on the record our rejection to the policy. Pushing back the boats is not a solution," he said in January.

The lifeboat is the second to have been found, following reports last week that published photos of the first vessel to wash up on shore.

The finding of the second vessel is believed to be at least the sixth turnback or towback operation that has occurred since the new government began the practice at the end of the last year.

The circumstances surrounding the turnback operations have been mired in secrecy, and the ABC has come under scrutiny for its reporting of allegations that asylum seekers were deliberately burnt by navy personnel in an asylum seeker operation.

But an investigation by Fairfax Media on Thursday revealed that a central figure relating to the burns allegations, Yousif Ibrahim Fasher, said he had never been questioned by Australian authorities in relation to the matter.

The Fairfax investigation detailed further claims made by Fasher, who said he had been a witness to the incident involving navy personnel and the burns.

''I saw it with my eyes because I was translating ... They punished three of them, three of them ... so they would never want to go to the toilet again,'' Fasher said, who was on the navy vessel at the time.

He said he had been called over by a navy officer.

''They said, 'Yousif, translate for the people. Say to anyone, if you want to go to the toilet again, we will burn his hands. So, tell them.' So I translate for them.''

The federal government has strongly denied the claims from the asylum seekers, but has refused to provide a detailed account of what happened during the operation.

"The government does not give credibility to malicious and unfounded slurs being made against our navy personnel and rejects outright any allegations of unprofessional conduct by our people serving in Operation Sovereign Borders," the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said in a statement to Fairfax.

"If media outlets wish to give credibility by publishing such unsubstantiated claims, that is a matter for them."

The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the government was continuing to risk the safety of asylum seekers by turning back boats.

"Tony Abbott has told the Australian people that no boats are arriving, but we know that they have come with men, women and children on board," she said.

"Rather than giving vulnerable families protection from war and torture, the Abbott government is pushing them back out into the open ocean time and time again.

"The government must answer questions about their towback policy. Were these refugees really held on an Australian boat for over a week, as reported?"

www.theguardian.com/.../indo -- to-turnbacks-as-second-lifeboat-washes-up-on-java

Scott Morrison dismisses claims navy entered Indonesian waters deliberately

Immigration minister promises to release a report proving that incursions by warships were not intentional

Bridie Jabour in Canberra
The Guardian
Saturday 15 February 2014 20.02 EST

The immigration minister has dismissed an Indonesian navy report that found Australia's incursions into the waters were intentional.

Scott Morrison appeared on the ABC's Insiders on Sunday morning after a week in which it was revealed an Indonesian navy report found Australian war ships entered their waters repeatedly and with ease, the Australian ambassador to Indonesia was called to the foreign ministery and the deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said the two countries were in "open conflict".

Morrison said he "of course" knew how many times the Australian navy had made incursions into Indonesian waters but refused to specify the number and said Australia would try to allay Indonesia suspicions that the incursions were intentional by sharing the government report into the matter.

When asked if he could easily dismiss the report from the Indonesian navy he replied: "Well, yes, because I know the facts".

Indonesia is also angry about the Australian navy's use of lifeboats to transfer asylum seekers back to Indonesia and though Morrison would not confirm the use of lifeboats he said the Jakarta was entitled to its opinions.

"The Australian government is doing exactly what we said we would do before the last election and I don't think we could have been any clearer about what our policies are. This has obviously been complicated by issues beyond the government's control regarding the Snowden issues that have been around during this period of time," he said.

"...It's the Australian government's responsibility to do ensure that we do what we need to do on our borders lawfully as we are. Any vessel seeking to enter Australian waters illegally will be intercepted and will be removed."

An Indonesian navy report found the incursions may have been intentional, Guardian Australia revealed on Friday, but Morrison dismissed the findings.

"Well that's false," he said.

"It wasn't intentional at all. A very comprehensive review of these matters has been conducted and it will be in the report released."

The review is being carried out by Customs and Border Protects and the defence force and an unclassified version may be made public.

Morrison said Australia's navy chief had contacted his Indonesian counterpart as soon as the incursion had happened.

"It was inadvertent, it was contrary to the government's policy and a thorough report and review has been conducted," he said.

The Indonesian report also included the contentious photos of asylum seekers' burnt hands and stated they were received from Australian navy officers forcing them to hold burning pipes.

When asked if he was concerned about the Indonesian navy report making such an assertion Morrison replied: "Constantly repeating these claims, whether it's citing that report or citing other things on the ABC doesn't make the claims any more true than when the day you first reported them, there is no substantiation to the claims, there never has been."

Morrison and General Angus Campbell, the head of the operation to stop the boats, were assured that the claims were not true, he said, and that and there was nothing to warrant any further review.

Meanwhile, Morrison has dismissed threats by Indonesia that the country will raise concerns about Australia's border protection policy with US secretary of state John Kerry, who has arrived in Jakarta on a visit to highlight US concerns about climate change. Kerry plans to hold talks with senior Indonesian leaders, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has told reporters the issue of Australian border policy will also be discussed after people lashed out at the use of lifeboats to send people back into Indonesian waters.

"There is no need to ask; we only need to inform it and let America draw its own conclusion," he said, according reports.

Asked about Indonesian plans to involve the US in the stoush over border protection, Morrison said: "They're welcome to do that."

www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/16/orrison-dismisses-claims--indonesian-deliberately

Defence issues terms of reference for naval inquiry

Naval incursions: Customs and Defence issue terms of reference for inquiry

Investigation into actions of Operation Sovereign Borders vessels will cover period between 1 December and 20 January

Katharine Murphy, deputy political editor
The Guardian
Tuesday 21 January 2014 16.44 EST

Customs and Defence have issued terms of reference for an inquiry examining how Australian vessels strayed into Indonesian waters a development that has further inflamed diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Jakarta.

In a statement issued about 10pm on Tuesday evening, Customs and Defence confirmed an investigation covering the period between 1 December 2013 and 20 January 2014.

The Abbott government has confirmed publicly that Australian vessels made several inadvertent incursions into Indonesian waters. The embarrassing admission followed earlier declarations that Australia would not under any circumstances violate Indonesian sovereign territory as part of any efforts to return asylum boats.

The incursions prompted Indonesia to signal it would send a frigate into the region to monitor Australia's border protection activities. Jakarta has called on the Abbott government to cease the incursions and respect Indonesia's territory.

The statement outlining the scope of the inquiry issued by Customs and Defence acknowledged "the seriousness of this matter and the urgency required as a consequence of the importance of our relationship with Indonesia".

"The joint review will focus on the circumstances leading to the entry of Australian vessels into Indonesian waters," it said.

"Specifically, the review will assess the sequence of events and cause of Australian vessels entering into Indonesian waters in connection with Operation Sovereign Borders."

The joint review will "identify any potential procedural weaknesses or deficiencies in maritime operations and make recommendations to ensure that any immediate operational policy or procedure issues are highlighted and rectified promptly," the statement said.

Tony Abbott, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos overnight, reiterated the importance of the Australia/Indonesia relationship it was, the prime minister said, "in the broad, our most important single relationship."

Referencing the current diplomatic tensions, Abbott said there had been difficulties in the bilateral relationship in the past.

He dug in behind the Coalition's policies. "Stopping the boats is a matter of sovereignty and President Yudhoyono of all people ought to understand, does understand, just how seriously countries take their sovereignty. So we will continue to do what we are entitled to do to secure our borders."

It is not clear whether the results of the investigation will be released publicly. Tuesday's statement said upon completion, the Customs chief and the chief of the defence force would "consider release of the review's findings".

The terms of reference suggest the inquiry will have both classified and unclassified sections.

The report is due for completion on 10 February a date that coincides with the resumption of federal parliament for 2014.

www.theguardian.com/.../customs-and-defence-issue-terms-of-reference-for-inquiry

Greg Barns: Detention secrecy is wrong

The Age
January 21, 2014
Greg Barns

When do public servants cross the line and blow the whistle on government actions? When those policies are of such a morally problematic dimension that some individuals working within government agencies responsible for the devising and execution of those policies decide their conscience will not allow them to remain silent.

The pursuit of highly punitive actions towards asylum seekers by both the Rudd/Gillard governments and now the Abbott government is one such area of policy where one could argue it is in the interest of the community for public servants to ensure the light shines on the truth of the matter. This is because our politicians refuse to allow proper scrutiny of the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Operation Sovereign Borders is similarly tainted with secrecy.

We are not talking here about matters of national security where there is sometimes a legitimate argument for secrecy. When it comes to treatment of asylum seekers and the actions of our military and civilian public servants what is at stake are fundamental human rights and whether or not Australia is complying with national and international laws in taking the actions it is in the name of all Australians.

That it is desirable for government policy on matters of great weight where human rights are involved to be exposed by whistleblowers or public servants providing fearless and honest answers when being scrutinised by the Parliament was borne out in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Australia joined with the US and the UK in seeking to fool the people of their respective nations that Saddam Hussein had a cache of weapons of mass destruction and that the US and its allies had no choice but to bypass the United Nations and head to war.

It was courtesy of whistleblowers like Andrew Wilkie here in Australia (now the independent member for Denison), Valerie Plame, a US diplomat, and David Kelly, a senior public servant in the UK, that the world came to know that the pretext of sending thousands of men and women into war was in fact false.

All of those who blew the whistle on the deceit behind the Iraq War did so because they believed that the role of public servants was not to lie and obfuscate but to ensure that the truth behind extremely serious policy decisions taken by government were revealed to the people that the government purports to represent.

There is also the issue of whether or not there is a moral duty on an individual to reveal the truth when there is evidence that government policy is causing substantial physical and mental harm to others or where the execution of policy breaches the law.

Both of these considerations are at play in the context of the Australian government's asylum seeker policy. The media is hamstrung in terms of access to Manus Island and Nauru. It is only when brave individuals working for NGOs in those detention centres speak out that the Australian people gets some idea of the inhumane conditions that exist. When it comes to Operation Sovereign Borders, the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, and his military sidekick, Angus Campbell, consistently refuse to answer questions, obfuscate, and deny reliable reports from the media about Navy mistreatment of asylum seekers.

Given all this, is it important for our democracy that public servants disclose the truth of the circumstances of the execution of asylum seeker policy? On what we know, there are possible breaches by Australia of its international law obligations in relation to asylum seekers it finds at sea. We also know the conditions for asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are so dire they have been the subject of a number of highly critical reports from groups such as Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

That such conduct is happening on the watch of a government that purports to uphold liberal democratic values makes it imperative that the full truth is known so that those responsible for these policies can be held to account.

Of course, for a public servant to disclose matters of grave import is to invite in many cases possible legal sanction and dismissal from their position. Not to mention the bullying and demonising experienced by whistleblowers.

But as the case of US whistleblower Edward Snowden tells us, a democracy is strengthened when individuals become so morally uncomfortable with policies they encounter they see no alternative but to ensure the revelation of secretive and oppressive government activity. If it weren't for Snowden last week US President Barack Obama would not have announced some curtailment of the activities of US intelligence agencies.

Australians deserve to be told the truth about the treatment of asylum seekers. The hiding behind military operations rhetoric and barbed wire must stop. The only way that we can hope for a more humane and transparent policy towards asylum seekers is if the truth is disclosed. Just as the Iraq War spawned whistleblowing, so should this equally morally dubious government operation.

Greg Barns is a barrister and ran the WikiLeaks Party 2013 federal election campaign.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/detention-secrecys-wrong-20140120-314n2.html

Navy warships entered Indonesia 'with ease'

Australian navy went into Indonesian waters 'too easily' and 'often'

Exclusive: Indonesian navy says incursions were occurring 'more and more often' before 6 January incident

Kate Lamb in Jakarta and Oliver Laughland in Sydney
The Guardian
Friday 14 February 2014 00.53 EST

Australian naval ships entered Indonesian territorial waters often and with ease before the incursions sparked a diplomatic incident in January, according to a leaked Indonesian navy report, and an Indonesian navy spokesman reiterated that the 6 January incursion was a knowing and intentional breach.

The dossier, signed off by a senior naval commander in eastern Indonesia, is an official report into the boat that landed on remote Rote island on 6 January after being turned back by the Australian navy. The report suggests three Australian naval vessels had entered Indonesian territorial waters and implies the incursion may have been intentional.

"It was too easy for the Australian warships to enter Republic of Indonesia territorial waters without detection," the report says.

The same boat was the subject of allegations that asylum seekers on board had their hands burned by naval personnel. The report, parts of which have been seen by Guardian Australia, also contains further details on those allegations.

The report says incursions were becoming more regular: "In anticipation of the entry of Australian warships (foreign war vessels) into Indonesian territorial waters, already occurring more and more often, it is necessary to increase Indonesian sovereignty in carrying out more patrols in and around the waters of Rote Ndao and Dana Island, so that foreign warships do not enter Indonesian territorial waters again," it says.

The document provides the first official documentation that an Australian naval incursion had occurred, and shows that Indonesian agencies were aware the incursions were continuing.

Previously, Operation Sovereign Borders commander, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, had admitted to unintentional territorial breaches on "several occasions" but would not say where or when they had taken place and how many vessels had been involved.

Recent reports have indicated that about five incursions occurred between December and January.

An asylum seeker aboard the boat, Yousif Ibrahim Fasher, who detailed allegations of the burned hands to Fairfax media, also said that the accompanying Australian naval vessels had turned their lights off during the last two nights of the journey on 4 and 5 January. His account also suggests that only two Australian naval vessels had accompanied the asylum seekers.

On Friday, Indonesian navy spokesman Commodore Untung Suropati told Guardian Australia the 6 January incursion was a knowing and intentional breach by the Australian navy.

Suropati said Indonesian naval intelligence showed that the Australian vessels had come within seven miles (11 km) of the shore on Rote island. Indonesia's territorial waters extend to 12 nautical miles (22 km).

"In the current era, navigation equipment to determine the position of a ship is very advanced. Therefore, it is not reasonable if it is said to be unintentional or not knowing," Suropati added.

"This is not only the view of Indonesian navy, but is also shared with all other institutions and our stakeholders, especially those operating in sea, that the Australian navy has violated Indonesian territory," Suropati told Guardian Australia via email.

While the Indonesian government seeks further clarification, Suropati says the navy has already moved to boost patrols, relocating warships, including torpedo and missile craft, to prevent further incursions.

The movement of Indonesian vessels to the southern border was widely reported in the context of incursions in January.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, reiterated that the incursions occurred "unintentionally and without knowledge or sanction by the Australian government".

On Thursday night, Australian Customs chief Michael Pezzullo also repeated that the incursions were "thoroughly inadvertent", having read a detailed report into the incidents, which seems unlikely to be publicly released.

Morrison's spokeswoman told Guardian Australia the government would "advise Indonesia on the results of the joint [Defence and Customs] review undertaken into these incidents".

Commanders had "taken operational steps to ensure there is no recurrence of these incidents", she said.

The Indonesian report also shows that the asylum seekers aboard made allegations of "acts of violence from the Australian navy" and includes more photographs of the injuries they allegedly sustained.

One photograph documents, "burn wounds on the right hand of an immigrant resulting from being forced to hold onto the ship's engine, which was hot, by the Australian navy".

Another shows a young female woman who, according to the image caption, was "pushed by the Australian navy resulting in a sprained ankle".

Another image is captioned: "Right thigh of immigrant bruised as a result of being trodden on by the Australian navy."

The report also contains the first images of the landing of the asylum seeker boat, which is described as "struck by waves onto the coral reef". It shows a picture of the damage sustained to the hull.

The photographs relate to the widely reported allegations that a number of the asylum seekers aboard the boat were assaulted by Australian naval personnel, with three allegedly having their hands burned on the motor of the boat.

These allegations have been consistently denied by Scott Morrison and the prime minister, Tony Abbott, who said there was "absolutely no evidence for them".

Morrison's spokeswoman told Guardian Australia on Friday: "The repetition of unsubstantiated and wild allegations doesn't make those claims any more credible or deserving of further review.

"The minister has been advised there has been no request for assistance or request for information in relation to this matter from Indonesian authorities or any non-government organisation."

The government has been under pressure to mount an investigation into the claims.

Suropati told Guardian Australia the Indonesian navy's investigation with the Indonesian police had "strengthened the existence of [evidence of] physical violence which were experienced by some asylum seekers. And this is a fact that happened."

He said he could not comment on the status of Indonesian police inquiries.

www.theguardian.com/.../australian-navy-incursion-into-indonesian-waters-intentional

Indonesian military commander reportedly accepts Australian Navy incursions accidental

The Age
February 12, 2014 - 12:55PM
David Wroe

Indonesia's top military commander has reportedly accepted that Australia's recent incursions into the country's waters were accidental, paving the way for reduced tensions between Canberra and Jakarta.

Despite some fiery rhetoric in Jakarta and even accusations that Australian Navy and Customs ships knew they were breaching Indonesian sovereignty, the chief of the country's armed forces, General Moeldoko, has said the incursions were mistakes, according to the Jakarta Post.

''[What has happened recently] was accidental, but we will always be alert in protecting our borders,'' he is quoted as telling the Indonesian parliament's foreign affairs and defence commission.

He was reportedly hosing down accusations by some parliamentarians that Australia's breaches were designed to disrupt Indonesia's coming elections.

Fairfax Media understands there were about five breaches in December and January while Australian Navy and Customs ships were carrying out border protection operations - at least some during boat turn-backs, which Jakarta opposes.

General Moeldoko is known to be close to the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley. General Hurley received an interim report into the causes of the breaches recently.

It is understood that this inquiry has found that navigational errors were made both by Operation Sovereign Borders headquarters as well as the ships themselves. But it is not clear whether a full explanation of the breaches will be made public once the full report has been completed.

Indonesia's initial reaction when the Abbott government admitted the breaches was one of fury, with Jakarta vowing to move a frigate down to its southern waters to boost patrols.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and other senior government figures swiftly apologised for the ''inadvertent'' breaches.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said such incidents as well as Australia's tough border protection policies more generally were ''complicating'' efforts to return relations to normal in the wake of revelations that Australia spied on senior Indonesian politicians.

www.theage.com.au/../-accepts-australian-navy-incursions-accidental-20140212-32gqd.html

Indonesia to raise Aus asylum seeker policy with US

ABC Radio CAF - AM
By Helen Brown in Jakarta, staff
First posted Fri 14 Feb 2014, 7:23pm AEDT
Updated Sat 15 Feb 2014, 10:16am AEDT

Indonesia says it will raise the Abbott Government's asylum seeker policy with the United States during an official visit next week.

Jakarta has stepped up its protest to the Coalition's boat turn-back policy, calling in the Australian ambassador in Jakarta for a meeting with a senior official.

Indonesia's foreign affairs minister Marty Natalegawa says a strong protest message was given to Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty over the use of lifeboats to send asylum seekers back.

Dr Natalegawa says Australia was already violating its international commitments, but the use of lifeboats to send people back is an escalation.

"What Australia has been doing is a bigger development than before," he said.

"In the past when they have turned back the boats, or pulled the refugee boats back to Indonesia, that alone is a violation against their international commitment under the Refugee Convention.

"But this time it has escalated."

Dr Natalegawa told reporters Indonesia does what it can to stop boats leaving the country and that Australia's action is against the values of humanity.

He says he will inform US secretary of state John Kerry - who will visit Jakarta next week - about Australia's actions and let officials draw their own conclusions.

"There is no need to ask, we only need to inform it, and let America draw its own conclusion," he said.

Dr Natalegawa says he will discuss Australia's policy with other countries as well.

Relationship 'very positive': Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the asylum seeker issue is raised when she speaks with Dr Natalegawa but the relationship with her Indonesian counterpart remains positive.

"We have open lines of communication and I'm constantly talking to Dr Natalegawa," she said.

"I think he said recently that we talk almost every day. It's a very positive relationship - of course we have challenges.

"Neither of us want to be in a position where we have to deal with the people smuggling trade."

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles says calling in Mr Moriarty is a "very grave step to take".

"Now we have a circumstance where the kind of cooperation which actually existed in terms of reducing that flow of boats under Labor has ceased and we have a situation where the policies of this Government in relation to this issue has led to our ambassador being called in before the foreign minister," he told the ABC's Lateline program.

"We should be working effectively together between Australia and Indonesia, the truth is we're in a period now where there is precious little cooperation at all.

"The calling in of an ambassador by a foreign minister is a very grave step to take."

Earlier this month Mr Natalegawa said it was "unhelpful" to bilateral relations for Australia to keep pursuing its policy of turning back asylum seeker boats.

He made the comments after the Australian Government said it had entered Indonesian waters without permission while trying to stop the arrival of the vessels.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison blamed the incursions on "positional errors" and said the Government took its "shared commitment with Indonesia to mutually respect the sovereignty of each nation very, very seriously".

This prompted Indonesia to beef up naval patrols although Dr Natalegawa played down suggestions the country was going on a war footing, saying they needed to ensure "things don't get out of hand".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said his Government is committed to continuing the policy of turning back boats, and lifeboats are now being used to send asylum seekers rescued from unseaworthy vessels back to Indonesia.

In January, the Government said the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia had fallen by 80 per cent since Operation Sovereign Borders was introduced four months ago.

www.abc.net.au/.../australias-ambassador-in-jakarta-summoned-by-indonesian-governm/5261466

Indonesia protests against escalation in boats policy

Indonesia calls in Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty to protest against 'unacceptable' escalation of boat policy

The Age
February 14, 2014 - 1:54PM
David Wroe and Daniel Flitton

Indonesia has stepped up its protests against the Abbott government's border protection policies, hauling Australia's ambassador to Jakarta into the foreign affairs ministry for a dressing down.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he had told ambassador Greg Moriarty in a meeting this week that Australia's use of lifeboats to return asylum seekers was an ''unacceptable'' escalation of its border protection policy, Indonesian news magazine Tempo reported on its website.

The use of lifeboats has been a key development in Australia's boat turnback policy - a policy Indonesia has vehemently opposed.

The purchase of about 12 of the sophisticated lifeboats is a way of neutralising the people smugglers' tactic of deliberately scuttling their boats when Australian navy or Customs ships approached, leaving the Australians no choice but to rescue the asylum seekers from the water and take them to Christmas Island.

The Abbott government defended the use of boat turnbacks ahead of last September's election by insisting they were only returning Indonesian-flagged and crewed boats that had departed from Indonesian ports.

Dr Natalegawa said the use of lifeboats represented a more serious violation of Australia's commitments to the refugee convention than its previous policies. He said Australian ships should take the asylum seekers onboard for processing.

Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection chief Mike Pezzullo has acknowledged there is a ''public interest'' in releasing at least parts of a report into how Australian ships accidentally breached Indonesian territory.

With Mr Pezzullo and chief of the Defence David Hurley understood to be currently considering the report, the Customs chief refused on Thursday evening to guarantee any of it would be released.

''I'm not going to speculate on that. There are going to be elements of this - because it relates to Operation Sovereign Borders - that are covered by the public interest immunity claim,'' he told the ABC.

But he added: ''There are going to be other matters that are in the public interest to discuss. That is to say: how did this inadvertent transgression occur? Why did it occur and what remedial action needs to be taken to ensure that it's not going to occur again?''

The government has admitted that on several occasions - Fairfax Media understands it to be about five - in December and January, Royal Australian Navy and Customs ships inadvertently crossed the 12-mile limit into Indonesian territorial waters while carrying out border protection operations.

It is understood at least some of the operations were boat turnbacks.

The Abbott government apologised to Jakarta and ordered an inquiry into how the mistakes happened. Fairfax Media understands nothing is likely to be made public at least until the end of this month.

Mr Pezzullo said he was discussing with the government and Defence what if any changes needed to be made to border protection procedures.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday reiterated an apology for breaching Indonesian territory on Fairfax radio, saying the incursions were a ''serious mistake''.

''The Indonesians have accepted our apology, but it's a serious mistake, it should have never have happened and as far as is humanly possible, we'll ensure it never happens again,'' Mr Abbott said.

Comment is being sought from Australia's Foreign Affairs department on the meeting between Dr Natalegawa and Mr Moriarty.

www.theage.com.au/../against-unacceptable-escalation-of-boat-policy-20140214-32qcf.html

Indonesia summons ambassador Greg Moriarty

Indonesian government summons Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty to meeting

ABC News Online
Posted Fri 14 Feb 2014, 7:23pm AEDT
Updated Fri 14 Feb 2014, 8:29pm AEDT

Australia's ambassador to Indonesia has been summoned to a meeting in the Indonesian foreign ministry to discuss growing concerns about the Australian Government's Operation Sovereign Borders policy.

Indonesian media has quoted the country's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa as saying he told Ambassador Greg Moriarty that Australia's use of lifeboats to return asylum seekers was an unacceptable escalation of border protection policies.

The Australian Government says the embassy in Jakarta maintains close, regular dialogue with the Indonesian government, including on issues related to Operation Sovereign Borders.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had a productive and positive conversation with Mr Natalegawa this week.

Earlier this month Mr Natalegawa said it was "unhelpful" to bilateral relations for Australia to keep pursuing its policy of turning back asylum-seeker boats.

He made the comments after the Australian Government said it had entered Indonesian waters without permission while trying to stop asylum seeker boats.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison blamed the incursions on "positional errors" and said the Government took its "shared commitment with Indonesia to mutually respect the sovereignty of each nation very, very seriously".

This prompted Indonesia to beef up naval patrols although Mr Natalegawa played down suggestions the country was going on a war footing saying they needed to ensure "things don't get out of hand".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said his Government is committed to continuing the policy of turning back boats, and lifeboats are now being used to send asylum seekers rescued from unseaworthy vessels back to Indonesia.

In January, the Government said the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia had fallen 80 per cent since Operation Sovereign Borders was introduced four months ago.

www.abc.net.au/../australias-ambassador-in-jakarta-summoned-by-indonesian-governm/5261466

Greg Moriarty carpeted in Jakarta over boats policy

Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty carpeted in Jakarta over boats policy

The Age
February 15, 2014
David Wroe and Daniel Flitton

Indonesia has stepped up its protests against the Abbott government's border protection policies, hauling Australia's ambassador to Jakarta into the foreign affairs ministry for a dressing down.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he had told ambassador Greg Moriarty in a meeting this week that Australia's use of lifeboats to return asylum seekers was an ''unacceptable'' escalation of its border protection policy, Indonesian news magazine Tempo reported on its website.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the meeting took place. The use of lifeboats has been a key development in Australia's boat turnback policy - a policy Indonesia has vehemently opposed.

The purchase of about 12 of the sophisticated lifeboats is a way of neutralising the people smugglers' tactic of deliberately scuttling their boats when Australian navy or customs ships approached, leaving the Australians no choice but to rescue the asylum seekers from the water and take them to Christmas Island.

Dr Natalegawa said the use of lifeboats represented a more serious violation of Australia's commitments to the refugee convention than its previous policies.

He said Australian ships should take the asylum seekers on board for processing.

Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection chief Mike Pezzullo has acknowledged there is a ''public interest'' in releasing at least parts of a report into how Australian ships accidentally breached Indonesian territory.

With Mr Pezzullo and chief of the Defence David Hurley understood to be considering the report, Mr Pezzullo has refused to guarantee any of it would be released.

''I'm not going to speculate on that. There are going to be elements of this - because it relates to Operation Sovereign Borders - that are covered by the public interest immunity claim,'' he told the ABC.

But there were ''going to be other matters that are in the public interest to discuss. That is to say: how did this inadvertent transgression occur? Why did it occur and what remedial action needs to be taken to ensure that it's not going to occur again?''

On Friday on Fairfax radio, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reiterated an apology for breaching Indonesian territory, saying the incursions were a ''serious mistake''.

www.smh.com.au/../greg-moriarty-carpeted-in-jakarta-over-boats-policy-20140214-32rlh.html

Aust-Indo ties worsening: Plibersek

AAP / Brisbane Times
February 15, 2014 - 5:10PM

Australia and Indonesia are now in "open conflict", and repairing the "worsening" relationship is imperative, deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek says.

In the week Australia's ambassador to Jakarta, Greg Moriarty, was reportedly called into the country's foreign affairs ministry for a "dressing down" over the Abbott government's border protection policies, Ms Plibersek said it was crucial the government act now to settle the rocky relationship.

"It's absolutely vital that Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop get on with repairing the relationship with Indonesia," Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

"It's of enormous concern that a huge nation, a growing democracy a nation that's vital to our security but also to our economic prosperity is now in open conflict and calling the Australian ambassador in for a dressing down."

The government had inherited a "warm" relationship with Indonesia, but over five months the coalition had "trashed" it, she said.

"Relationships only seem to be worsening," Ms Plibersek added.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he told Mr Moriarty that Australia's use of lifeboats to return asylum seekers was an "unacceptable" escalation of its border protection policy, Fairfax has reported.

It was only in November that Mr Moriarty was last summoned in the wake of the revelations that Australian spies targeted the mobile phones of Indonesia's president and his inner circle.

news.brisbanetimes.com.au/../austindo-ties-worsening-plibersek-20140215-32so4.html

Plibersek: Australia and Indonesia now in 'open conflict'

Australia and Indonesia are now in 'open conflict', says Tanya Plibersek

Dressing down of ambassador over 'unacceptable' border protection policies a matter of enormous concern

Australian Associated Press
The Guardian
Saturday 15 February 2014 03.19 EST

Australia and Indonesia were now in "open conflict" and repairing the "worsening" relationship was imperative, deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said on Saturday.

After Australia's ambassador to Jakarta Greg Moriarty was reportedly called into the country's foreign affairs ministry for a "dressing down" over the Abbott government's border protection policies, Plibersek said it was crucial the government acted now to settle the rocky relationship.

"It's absolutely vital that Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop get on with repairing the relationship with Indonesia," she said.

"It's of enormous concern that a huge nation, a growing democracy, a nation that's vital to our security but also to our economic prosperity is now in open conflict and calling the Australian ambassador in for a dressing down."

The government had inherited a "warm" relationship with Indonesia, but over five months the coalition had "trashed" it, she said.

"Relationships only seem to be worsening," she said.

Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said he told Moriarty Australia's use of lifeboats to return asylum seekers was an "unacceptable" escalation of its border protection policy, Fairfax Media reported.

Moriarty was last summoned in November in the wake of the revelations Australian spies targeted the mobile phones of Indonesia's president and his inner circle.

www.theguardian.com/../australia-and-indonesia-are-now-in-open-conflict-says-tanya-plibersek