Cartoon: By Pickering.
News Ltd has a wide variety of opinion expressed in their pages, from Phillip Adams on the far left, to Andrew Bolt on the far right. Just to be even handed they even cater for those suffering cognitive dissonance with Greg Sheridan. Greg has the that great unsung quality of being able to do an in depth analysis of some of Labors worst mistakes and be able to reveal where the blame really lies; at Tony Abbott’s feet.
In a sop to even handedness he claims both sides are equally to blame for illegal immigration:
The government's management measures - quicker processing, bridging visas, community detention - are simply a form of surrender. There is now no disincentive for anyone who wants to live in Australia, claim Medicare, get welfare payments, avail themselves of government schools and all the rest not to jump on a boat. Illegal entry by boats will now be quicker, easier and cheaper than the lengthy process of trying to come here as an immigrant.When Labor were seeking office they were scathing of the ‘Pacific Solution’ under which significant numbers of refugees were accepted but because of offshore processing, the boats stopped coming because there was no advantage to be gained by illegal entry. This system was immediately abolished and funnily enough, boats were arriving within days.
The opposition deserves censure for the intensely irresponsible decision to deny the government the legislative tools necessary to enact the Malaysia Solution, and thereby ensure all offshore processing is legal. There was nothing wrong with that solution in principle.
The only question was whether it would work. By demonising it, the opposition demonised offshore processing. Even if it is elected to office, the Coalition cannot be confident that the courts will allow its preferred offshore processing options. And it is highly unlikely the Greens and Labor would allow legislative changes through the Senate to facilitate this. Abbott might think he could go to a double-dissolution election on such an issue but this would mean effective action on stopping the boats is years and years away.
Australia will now be subject to determined illegal immigration by people who have not undergone a selection process by Australian authorities. Such a process has been a disaster for Europe.
When the situation got out of hand, the government announced that they would introduce offshore processing in East Timor. The East Timorese government was outraged over this, as it had not been raised with them and they rejected the idea out of hand.
In order to have a Pacific solution that was different to Howard’s, Gillard then approached Malaysia. The Liberals rejected this out of hand, as Malaysia was not a signatory to the Refugee Convention and allegations of serious human rights violations. The deal went ahead, only to be struck down by the High Court. Abbott then expressed his willingness to negotiate appropriate legislation.
Rather than negotiate in good faith Labor then went ahead with a bill to legitimize the Malaysia solution despite knowing that it was completely unacceptable to the Liberals. Had this one country been taken off the table, the result could have been different.
In attempting to force the Liberals to back down to Gillard’s will, Labor has made a rod for its own back.
Still, a high proportion of the 20-30% who still support Labor will believe the spin.