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Monday, November 24, 2008

Record set straight

Tonight's episode of The Howard Years should help to bring out some of the obsessive types who think the children overboard affair was instrumental in Howard's election for a third term as Australian PM.

In a nutshell, Minister Philip Ruddock claimed asylum seekers had thrown their children into the water during an October 6, 2001 incident - information John Howard repeated - but video and other evidence later proved to be inconclusive.

Howard later explained why he refused to apologise: "They irresponsibly sank the damn boat, which put their children in the water".

However, it is now often implied that asylum seekers never did throw children overboard. Maybe not on October 6, 2001.

But as well as detailing a number of other incidents where asylum seekers threatened to drop kids overboard and deliberately sank and set fire to vessels, we have this from David "Scoop" Marr's book Dark Victory (p 321):

"Two sailors from HMAS Bendigo witnessed what happened next. A woman dangled a small child in a red jump suit over the side....The child, about three years old, was also screaming. This time the child was dropped overboard."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The lead-in suggested that the Defence Forces were used to create the Pacific Solution, as if this tainted it. The same commentariat types would love to see the military prosecute wrongdoers like whale killers. It also ignores all the administrative, construction, socil workers, civilian guards, and many more who are required to make a Pacific (or any other) solution work. Punishing illegal fisherfolk falls to Navy or Customs too.
When it came time (much later in the show) to address the Tampa incident, no mention was made of the duress the Captain was put under to change course. He was perfectly entitled to take them to nearby Indonesia, which was closer to his course. That fact only emerged from John Howard during a clip of him talking on the phone. Honest media? I don't see it at work here.
It was deemed necessary to feature unrepresentative "mavericks" like Petro Georgiou and Bruce Baird. Mavericks are good when they are anti-conservative. Not too much highlighting in our media of Ferguson or Costa when they went anti on uranium, nuclear, or climate. Costa has been hounded out at a much younger age than Petro who retires soon.
In respect of East Timor, it is made to appear that JH sparked the disaster, rather than sheet home the blame to the Indons. Funny about that. Our mercurial media are happy to bash the Indons whenever it is not at cross-purposes with bashing our own conservatives. You'd come away from this summary thinking that Howard himself had as good as organised the militias. The killings were "the consequences of failure to convince Indonesia to accept a peacekeeping force."
Nothing to do with the Indons themselves.
Clinton was also airbrushed to look good in providing all the support that he was asked to. As long as no troops were involved.
The apology for the stolen generations should have been given by Howard, even though it has never been demonstrated that there was systematic bad intent rather than good. Removing children is still their best hope, and is continuing. The apology is a fraud, leaving them all to rot in hopeless camps is a fraud, and all the tears cried on camera by all the elders will not alter this.