80 aboard as 101st asylum-seeker boat arrives undetected at Christmas Island
Paige Taylor, Christmas Island; 2/4/10; (3 Items)
A boatload of asylum-seekers has arrived at Christmas Island undetected, the second vessel to do so this week. The boat was intercepted last night about one kilometre from the island. It is understood there are more than 80 people on board. On Monday, a boat of asylum-seekers sailed into Flying Fish Cove and phoned the Australian Federal Police office on Christmas Island to request a pick-up. This morning’s arrival will place more strain on the island’s detention facilities, where there are currently more than 1800 people.
Some wear smiles, some are grim-faced, most look unsure
Jacob Saulwick; 2/4/10;
ON TOP of the jetty, they shuffled into buses, young men mostly, some women, and a few very little children. Below the jetty, a local man swam and duck-dived in the aquamarine of the Indian Ocean, not oblivious to but not bothered by the procession overhead. Yesterday brought the 101st arrival of asylum seekers in the life of the Rudd government. Spotted on Tuesday night, the boat was the 16th to arrive in March, surpassing the monthly record of 14 in November 1999.
For many on Christmas Island, Australia’s asylum seeker repository, this latest arrival was just more of the same. Two hours before the first arrivals were brought to shore, a father and son were surfing next to the jetty on Flying Fish Cove. An hour later, the Thai ship Sea Brighton pulled into the cove to load up on phosphate from the island’s mine.
Church slams Abbott’s ‘chilling’ asylum message
The Uniting Church’s president has described Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s language on asylum seekers as “extreme”. Mr Abbott said this week that a Coalition government would do “whatever it takes” to stop unauthorised boat arrivals in Australian waters. Reverend Alistair Macrae says his Easter message is for Australians to be more welcoming to asylum seekers. He says there has been a mean-spirited approach to the issue. “Mr Abbott’s phrase ‘whatever it takes’ is slightly chilling to me,” he said. “It just seems quite extreme language for an issue which on the world scale is pretty small. “We’re talking as if we’re being inundated by asylum seekers at the moment, but relative to other countries the numbers that come here [are] really a mere trickle.” Reverend Macrae says the comments are sending the wrong message. “At the moment our whole language and rhetoric around this is sort of hostile, and to invoke the phrase, ‘un-Australian’,” he said. “I just think we need to send a different message to the world, that we’re prepared to take our reasonably fair share of asylum seekers into this country.”