I doubt it and I certainly hope not, but it is not surprising that such stories are spreading rapidly around the world.
Refugees often come from countries where the military control the civilian population. They come from countries where the government is silent, where people have no idea what happened to their neighbours who are no longer there. This is what refugees are fleeing from.
Refugees coming by boat to Australia are being met on the high seas by Australian Naval vessels. Those that do make it to Australia disappear. We are told that they are set to PNG or other destinations and they probably are. I say probably are because we do not know. We do not know who has arrived, under what circumstances they arrived or where they have gone. We do not even know if they are allowed to contact their families to say they are alive. They leave Indonesia and disappear into a black hole.
This sounds very much like the conditions the refugees are fleeing in the first place. Is it any wonder that when a refugee boat sinks and the Navy arrives too late to save them the immediate reaction is that we let them drown?
Our Navy letting refugees drown does not have to be true. It only has to be that the silence of the Abbott government makes it inevitable that such stories would become true in the minds of many. As an Australian I have this little niggle that it could be true. Image you are in Afghanistan or Iran. How much stronger would the likelihood of the stories being true be? Abbott has been Prime Minister for 67 days and already Australia has been trashed in the eyes of the world.
Whatever the world may have said about our refugee policy under the Gillard government never accused of letting refugees to die at sea. Nor was the Gillard government ever accused of censorship. How low have we sunk since Abbott won the election? How much lower can we go in three years? Can Australia afford another three years of Abbott? How long will it take to repair the damage when Abbott has gone?
The use of the military to combat refugees must cease. Censorship must cease. There are certain minimum standards that must exist if Australia is to retain any semblance of being a democracy. In 67 days we have sunk considerably below those minimums.