When Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott said they had stopped the boats, they were lying, as you would expect. All they had stopped was the flow of information regarding boat arrivals and that was demonstrated by their insistence that they do not discuss ‘on-water matters’. If you took them at their word, or lack of it, you would believe that no boats had arrived subsequent to the Abbott government taking office. That is what they want us to think. Information is hard to come by, but there are people who make it their business to find out, and in the years since the election of the Abbott government in September, 2013, there have been 33 boat (containing 771 people) turn-backs1. You could be forgiven for thinking that is all there were. However, there are other ways the government lies and obfuscates. This is exemplified by a transcript of a Senate Estimates Committee hearing where Labor Senator Kim Carr questioned an Australian Border Force staffer, Michael Outram, late in 2017. It is worth relating this in its entirety to demonstrate how bizarre the lies of the federal government are.
Kim Carr: Peter Dutton has stated we haven’t had a successful boat arrival in now over 1100 days. Did a boat arrive on Sabo Island on the 20thAugust?
Carr: And did it involve six Chinese nationals?
KC: And was there a New Guinean people smuggler involved?
ABF: There was a New Guinean on board, yes.
KC: Why is that not arrival in Australia?
ABF: It’s not an arrival under the scope of Operation Sovereign Borders.
KC: Oh, I see. So, I want to be clear. Just so we understand what 1,000 days means, it doesn’t mean Chinese, it doesn’t mean east coast?
ABF:We get illegal arrivals all the time and have for years, as you know. The reason Operation Sovereign Borders was set up was not to deal with Papua New Guinea. As I articulated, it was to do with people arriving on the high seas, primarily out of Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Sometimes when a boat arrives, it actually doesn’t. It depends on where it comes from2.
This is the sort of ‘Yes Minister’ garbage which the federal government is quite happy to tell us, because they know enough of us are stupid enough to believe it.