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SIEV X and the Banality of Evil: an interview with Tony Kevin


Tony Kevin is the author of the award-winning A Certain Maritime Incident: The Sinking of the SIEV X, published in 2004. He retired from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1998, after a thirty-year public service career involving posts in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Prime Minister’s Department. He was previously Australia’s ambassador to Poland (1991-94) and Cambodia (1994- 97). Tony Kevin has been an honorary Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies since 1998. Since 2001 he has given guest classes on United Nations peacekeeping at Melbourne University Institute of Asian Languages and Societies, and since 2004 has given tutorials at the University of Wollongong on the role of diplomacy in International Relations. Since February 2002, Tony Kevin has been assisting in the public investigation of the sinking south of Java on 19 October 2001 of the asylumseeker boat that took 353 lives, referred to as SIEV X (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel, Unknown). Tony Kevin testified at the Senate hearings into SIEV X and SIEV 4 (The Children Overboard Affair) in March and April 2002 and has written numerous articles for Eureka Street, Canberra Times, Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, and The Australian Financial Review. He has been awarded the “International Whistleblower of the Year” by the prestigious London-based “Index on Censorship” non-governmental organisation in March 2003, and a “Just Australian of the Year 2003” award by the “A Just Australia” organisation in July 2003.