In Quarterly Essay 53, Paul Toohey looks at one of Tony Abbott's signature promises: to stop the boats. Has his government succeeded? If so, at what cost?
In Java, Toohey observes asylum seekers heading for Australia and reports on the Indonesian response. He tells the stories of individual refugees, looks closely at people-smugglers in action, and witnesses the aftermath of a sinking at sea.
Toohey also examines Australian attitudes to refugees, and what politicians have made of them. He assesses the use of secrecy and the term 'illegals.' Tracing the path that led to the PNG Solution, he considers whether there are realistic alternatives to the brutally effective system we now have. This is an unflinching look at people at their worst and best – and most ruthless and most vulnerable – by one of Australia's finest reporters.
About the Author
Paul Toohey covered Peter Falconio's disappearance for The Australian and the subsequent committal and trial of Bradley John Murdoch for The Bulletin, where he has been a senior writer since 2003. He started out in Darwin newspapers, tried his hand at rock and roll writing, was a creative force behind ACP's Picture magazine and an editor of Truth newspaper and the short-lived but spectacular World magazine. In the mid-90s he began writing longer stories. His first book, God's Little Acre, was published in 1996, followed by Rocky Goes West in 1997. He has won the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year and a Walkley Award for magazine feature writing. He lives in Darwin.
Series: Quarterly Essay
Number Of Pages: 120
Published: 14th March 2014
Dimensions (cm): 24.41 x 16.7 x 0.66
Weight (kg): 0.21