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Greens bring transparency to government's 'Operation Secret Boats'



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MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Greens bring transparency to government’s ‘Operation Secret Boats’

The Australian Greens’ Order for Production of Documents has been passed by the Senate and will now force the Coalition to table reports about on-water incidents under Operation Sovereign Borders.

“This will bring an end to the Coalition’s arrogant silence,” the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The tired, empty excuses and refusal to discuss so called ‘operational matters’ have shown the Australian people that secrecy is more important to this Abbott government than transparency.”

The passage of the Greens’ transparency motion means that the government must table a report to the Parliament within 24 hours of each on-water incident that takes place under Operation Sovereign Borders.

“The Greens will drag the Coalition, kicking and screaming if we have to, to transparency and openness. The government needs to recognise the significance of today’s decision.

“It’s time for Operation Secret Boats to come to an end.”

The text of the Order for Production of Documents is below.

Media Contact: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760

NOTICE OF MOTION Senator Sarah Hanson-Young I move that - (1) the following documents relating to any ‘on water operations’ that occurred between 7

September 2013 and 14 November 2013 be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection by noon 18 November 2013 all communications including but not limited to: Any report or briefing to, or email or other correspondence between the Minister or the Minister’s office and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection or the Detection, Interception and Transfer Task Group and related agencies which includes information related to any or all of the following:

i. the chronology of events, ii. ‘illegal maritime arrival‘s’ (unauthorised arrivals), and iii. Suspected Irregular Entry Vessels (SIEVs) intercepted at sea, iv. distress calls to and response time by the Australian Maritime Safety

Authority (AMSA), v. where the SIEV was detected,

vi. nationality of passengers, vii. safety-of-life-at-sea incidents, viii. SIEV turn backs, ix. SIEV tow backs;

x. number of people suspected to be on board the SIEVs, xi. the number of children suspected to be on board the SIEVs, and xii. how many people, if any, were subject to ‘on water transfers’.

(2) No later than 24 hours after an event relating to ‘on water operations’ all communications be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection including but not limited to: any report or briefing to, or email or other correspondence between the Minister or the Minister’s office and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection or the Detection, Interception and Transfer Task Group and related agencies which includes information related to any or all of the following information:

i. the chronology of events, ii. ‘illegal maritime arrivals’ (unauthorised arrivals), iii. Suspected Irregular Entry Vessels (SIEVs) intercepted at sea, iv. distress calls to and response time by the Australian Maritime Safety

Authority, v. where the SIEV was detected, vi. nationality of passengers, vii. safety-of-life-at-sea incidents, viii. SIEV turn backs,

ix. SIEV tow backs; x. number of people suspected to be on board the SIEVs, xi. the number of children suspected to be on board the SIEVs, and xii. how many people, if any, were subject to ‘on water transfers’.

(3) If the Senate is not sitting within the 24 hours after the event relating to ‘on water operations’ then the documents are to be presented to the President under standing order 166 on the next working day.