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#5 A Safer Place

Stopping the boats. It’s one of the most fraught topics in Australian politics, and most of the time it comes out in two soundbites: saving lives at sea, and securing our borders.

Photo of Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

I was instructed to … select the children on the basis of how young they looked – because we wanted to send the message to people smuggling networks that even the youngest children were eligible for transfer to the island.’

Greg Lake, former Director of Offshore Processing in the Department of Immigration

In this episode, Aziz tells Michael what it actually feels like to make that journey, and why he made the decision to get on a boat bound for Australia. What was going through his mind? Did he know what he was getting himself into before he stepped onboard?

Michael also speaks to somebody with a unique perspective to offer, because it was his job to stop the boats. Former immigration department official Greg Lake tells Michael about the extraordinary lengths he was asked to go to to carry out official government policy – and why he ultimately walked away from the task.


Download a transcript of this episode in Adobe PDF format.

In this episode

  • Abdul Aziz Muhamat
  • Michael Green
  • Greg Lake, former Director of Offshore Processing, Department of Immigration

Our theme music was composed by Raya Slavin. Music used in this episode includes: ‘Kilvo’ and ‘Ontario’ by Radian, ‘Rhodes Viola Multiple’ by Keith Fullerton Whitman, ‘Four-Day Interval’ by Tortoise, ‘Outward’ by Rhythm & Sound, ‘Plastic Energy Man’ by Papa M, ‘Whitetail’ by Low, ‘Mdrmx’ by Brothomstates, ‘Malá Strana’ by Gui Boratto, ‘Collapse of Materialists’ by Forma, ‘Blau’ by Ganger, ‘Guitars for Plants’ by Mice Parade, ‘There Are Other Words (They Have Not Told You Of)’ by Jan Jelinek and ‘On’ by Aphex Twin.

More information

The Messenger is a co-production of Behind the Wire and the Wheeler Centre. It’s produced by Michael Green, André Dao, Hannah Reich and Bec Fary, with Jon Tjhia and Sophie Black at the Wheeler Centre.

Narration by Michael Green. With reporting by Abdul Aziz Muhamat. Additional fact checking by the Guardian’s Ben Doherty; transcription by Claire McGregor, Victoria Grey, Eugenia Zoubtchenko, Laura Mitchell and many more​. This episode was edited and mixed by Bec Fary and Jon Tjhia.

Thank you

Dana Affleck, Angelica Neville and Sienna Merope. Also to Cameron Ford, and to Behind the Wire’s many participants and volunteers. Behind the Wire is supported by the Bertha Foundation.

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