Reluctant Rescuers: An Exploration of the Australian Border Protection System’s Safety Record in Detecting and Intercepting Asylum-seeker Boats, 1998–2011
Tony Kevin, $24.95 pb, 190 pp, 9780987319005
In Reluctant Rescuers, Tony Kevin addresses the rescue at sea of boat people who have entered Australian waters. He aims to provide a ‘fact-based analysis of a shadowy’ – and deeply controversial – ‘area of public policy’. Kevin begins by correcting the myth that ‘people smugglers’ are the ‘main culprits when people die at sea’. He investigates the border protection systems that were implemented by Liberal and Labor governments between 1998 and 2011. There is an explanation of how so-called ‘Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels’ (SIEVs) are detected and intercepted. Kevin describes the dangers of turning asylum seeker boats away from Australia. He argues that ‘it is vital for our nation not to lose our sense of common humanity in administering border protection policies’.