"Just Farmers And Fishermen"

The verdict is in!

Tim Blair:

“I’m no law-talkin’ guy, but this seems slightly out of order:”

Sydney courts will put on trial 31 accused people-smugglers during the next six months. Today’s SMH offers an extraordinary comment from the Chief Judge of the District Court, Reg Blanch, who will oversee the trials:

‘’The people being tried are in fact farmers and fishermen. None of these people are organisers of people smuggling,’’ he said. 

Their cases, obviously, are yet to be heard – but here we have Justice Blanch apparently delivering an across-the-board not-guilty verdict.

Perhaps notably, AAP’s summary of the SMH’s story omits the chief judge’s line. Opinions from actual law-talkin’ types are welcome in comments.

Ah yes: and you’re no longer supposed to know what our new arrivals look like:


Australian television stations may no longer show images of asylum seekers arriving by boat. The government – and the ABC, as though there’s a difference – impose this new rule due to “privacy concerns”.

In a sense, this officially makes them illegal immigrants.