More Australian government bastardry
"The ceremony will go ahead despite the fact that the organisers don't have official permission to hold it.
"Organisers claim their original plans for a memorial were thwarted at the last minute, as Alison Caldwell reports.
"ALISON CALDWELL: It's been described as Australia's worst maritime disaster since World War II. 353 asylum seekers drowned when their overcrowded fishing boat sank en-route from Indonesia to Christmas Island in October 2001.
"The SIEV-X was carrying mainly women and children from Iraq and Afghanistan. With the help of people smugglers, they were trying to reunite with their husbands and fathers, who'd arrived in Australia two years earlier.
"Five years on, a ceremony will be held in Canberra tomorrow to honour those who died on the SIEV-X.
"Organisers originally wanted a permanent memorial on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, then a temporary three-week memorial, but claim their plans were thwarted at the last minute by Canberra bureaucrats weighed down by a poisonous political agenda.
"Author Steve Biddulph says it's mean-spirited.
"STEVE BIDDULPH: We were very shocked when, about a month out from the time coming up, we were told that it wouldn't be allowed. We were really disappointed, especially because about 250 schools have made poles for the memorial, about 60 churches, and a lot of them are coming to the ACT.
"ALISON CALDWELL: The National Capital Authority says it's only following well publicised mandatory guidelines in rejecting the idea of a national memorial.
It says 10 years must pass after an event, before a permanent memorial can be established.
"Todd Rohl is the Managing Director of Planning and Urban Design with the NCA.
"TODD ROHL: All the guidelines that the National Capital Authority use are based on evaluations on Australian culture and they all have a mandatory period of 10 years.
"So other national memorials actually comply with the guidelines.
"ALISON CALDWELL: The memorial group says that their latest proposal is for a temporary three-week exhibition. What's wrong with that?
"TODD ROHL: We're still waiting for the actual application in relation to the temporary exhibition.
"ALISON CALDWELL: Former diplomat Tony Kevin is the author of a book about the sinking of the SIEV-X.
"TONY KEVIN: It's ugly, but it's what we expect of the Howard Government.
"ALISON CALDWELL: He claims the decision to knock back a memorial comes from the very top.
"TONY KEVIN: George Orwell wrote in 1984, 'he who controls the past, controls the future', and John Howard is trying very hard now to control Australia's past.
"ALISON CALDWELL: Todd Rohl says there's no political conspiracy.
"TODD ROHL: The National Capital Authority is a statutory organisation, and it's our role to enforce the provisions of the plan and to make that decision. The National Capital Authority can't until we get a formal application.
"ALISON CALDWELL: Event organiser Steve Biddulph is yet to be convinced.
"STEVE BIDDULPH: The Prime Minister is about to make a memorial to Steve Irwin. He made a memorial to the Bali bombing, 12 months after that happened and so there are many exceptions to the rule.
"ALISON CALDWELL: Organisers had hoped to plant more than 200 white timber poles in the ground on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Each pole has been painted by a student artist and named after one of the victims.
"Instead the poles will be carried in a procession from the water's edge across a hillside, to show the planned design of a permanent memorial."
AM (emphasis mine)
SIEV-X Memorial :: SIEVX.com
The Blogmanac is dedicated to the 353 victims of Australia's shame, the SIEVX disaster, and casualties of poverty and authority worldwide.
Tagged: siev-x, sievx, john+howard, australia, refugees, racism