The Amnesty International report on 28 October 2015 gave us details about how Australian officials made payments to the Indonesian smuggling crew on two occasions (Download AI report here --> http://www.netipr.org/saorg/docs/20151028_australia-abuse-asylum-seekers-at-sea-by-ai.pdf) . The first occasion on May 2015, the boat with 65 Sri Linkan nationals were onboard had been traveling to New Zealand. On the second instance on late June 2015, the boat was with onboard two dozen passengers from Bangladesh and Burma. The Indonesian authorities had made public about the Australian bribery payments for the first occasion, including evidences of the money being paid. For the second occasion, the Indonesian authorities keep the case close to their chest, but we can be certain that all evidences were carefully examined and kept for future references. In any case, we -- the observers -- now have all political information about the Australian officials' bribery payments to the people smugglers.
There are two things still baffling for me though. First, why Australian Government considered it is 'necessary' to pay those Indonesian crews ? We have to ponder this question because the Operation Sovereign Borders had been in action since 2013 and there were previous instances of turning back boats without ever paying to the crews.
The second puzzle is from the timeline of May 2015 incident. That well equipped boat had departed on 5th May 2015 from Pelabuhan Ratu of Indonesia and traveling towards New Zealand on international waters. The Australian officials made their first contact with this boat on 17th May 2015. Why wait this long, if they know this was a smugglers boat which were to be intervened ? Then only on 22nd May 2015, the Australian officials had taken control of the boat, took it to the Greenhill Island of Australia. There, the alleged payment to the crew was made and send the passengers and crew back to Roti Island of Indonesia on the 29th May 2015. Question: what did it tell us about from these interceptions ? What the Australian Government were thinking all that time ? That is quite a mystery.
In any case, the Australian Senate hearing on the bribery payments will be again on this Friday 5th February 2015. I look forward to hear more about these. -- In Solidarity, U Ne Oo, Sydney.