Is Australia paying people smugglers to turn back? 256



View Profile

In a letter to the New Zealand government, 65 asylum seekers say Australian officials paid the crew of their boat at least $7000 each to turn back to Indonesia. The passengers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, were seeking asylum in New Zealand when their boat was intercepted by Australian navy and Customs officials.

Upon returning to Indonesia, the boat’s captain told the police chief there the crew was allegedly paid thousands of dollars in $US100 notes by an Australian customs officer called Agus, who spoke Indonesian. The crew corroborated the story.

When asked by Fairfax whether Australian officials had paid the crew of a boat carrying asylum seekers to stay away from Australia, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton simply replied, “No”.

The Minister has refrained to comment further, stating the Government’s policy of not commenting on “on-water matters”.

An Immigration Department spokesman added: “The Australian government does not comment on or disclose operational details where this would prejudice the outcome of current or future operations”.

Bangladeshi man Nazmul Hassan told Fairfax journalists he saw the skipper put money in his pocket. The Indonesian police chief said he had seen the money and that the crew had $US30,000 in notes, wrapped in black plastic bags.

In the letter, the passengers describe an initial interception by Australian officials, followed by a six-hour meeting with the crew. They allege they were taken on board a navy ship and kept in jail-like conditions, before the Australian navy burned their boat and sent them back to Indonesia.

“Then they take away our better boat and give two small boats that had just a little dry foods like biscuits and chocolates, and they also give very little fuel, just 200 litres for four to five hour journey,” the letter says.

The asylum seekers swam ashore after their boat hit rocks in the West Rote district of Indonesia; the crew of the boat has been apprehended in Rote and are being charged with people-smuggling.

Experts say paying asylum seekers is unheard of and also unlikely conduct by Australian officials. But who are we to believe?

Tell us: what are your thoughts on the alleged use of tax-payers’ money? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. More appalling behaviour from surely the most disingenuous government this country has ever seen.

    23 REPLY
    • Robyn, As many more Australians obviously disagree with your ethos concerning asylum seekers and not wanting to use their (and your) tax dollars, I suggest you and your ilk band together, purchase a suitable ship, crew the ship, sail out to meet the boats, take them on board your vessel, meet, greet, process, accommodate, feed, assist intergration and find them employment all on your time and money. That way you and your ilk are happy and the rest of us, while not believing they are genuine asylum seekers, won’t whinge about the cost, but we will whinge about disengenuous, downright dishonest, so called asylum seekers entering our country illegally. Finally, if you believe this allegation you obviously believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

    • Very well put, Why can’t they live in Bangladesh . as my Bangladeshi friend says, they left for poverty reasons , but thought they were better than Burmese, and that doesn’t go down well

    • I don’t believe it but just the same .. if it keeps those scum from coming here it can’t be all bad

    • Do you people have any idea how much our government pays not to process asylum seekers? Just one example. Have paid $40 million to Cambodia plus $4 million for each person they take. I actually think it would cost less if they were properly processed, those who don’t meet asylum seeker criteria are repatriated. The genuine ones begin their life in Australia & predominantly become contributing citizens within a few years. The same as the European ‘refos’ who came in the 40 s & 50s.

      1 REPLY
      • You are right margaret, there is also the 3 billion per year to keep both islands going. Is the cost really worth it??

    • I think you who are slamming those unable to fend for themselves, are missing the obvious point. Mr Abbott states his inhumane policies, decried the world over, are to stop the people traffickers from thier deadly income producing game. So what he is doing here is PAYING THE WAGES of the people smugglers in order to ‘stop’ them. Does that make any sense to you?

    • Arthur Black, may you find some kindness in your heart and may you never be in the hideous position of these humans. Carmel Bodgdan, it is NOT illegal to seek assylum. Australia has signed up to the convention that supports this but sadly this current government feeds the fears and prejudices of the ill informed. Irene Elliot there ARE legal process, this government will not follow them though. Dawn Bruce, don’t let anecdotal evidence get in the way of statistical truths. Of the assylum seekers who were lucky enough to get processed in the last 10 years, 97.8% were found to be true refugees. As this government simply refuses to process them, we will never know ( unless you count the four questions given at sea and then oh, back you lot go into the hands of those who are torturing you, as processing)

      1 REPLY
      • And 85% of those are unemployable due to the having the pray 5 times a day and not working their holy day, Friday

    • Margaret Slorach It costs $70 K to process one asylum seeker, Then if they come here WELFARE for ever, Proven point over 70% of recent arrivals over last 5 years never find work. We don’t have labouring jobs for Australians let alone illegals . No way can these Muslims be compared to Europeans, etc of 50,60s they fitted in, never a bad word , never a complaint, took our Australian ways, and would not like the comparison,

    • Dawn Bruce. Muslims have been here since the mid 1800’s. I think they fittedin alright. Have you just become aware?

    • *sighs* Just a bit tired of the mindless bigotry. This post was not about muslims…not about muslim haters. It was about a government PAYING people smugglers to move on assylum seekers. It must be tiring to carry so much hatred around. I’m done.

    • Yvonne Jackson I am well aware of that , ONE of them killed a relation in Broken Hill when they held up the picnic train, By the way I did say the RECENT arrivals, and I did see $70k on A Bolts column this morning & he usually is pretty factual. The percentage of those not working I heard a minister from NT quoting figures & amounts for English lessons , AND how many arrivals & how many were working. and not working. Enquiry into Senate estimates .English lessons were not well attended so I assume they were thinking of cutting funding , I have never seen one, none live in my suburb, or anywhere around , thank god. . but friends do have them living near them.

    • Robyn Green This post is about Muslims they are the ONLY illegals we get now. . I would like it better if they called themselves Indian, Pakistani, Burmese, Iranian ETC, but no we stick to Muslim, an ideology, The religion is Islam

    • Dawn Bruce. I think on another thread you were forecasting sharia law in a few years. You are entitled to your opinion, and entitled to believe Andrew Bolt and Chris Smith. Have a good night.

    • They’re muslim infiltrators, plain and simple. Their reward is in the “next life” if they perish at sea. I don’t know why we take in so many different people that will not and cannot ever fit in here. Multiculturalism will kill Australia and our way of life.

    • Yvonne Jackson Sen J Lambie has a bill to go to Cabinet banning Sharia Law. as it has been introduced in Tasmania in some form.

    • Dawn Bruce. I have relatives in Tasmania, they have not mentioned that sharia law has been introduced. Thanks for that. Must tell them.

  2. Why was the letter send to the New Zealand government and its only alleged there is no proof and most of those people couldnt write a letter in english anyway

    2 REPLY
    • How would you know whether or not they can read and write English. And even if they can’t, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be able to get someone else to write it for them.
      As for sending it to the NZ Government. That was to ensure it was not destroyed. You don’t send a letter like this to the Australian government complaining about what the Australian government doesn’t want made public. It would quickly disappear and Abbott and his cronies would deny it was ever received.

  3. Cheaper than allowing them to arrive in Australia without papers & the amount of money it costs to care for them ….
    P.S. I am not a Racist .

    2 REPLY
    • I’m sorry but is better to be in familiar surrounds than in detention….we just can’t afford them at the moment….if we get our house back in order…and can employ them all good.I’m not a racist, but i see many immigrants, here who are totally out of their comfort zone..our laws…confuse them….our language is worse..they won’t learn…..bosses get frustrated. Please think about.the consequences in years to come.

    • I agree, when we have the funds to look after our own citizens we could look at proper migration through the right channels – No Papers, NO AUSTRALIA … People smugglers and their boat Captains should be fined/jailed for such a heinous crime.

  4. I hope we are never at war in many of the commentators’ lifetimes and that you never have to flee. No one would get on a boat just to bend the rules. And just because they may not have followed the prescribed process of seeking a better life – it doesn’t mean that we have to be callous and cruel. And lets hope this report is not true – because if it is, we have lost our moral compass.

    5 REPLY
    • They are not fleeing war. They are economic illegal immigrants. We need to maintain our tough stance on these people, we have not got the money or the infrastructure to accommodate them. Send them toI Indonesia, they don’t want that so perhaps they will go back or better still stop coming. We must not give way or we will be in the same state as EUROPE, SCANDINAViA and the UK, Check it out, it is not propoganda, these people are threatening local populations with violence, anything to get to EUROPE and the U.k. We must not let them threaten us.

    • Family in London say it’s getting beyond a joke over there. They stop people from going to certain parts of London claim it’s theirs. If the government keep letting them pour in here, the same will happen here. Keep letting them in. Where will they live. And we’re being told we’re broke. They will still expect money. Say we’re racist. I’m just concerned for my grandchildren. (My opinion only)

    • “Moral compass” doesn’t pay the daily living expenses of most of our own citizens who are in dire straits through no fault of their own! Easy to say “look for a job” from those already in a job; not everyone can be a CEO or deputy assistant to an assistant, as unemployment is rife amongst those in the “coal face” or “ground floor level”! Until that pressing problem is solved, then, & only then can the TAXPAYERS help the “economic refugees”! OUR CITIZENS COME FIRST, in my book!

  5. No I do not believe this, even if the letter was written why would you believe someone who is prepared to pay 10’sK to people smugglers and destroy their identity papers in an effort to circumvent legal entry.

  6. Scandalous if it’s true.. But the government won’t confirm or deny it because it’s “an operational matter”! How ridiculous!!

  7. Sounds like a made up story to get the do gooders on side. These people will lie to get their own way and they do not care who they blame for all their woes. They have been told to stop coming here but the message does not seem to be getting through.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *