BY KEITH JACKSON
IN WHAT CAN only be described as a heavy-handed and unfriendly act, the Australian Immigration Department has destroyed boats used by around 130 people who sailed from PNG to Australia in December claiming Australian citizenship.
The 12 canoes and their outboard motors were seized and the group sent back to PNG from where they were trying to negotiate the return of the vessels.
Leader of the Papua Group, Jonathan Baure, said the people are extremely disappointed by the wanton destruction.
"There [are] families that depend on each dinghy for transporting not only families [but also] communities. It's quite a bit of a disappointment because we are in dialogue," he said.
The Department claimed that destroying the boats was a warning to PNG citizens not to try to enter Australia illegally.
It seems like a bloody-minded and arrogant way to 'educate' people who, while perhaps misguided, had no criminal intent.