1) Border Patrol: Torres Strait edition
2) RI, Oz cyber war heats up
1) Border Patrol: Torres Strait edition
Last month, a group of indigenous Melanesians from Indonesia's West Papua province tried to enter Australia through the Torres Strait.
They never made it.
The seven West Papuans were reported by the people on the very first island they reached after transiting through Papua New Guinea's Western Province.
They were sent back to PNG and are now in a refugee camp near Papua New Guinea's border with Indonesia.
Our correspondent Sean Dorney was invited by Australia's Customs and Border Security Service to join a cross border patrol in the Torres Strait.
SEAN DORNEY: On Thursday Island, I boarded the Australian Customs vessel Holdfast Bay for what turned out to be a relatively rough seven hour passage up through the islands of the Torres Strait to one of the three Australian populated islands just off the mainland of Papua New Guinea - Saibai.
One or two of the other non-crew members aboard looked decidedly seedy, but to my surprise, despite the constant heaving of the vessel, I did not get seasick.
Towards the late afternoon, we dropped anchor in the much calmer, narrow passage that separates Saibai from the PNG coastline.
The commanding officer of the Holdfast Bay is Andrew Flockhart.
ANDREW FLOCKHART: We're on patrol here for 22 days at a time. And we may be stationed in this area for perhaps 18 of those 22 days, depending on what activity has been detected in the area.
SEAN DORNEY: The next day, I hopped on one of the patrol boat's speedy tenders to check on the mangrove creeks that snake into Saibai Island.
SCOTT CURRELL: We've been tasked to come and patrol Saibai Island.
SEAN DORNEY: Scott Currell, a Customs and Border Protection tactical officer.
SCOTT CURRELL: We've got lots of creeks up through here and in the past illegal foreign fishing boats have come here to seek refuge.
SEAN DORNEY: The skipper of the tender on this trip was George Martin, a Thursday Islander, who knows these islands very well.
GEORGE MARTIN: You'd actually get people coming up here to do a bit of barramundi fishing and stuff like that. So a lot of the times it's probably a safe haven that they come up for, and also to hide out as well.
SEAN DORNEY: There were no illegal fishing boats in any of the mangrove creeks we navigated. But the main purpose of the patrol was a joint operation with Papua New Guinea Customs, Immigration and Police officers, and each morning there was a briefing at the Customs office on Saibai Island.
LIAM DALY: We've got two helicopters going out. The first one's been moved forward slightly. They want us at the airport at 9.30 rather than at 10.30.
SEAN DORNEY: Liam Daly is the Customs and Border Security team leader in the Torres Strait.
LIAM DALY: Cross border patrols - they kicked off in 1997 and they're jointly run by Australian and PNG authorities. We also do some capacity building with Papua New Guinea authorities. We have the assets to get them to areas where they can't always get to.
SEAN DORNEY: The international border in this region is complex. The three populated Australian islands are so close to Papua New Guinea that the normal rules of territorial waters don't apply. And a special treaty allows traditional visitation rights by the local indigenous people on both sides without the need for passports or visas.
About 50,000 visits are made each year by Papua New Guineans to the Australian islands.
ROBINSON GIBUNA: We go daily for shopping and traditional visiting.
SEAN DORNEY: Robinson Gibuna, a pastor from the PNG village of Sigabaduru, said the links with Saibai and the other Australian islands go back thousands of years.
ROBINSON GIBUNA: We have the same clan system from long ago. That's the kind of bond or relationship that we have.
SEAN DORNEY: On another of the Australian islands, just a short boat ride from PNG, Dauan Island, I met Nope Nama, another PNG villager from Sigabaduru, who was buying sugar and fruit juice from the well stocked supermarket.
He headed back across the border before nightfall. And it is at night, anchored in that passage between Saibai Island and the PNG coastline, that you see the sharp contrast between life on either side of the border.
Saibai, to your right, has both electricity and running water, and its lights can be seen from a long way away. But over on your left, on the Papua New Guinea side, the large village of Sigabaduru with 850 to 1,000 residents has neither running water nor electricity. And at night its kerosene lamps can hardly be seen at all.
Sigabaduru doesn't have a jetty either, and the next morning, the team had to wade ashore.
The Australian Federal Police have no right to carry arms on the PNG side of the border, and on the beach the AFP officer handed over his weapon to his PNG counterpart ahead of a village meeting.
Liam Daly addressed the assembled Sigabaduru villagers.
LIAM DALY: I'll probably be on these patrols for the next few years - back to Sigabaduru - so I'd like to get to know everyone whilst I'm here. We're interested in the movement of people into Australia, movement of people out of Australia. Things like guns, drugs, money movement - that kind of stuff.
SEAN DORNEY: The Australian Federal Policeman in the joint border patrol was Grant Smith.
GRANT SMITH: I just want to say that we really value the relationship that we've established with your village here. And because we're so close, PNG and Australia are so close here, these cross border patrols, which are led by Customs, it's really about us working together across that border so that both communities are safe.
SEAN DORNEY: Information from Sigabaduru has led to the detention of people trying to reach Australia, as a former school teacher, Koeget Salee, told the meeting.
KOEGET SALEE: Even the small ones, those who go and walk about in the saltwater, when they go and see a strange person they start running into the house or to the village saying, 'Hey, somebody strange is there!'
SEAN DORNEY: And that is what Robinson Gibuna, the pastor, had told me earlier.
ROBINSON GIBUNA: We know which people are from those islands and they know who we are. And any strange person trying to go across, trying to use our identity, will be caught easily.
SEAN DORNEY: Nope Nama, the man from Sigabaduru I'd met doing his shopping on Dauan the previous day, told me of one case where, after the children had reported the presence of somebody dropped off in the mangroves, he had been handed him over to the local magistrate.
Liam Daly, the Customs and Border Security team leader, told me the visits were all about building up relationships.
LIAM DALY: The islands, the villagers, they know what's right and what's wrong in those communities. If people are looking to bring drugs through, we rely on them to provide that information. If someone's in their community who shouldn't be there, they'll notify people very quickly.
SEAN DORNEY: Some residents in the Torres Strait, like Bob Zylmans, who lives on Badu Island, say they'd like to see more border protection.
BOB ZYLMANS: They're doing a wonderful job up here, but they're, they're not thick enough; there's not enough of them.
You know, like, many Australian people don't realise that the New Guinea border is about two and half kilometres away. They don't realise that the Irian Jaya border is about 100 kilometres away and we're very susceptible here to all sorts of stuff coming into the country. And we honestly need more Customs boats up around the Torres Strait.
SEAN DORNEY: But on this international border at least, the authorities on both sides seem to agree on the need for cooperation.
This has been Sean Dorney for Correspondents Report.