Tag Archives: malaysian swap deal

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave, When Even Their ABC Takes Its Leave!

1 Sep

Ok, so this topic is waaaay off-topic for this blog. Nevertheless, it’s worth bringing to readers’ attention this rather devastating article written by their ABC’s chief online political writer, Annabel Crabb:

High Court climax to a tale of rambling incompetence

Today’s decision from the High Court is disastrous for the Government on a number of fronts.

It’s disastrous because the deterrent effect that was the redeeming feature of this harsh and – in terms of Labor’s history in this policy area – hypocritical solution has now evaporated.

Australia remains obliged to accept 4,000 new refugees from the Malaysian queues, and must now additionally expect a new influx of boat arrivals through the usual channels.

It’s disastrous because having hoped to draw attention to the toughness of its new border protection policy, the Government has now effectively hung a lantern on its own problems.

It’s disastrous because rather than brutally curtailing the sense of crisis, the Government has fanned it with this failed policy.

But the most egregious aspect of today’s decision by the High Court is that it provides a new and crushing chapter in what has become a tale of rambling incompetence.

Across both Rudd and Gillard governments, this policy area has played host to a most dispiriting display of opportunism, mendacity and half-arsedness.

The Rudd government repealed some of the harshest elements of the Pacific Solution, but never acknowledged the plain-as-day reality that this decision would have some effects on the rate of boat arrivals. Busy denying the bleeding obvious, the Rudd government instead occupied itself with slogans about “tough and humane” policies while desperately casting about for regional assistance.

Can you recall the agonising weeks for which the Oceanic Viking vessel poked about the coastlines of Indonesia, bulging with asylum seekers for whom Kevin Rudd had petitioned Susilo Bambang Yudhyono to take responsibility, in a rickety deal which SBY in the end was unable to honour?

Do you remember the first days of the Gillard Government, in which the new PM first proposed East Timor as a regional processing centre for asylum seekers, then bizarrely denied having mentioned East Timor, then finally acknowledged it, and the ensuing months in which the Government’s bleated insistence that East Timor would come on board eventually gave way to a mute acceptance that it wouldn’t?

Do you recall the election campaign, in which the western Sydney MP David Bradbury materialised beside the PM on a patrol boat in Darwin Harbour, apparently monitoring the horizon for foreign wayfarers determined enough to invade his seat by means of the Parramatta River?

And do you remember, incidentally, all the denials issued by the same Government during that campaign, that there were plans afoot to expand existing detention centres and open new ones, which denials evaporated post-election, to be replaced by discreet confirmations that such plans were indeed proceeding to fruition?

Of the Malaysian Solution itself, and its Papua New Guinea variant, announced prematurely, and negotiated under circumstances of naked Government desperation, I need hardly remind you, seeing as it is so fresh in the memory. (Of the Government’s full reversal from an insistence that push factors alone affect the number of boat arrivals, to the assumption deeply implicit in the Malaysian plan that pull factors are paramount, you will never hear an explanation.)

The confident assurance from the Immigration Minister just weeks ago that the High Court legal challenge had been anticipated and rigorously prepared-for was hit amidships early on by High Court Justice Hayne, who growled at the Soliticitor-General that his submission was “half-baked”.

And now today’s decision, in which the Government’s Malaysia Solution is not crippled, not winged or crimped or slightly frustrated by our nation’s highest court, but clean bowled.

Nauru is the one reversal the Government has so far not permitted itself.

Perhaps it will now. It hardly matters anymore; if anyone in the Government is still wondering why voters don’t believe Julia Gillard when she says she has things under control, today should provide a devastating answer.


When even their ABC tears a Labor government a new one like that, you know that we are in the presence of by far and away the worst government in the nation’s history.

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