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Jakarta Post

Issue of the day: Is Australian govt engaging in piracy?

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Sat, February 15, 2014   /  11:30 am

Feb. 12, p7

It would appear that at least three times in recent weeks the Australian navy and also the customs service has detained Indonesian and other foreign citizens traveling on boats heading for Christmas Island, a territory under Australian sovereignty.

They were people intending to claim refugee status on arrival in Australian territory, which is a right guaranteed under international law. From reports in the Australian press, the initial detentions either took place on the high seas or in Australian waters.  (By Max Lane, Melbourne)

Your comments:

I agree with the author. The asylum seekers should be quickly processed and depart by air to Australia.

Van Man

Some countries like Indonesia were originally founded by rogues and scalawags. The Straits of Malacca were approached with caution because of the problem. Somalia has a problem with it now although it'€™s falling off after naval involvement.

I don'€™t know if its piracy but it works and keeps the country shoppers elsewhere. Sorry about that to the greenies and labor supporters who still haven'€™t worked out why they lost the election.


Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) is about migration control not piracy. Migration control is a fundamental right of every country.

This is because OSB seeks no financial gain but is simply interrupting their intended journey and returning them to where they originated from.

Basically, the Australian government has not given them permission to enter Australia.

Australia would be breaking international law if it returned refugees to from whence they originated and where there was a clear danger of being persecuted. Even then, no country is required to resettle them permanently.

The people coming by boat do not fit these requirements. The author demonstrates he lives on a different planet than the rest of us when he makes the claim '€œrefugees have always been welcomed by the majority of the Australian people'€.

During the last federal election, voters got to choose between parties against boat arrivals and at least one party that fully support unlimited boat arrivals, the Greens. The Greens got 9 percent of the vote. Only a minority of Australians support boat arrivals.


Piracy does not have to involve financial gain. Basically, it'€™s any criminal activity. If I board a ship in international waters its piracy. They key for the Australian navy is where the seizures took place, if its international waters then they don'€™t have jurisdiction.

If an Australian naval vessel boards any boat in international waters when its conducting duties not authorized by the UN, it'€™s illegal and can constitute piracy.

This is where it has been murky. The question is whether it'€™s legal to tow them across international waters against their will. The Australian navy has no jurisdiction outside territorial waters to do that. If I was to arrest you in Australia, and transport you all the way across international waters into Indonesia, once I cross Australia maritime borders is it legal?  


The standard of this article is fair warning to any Indonesian student considering studying at the little known Victoria University.

Grey Zeke

I expect most Indonesian nationals have no engagement with this issue at all. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono showed statesmanship when he delicately reminded the former Labor government that it had lost the game. Since the spying allegations, Yudhoyono has understandably gone quiet.

While Australia struggles with the influx of Muslims from disconnected lands, and they in turn struggle with the social norms of their adoptive country, this does not mean Australians are poorly disposed toward Indonesian Muslims.

Indonesian Muslims are not the ones hopping into boats and taking immigration matters into their own hands.


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