Author: Tony Kevin

  • AUSTRALIA

    Notes from a boat tragedy inquest

    • Tony Kevin
    • 02 July 2013
    4 Comments

    The WA Coroner's inquest into the sinking of SIEV 358 is shaping up to be the most thorough public examination ever of Australian rescue-at-sea protocols and practice in respect of assisting people on Suspected Irregular Entry Vessels. The Counsel Assisting the Coroner suggested that Australian Maritime Safety Authority's major focus for the first 11 hours of the incident had been to transfer the operation to Indonesia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia and Indonesia's deadly games of pass-the-parcel

    • Tony Kevin
    • 24 June 2013
    15 Comments

    The sinking of the asylum seeker vessel SIEV 358 encapsulates key questions as to why these tragedies too often happen at interfaces between Australia's border protection system and maritime search and rescue system, and the under-resourced Indonesian maritime search and rescue system. Hopefully next week's public inquest by the WA Coroner comes up with some answers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    More asylum seeker deaths, more unanswered questions

    • Tony Kevin
    • 11 June 2013
    34 Comments

    The fact that the boat was seen as stationary on Wednesday should have alerted Border Protection Command to the risk of likely engine failure. Had they reacted more quickly, the 55 or 60 drowned people may have been rescued. Instead, their boat drifted helplessly westwards, away from Christmas Island, and at some stage capsized and began to sink.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    New maritime rescue failure leaves unanswered questions

    • Tony Kevin
    • 20 May 2013
    19 Comments

    On Friday, Fairfax reported on another ordeal at sea, over ten days between 27 April and 7 May. Only two people died, but the toll could easily have been far worse. The story as we know it so far raises disturbing questions about Australia’s adherence to its rescue-at-sea obligations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Did Australian authorities do enough to try to save asylum seeker lives?

    • Tony Kevin
    • 16 April 2013
    8 Comments

    We now have another distressing and perplexing case of possible Australian failure properly to use intelligence information to save lives. If the unnamed agency that briefed AMSA did have the relevant coordinates, and yet did not pass them to AMSA to pass to BASARNAS, it could be complicit in the deaths of up to 58 people last week.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Gillard chalks up a win in China

    • Tony Kevin
    • 11 April 2013
    4 Comments

    The Rudd years, like the Howard years, were years of stasis, even regression, in Australia-China relations. Refreshingly, Julia Gillard chalked up a major foreign policy success this week, putting Australia-China relations back on the track trailblazed by Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke many years ago.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas Island capsize demands coronial inquest

    • Tony Kevin
    • 28 March 2013
    39 Comments

    The details of the event as so far publicly known suggest seriously life-threatening negligent process. No one would have died if this unnecessary and, on the face if it, unprofessional halt and boarding had not taken place. No amount of blaming the asylum seekers' poor seamanship can get around that fact.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    America's choice through Australian eyes

    • Tony Kevin
    • 01 November 2012
    9 Comments

    If citizens of other nations could vote, it should be Obama by a mile! Outsiders are perplexed by polling that suggests a cliffhanger in the contest between the incumbent Obama and the Republican compromise candidate Romney. The issues – many of which are vital for Australia – are clear, but the outcome is not.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human lives Australia could have saved

    • Tony Kevin
    • 05 September 2012
    14 Comments

    Australian maritime safety and border protection authorities could have saved the lives of most of the people on the boat that made two distress calls by telephone to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority early last Wednesday. Instead they passed the responsibility to Indonesia, which has none of the sophisticated resources and technologies that Australia uses - when it wants to - to locate and intercept incoming unauthorised boats.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Assange tests British diplomatic principle

    • Tony Kevin
    • 20 August 2012
    21 Comments

    Julian Assange sits securely in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, as Cardinal József Mindszenty did for years inside the US Embassy in Communist-ruled Hungary. This is a benefit of the Vienna Convention. If Britain violated this principle by storming or cutting off utilities to the Embassy, the diplomatic protection of its officials and their families around the world would be weakened immediately.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Houston report's significance for deaths at sea

    • Tony Kevin
    • 16 August 2012
    8 Comments

    A boat disappeared on 28 June, the 67 people on board presumed dead. The usual dysfunctional patterns of official behaviour followed: tardy response to families, insensitive language, political exploitation. Hopefully the Houston report's quiet hints that all is not well might lead to a more compassionate and timely response in future.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abbott's asylum seeker turn-back policy is a bad joke

    • Tony Kevin
    • 27 July 2012
    15 Comments

    Can Abbott and Morrison be serious about turning back the boats? Do they really want to expose the Navy to the fear, the rage, the encouragement to self-harm and lethal criminality, the emotional damage, the risks to Australian-Indonesian relations that have beset past turn-back policies?

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