Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Thu 25 Jul 2013



The Northern Territory news Thu 25 Jul 2013

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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News Corp Australia

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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News Corp Australia



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4 NT NEWS. Thursday, July 25, 2013. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 2 5 -J U L -2 0 1 3 P A G E : 4 C O L O R : C M Y K NEWS l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l ntnews.com.au Abbotts war on boats By GEMMA JONES Coalition wants general to head taskforceA THREE-STAR general combining the might of 11 departments and agencies would wage a Coalition governments war against people smugglers. Elevating the mission to stop asylum boats to the military will today be unveiled as a key policy by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his immigration spokesman Scott Morrison. The new salvo in the election battle will be pitted against Labors new policy of shipping asylum seekers to PNG for resettlement. Recommended by the Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley, the general would lead a $10 million taskforce to combat people smuggling if the Coalition won office at the next election. It would combine the border protection roles of agencies from the Department of Immigration, the AFP, Customs, Defence to all security agencies, including ASIO. The agencies, which currently report to several ministers, would have a single chain of command to the general, who would report to the Immigration Minister. Mr Morrison said the taskforce would allow agencies to share information on targets, such as suspected people smugglers in Australia. He said currently authority and accountability was fragmented across agencies, portfolios and ministers with government unable to respond quickly. Progress of the taskforce, to be called Operation Sovereign Borders, would be scrutinised by Cabinets National Security Committee. The Coalitions policy docu ment states: The scale of this problem requires the discipline and focus of a targeted military operation, placed under a single operational and ministerial command and drawing together all the necessary resources and deployment of government agencies. More than 48,000 people have arrived on boats since Labor was elected in 2007 with around 3000 this month, in which there have been three tragedies at sea which have claimed dozens of lives, many of them children. When I say we need to go to war on people smugglers, this is about using the discipline and focus that accompanies military operations to make sure we throw everything we have at this problem we do it in a coordinated way and can respond quickly and decisively to whatever comes back at us, Mr Morrison said. Seekers find no asylum, only death and misery EXCLUSIVE ByPAUL TOOHEY in Cidaun, West Java Dhanusa, centre, aged 34, pictured yesterday at a Cidaun clinic . . . she lost her three children and her husband in the sinking Picture: ARDILE RANTE An Indonesian policeman carries an exhausted young boy whowas saved during the rescue effort after a boat broke apart Picture: AFP THE dead baby has lain all morning on a table in the local clinic, wrapped in a white shroud. But now it is time to move the child inland to a proper morgue. Vinothini, a very young mother, is hit with yet another crushing wave of grief. Vinothini stumbles, supported by her husband Vimalarasu, as paramedics carry a yellow body bag holding their one-year-old son, Kishanlh, to an ambulance. She sinks further in despair. Wrenching screams break out in the clinic grounds as a Sri Lankan mother is reunited with her lifeless son, who appears to be aged about five years old. Standing in the clinic doorway with heavy tears streaming down her face is Dhanusa, aged 34, also from Sri Lanka. Her three children, aged 12, 10 and seven, and her husband, are all gone, taken by the sea. They were thrown into heaving seas at about 5pm on Tuesday night, after a wickedly overloaded smugglers vessel took a nosedive and broke at the seams off the West Java coast. Dhanusa said when they were in their deepest strife, a vessel pulled alongside as she fell into the sea. One ship near us, she said in broken English. Not save, not care. Other witnesses say the captain of the asylum vessel arranged through the smuggler network for a boat to rescue himself and the crew, abandoning the others. People smugglers dont make available their ships manifests and it is not certain how many were aboard. Local police say that 157 people made it to shore. They believe there were 175 people on board. The asylum seekers say there were more than 200 aboard, including approximately 40 children, about 30 of whom are not accounted for. At 1pm local time there was a rush of excitement as rescuers began bringing survivors to shore. They said they spent the night in lifejackets, clinging to debris. Eight people came in but the mood darkened when the first was a boy aged three or four who was breathing but not responding to treatment. An Iranian father wept for joy upon finding his small daughter alive who, apart from crying uncontrollably, seemed to be in good shape. The rest were adults. Rescuers also brought in more body bags bringing the death toll to nine. Inside the clinic, another Sri Lankan woman tells how her husband had already gone ahead by boat to Australia, to prepare the way for a new life for herself and two daughters, aged six and two. This man does not yet know that his six-year-old daughter is dead. Survivors said the boat departed from Jayanti, a secluded beach near the fishing village of Cidaun on Tuesday morning. It had been loaded up by local fishermen working for the smugglers. The asylum seekers said the boat started taking water the moment the passengers crushed on to its decks. They limped slowly in the direction of Christmas Island when the asylum seekers, mostly Sri Lankans and Iranians, began pleading with the captain to turn around. He agreed, but the water level below decks began to rise above the diesel engines. For three hours people were praying, terrified, as they washed helplessly in the Indian Ocean. Then a series of waves, pushed by strong easterly winds coming from behind, swamped the boat. It broke in two along the keel. The woman who is in a hospital in Cidaun with her surviving two-year-old described what happened. I asked somebody to help me, said the woman. I had one hand on a man, and another hand on the baby. But then we got split. The man was holding (my older daughter) but the water was like a whirlpool. She said she saw her daughter rip off her cheap lifejacket as it became soaked and too heavy to hold her up. And then shes gone. The local fishermen who helped with the rescue were likely the very same people who transported the asylum seekers to the doomed vessel. They gathered around the little port in small groups, closing ranks. The Sri Lankans said they mostly travelled down in microbuses from Bogor, in central Java. Some said they had been in Indonesia only a week. The Iranians mostly came directly from Jakarta after being collected by Iranian people smugglers. None of the asylum seekers said they had ever heard of Kevin Rudds Papua New Guinea solution. When the smugglers show them the journey on the map, it looks an easy cruise to Christmas Island; a simple ferry ride. By yesterday afternoon, there were no further bodies coming ashore. The same winds that had caused the asylum boat to swamp and break were now playing havoc with the search. Darwin helps empty Manus SEVENTY adult asylum seeker men from Manus Island were ferried through Darwin to an unknown location yesterday. An Immigration department spokeswoman said: Darwin was used as a transit point to another facility and I dont have a breakdown of who was in the transit, but I can confirm they were from Manus Island regional processing centre. There were 130 people on Manus as of the close of business yesterday and they are being progressively transferred off. The spokeswoman said all 70 of the men yesterday were being transferred from Manus Island to other facilities. She said Manus Island was being emptied to make way for asylum seekers who will be processed through the deal with Papua New Guinea.