The Project Brief We’ll Never See: Asylum Over Board


“asylum seekers who arrive by boat will have no chance

of being settled in Australia as refugees”:

Dear-Brother-for-Life K. Rudd, Brisbane, 19th July 2013


To mark this great day, the Ministry of Love has issued the following project brief.

AG Logo

Project Brief: Monument to Lost Asylum Seekers


To permanently record and remember the names of every person who has been lost, since 9th September 2001, in trying to seek asylum in Australia from persecution.


  • To design a monument of great physical beauty and presence that invites people to pause and reflect and remember the lost asylum seekers, and the reasons they were lost.
  • To construct a monument in an enduring form located on crown land and in a publicly accessible place.
  • To record the names on the monument of all the lost: including those who drowned, those who have died in detention, those who became mentally ill in detention, those deported to other places, and those just left to rot somewhere out of sight.
  • To create a place where people can reflect upon these terrible events, and consider all the Australians-that-wanted-to-be but we pushed away.
  • To provide an evocative venue for the national apology that will one day be made for these events.
  • To establish a permanent museum and archives or remembrance centre associated with the monument.

Ideally, each lost person will be remembered by inscribing their name (or names), their date of loss and their age on the monument.

Design principles

An open arch, implying welcome, but which upon closer inspection has locked gates; with semi-circular walls enclosing a space, and inscribed on the walls the names of the lost.

In the centre of the enclosed space a reflecting pool to remind every visitor that we (this generation) allowed this to happen, willingly allowed it, that every single loss is our responsibility.  The Pool could be filled with the crocodile tears of our political classes.

No religious iconography of any sort at all is to be allowed.  The monument will record the failure of our humanity.

The motto “What means this whispering in the bottom of our hearts?” is to be inscribed prominently in the monument.

The monument is to be located in a spectacular setting but a remote place – people must want to go there to confront what we allowed ourselves to become, to understand how we surrendered our values to fundamentalist religious terrorism and the elected tyranny of our own mediocre political class.

The act of visiting the monument needs to invoke a sense of secular pilgrimage.  The location should be somewhere on the north Australian coast, ‘looking out’ to the sea across which we have all come, and towards our future – the water of the reflecting pond and the sea would be a major element of the design and its evocative capacities.

The design will be subject to a world-wide competition – it must be an absolutely outstanding world-class design and unable to be ignored.

The names and operating periods of every single detention facility should also be included in the design (e.g. Manus Island, 2001-2004, 2012-20??) to show the full and vast extent of our Australian gulag.

All the roads and paths around the site will be named after our great leaders, every prime minister and immigration minister who, since 1992, have so willingly made all of this happen in pursuit of their own power and glory, who so easily leapt into the vortex of hatred and fear of anything different, and who made no effort whatsoever to challenge redneckery and ignorance. Just substitute ‘him’ for ‘us’, and their names for Gloucester in Shakespeare’s Henry IV:

..and Gloucester’s show
Beguiles him as the mournful crocodile
With sorrow, snares relenting passengers.

Their great names and even greater deeds must be clearly known to all future generations, and never forgotten.


Ministry of Love (Miniluv), Commonwealth of Australia, Capital Hill, Canberra, ACT 2601

Asylum seekers protesting on the roof of the V...

Asylum seekers protesting on the roof of the Villawood immigration detention centre in Sydney, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

asylum seekers who arrive by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugees”: Dear-Brother-for-Life K. Rudd, Brisbane, 19th July 2013