SIEV X 3c - the Senate Inquiry


‘Well could we interfere with the boats?’ 

Juxtaposed against a solid black background is a heavy grey blanket, tied in several places as if it is wrapped around a human body that has been dumped in the depths of the ocean.

[imagecaption] End of Dreams, Pigment print on Hahnemuehle Photo Rag, 120cm x 90cm, Edition 1/7 + 2AE, 2015. Exhibited in Sink Without Trace. Artist: Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen. [/imagecaption]


The Senate Inquiry into the sinking of SIEV X and the loss of 353 lives could not categorically rule out the role of Australia’s official ‘disruption’ program in causing the conditions for the sinking. Specifically,  the inquiry could not rule out:

  • that food was not provided to people aboard smuggling vessels
  • that sugar was not put into the fuel tanks of vessels carrying asylum seekers
  • that sand was not put into the engines of these vessels (Faulkner 2003: 6).

Then Senator John Faulkner, Chair of the inquiry, reported that at a meeting with officials,

Mr Ruddock [then Immigration Minister] allegedly asked in a joking tone, ‘Well could we interfere with the boats?’ Apparently in response, the Federal Agent Dixon reminded Mr Ruddock of obligations under Australian law. The conversation ended when Ruddock laughed the matter off and said it was just a concept in the air (Faulkner 2003: 8).

Ruddock’s later response was: ‘I have no formal recollections of any of those discussions which I am prepared to discuss’ (Faulkner 2003: 8).


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