Dark Victory: How a government lied its way to political triumph

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Allen & Unwin, Sep 1, 2004 - Political Science - 480 pages
Dark Victory is not only a fascinating description of past events: between the lines there are dark portents of repercussions yet to come.'

John Button, The Age

Marr and Wilkinson have pulled together the whole confronting tale of how through iron will, subterfuge, disregard for conventions of a civilised seafaring nation, the misuse of secret intelligence and the use of military force against the helpless, the federal government closed its borders in the quest for votes Through forensic research, the authors have managed to build a story that both thrills and appals.'

Tony Wright, The Bulletin

They put lives at risk. They twisted the law. They drew the military into the heart of an election campaign. They muzzled the press. They misused intelligence services, defied the United Nations, antagonised Indonesia and bribed poverty stricken Pacific States. They closed Australia to refugees - and won a mighty election victory.

David Marr and Marian Wilkinson, two of the country's most accomplished investigative journalists, burrow deep into the ways of the Howard government. They reveal the secret history of the campaign against boat people that began with the Tampa and ended ten extraordinary weeks later with the Australian people giving John Howard his third, most daring election victory.

Dark Victory is a thrilling and provocative account of events that shattered many of the myths Australia had about itself and changed profoundly how Australia is seen in the eyes of the world. It is also a potent reminder of the fleeting nature of truth in politics.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - woosang - LibraryThing

An excellent and well researched story of the TAMPA and the poor people John Howard wanted to die at sea. The book makes me so angry and shows our Prime MInister (At the time) to be a WHite supremist ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Fantastic book about the children overboard scandal and how the events of the 2001 election unfolded. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in politics or asylum seekers.

Selected pages


Full up August 23 to 26
Sea rescue August 26
Australia v the boat people
Canberra scrambles August 27
Pan Pan August 28
Boarding party August 29
Labor cornered To August 31
Pacific Solution August 30 31
Truth overboard October 9 to 12
A military campaign October 14 to 23
The boat that sank October 17 to 28
The worst of times October 23 to November 4
The navy leaks November 4 to 8
The burning issue November 8 and 9
Victory party November 10

The rule of law August 29 to September 3
The thick grey line September 3 to 10
The shadow of the Twin Towers September 11 to 19
The voyage of the Manoora September 3 to October 8
Launching the campaign To October 8
Orders from the top October 6 to 9
Glossary and abbreviations

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Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 21 - ... (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress...
Page 438 - January 1951 and owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to a fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country...
Page 438 - January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country...
Page 8 - Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. 2 This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Page 412 - The provisions of this article do not prejudice the International Convention for the unification of certain rules with respect to Assistance and Salvage at Sea...
Page 202 - can be a pipeline for terrorists to come in and use your country as a staging post for terrorist activities'.
Page 371 - The Crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world. Therefore, we should view events not as separate links, but as links in a long series of conspiracies, a war of annihilation in the true sense of the word. In Somalia, on the excuse of restoring hope, 13,000 of our brothers were killed.
Page 189 - In my view the evidence of the respondents' actions in the week following 26 August demonstrate that they were committed to retaining control of the fate of the rescuees in all respects. The respondents directed where the MV Tampa was allowed to go and not to go. They procured the closing of the harbour so that the rescuees would be isolated. They did not allow communication with the rescuees. They did not consult with them about the arrangements being made for their physical relocation or future...
Page 207 - The counsel and solicitors acting in the interests of the rescuees in this case have evidently done so pro bono. They have acted according to the highest ideals of the law. They have sought to give voices to those who are perforce voiceless and, on their behalf, to hold the Executive accountable for the lawfulness of its actions.
Page 439 - December, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.

About the author (2004)

Marian Wilkinson is one of Australia's leading journalists and the author of The Fixer a revealing account of the life and career of Labor's Graham Richardson. She has worked as a senior reporter for the Australian, deputy editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and executive producer of Four Corners. She is currently the Washington correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

David Marr is the award-winning author of Patrick White: A Life Barwick and The High Price of Heaven. In a career spanning thirty years, he has written for The Bulletin and the Sydney Morning Herald, edited the National Times and reported for Four Corners. He is now presenter of ABC-TV's Media Watch.

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