A Boat Called the Janga 1c - The Politics of Safety


‘It seems they didn’t care about us’: The politics of safety

[imagecaption]The endless shadow of SIEV X: Survivor testimony from the feature documentary by Anthem. [/imagecaption]

‘A genuine desire to prevent another SIEV X, and other more recent mass losses of life, would call for, amongst other things, a commitment to adequate monitoring and rescue processes. The focus on a punitive banning of all boat arrivals indicates that it is rather the wishful sinking and wishful drowning of asylum seekers that underwrites the refugee policies of our two main parties.’

  Suvendrini Perera, 2016


‘If the Navy could have come a little bit closer to the rocks to save people  … I don’t know what happened but one speed boat it came to save only one of the people, one person, then going back to the Navy boat, smoking and looking, but then staying there for a while before they came back. They could have picked up seven or eight people at one time [but] they didn’t do so. It seems they didn’t care about us. If they had been quicker, only by two or three minutes, they would have saved the people … We owe our lives to the people of Christmas Island, not the Australian Navy. The life jackets they threw us made us to survive.’

Hassan, a survivor from the Janga, interviewed by Linda Briskman and Michelle Dimasi (2011, 257)

 ‘There is no domestic or international expectation or obligation that BPC (Border Protection Command) or other Australian assets will be postured for the purpose of saving SIEVs that may place themselves in dangerous situations … it is plain that Australia does not have and cannot have any legal, moral or other obligation to ensure safe passage for vessels illegally entering Australian waters.’

Commonwealth Submission to the Janga Inquest, quoted, 44



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