July 10, 2012 | Graham

Julia is John? How to lose even more votes on refugees

Malcolm Turnbull made a debating point on refugees which has been taken up by Malcolm Farr, and apparently others like Virginia Trioli (based on Q&A last night), as being a viable strategy for the government to follow. Malcolm T must be laughing.

The suggestion is that Labor should just adopt John Howard’s policy and if the policy doesn’t work, then revert to something else.

If Gillard did that it might improve her refugee policy, but it would destroy her prime ministership.

No wonder Turnbull was quite happy to restate his challenge last night, although I have no idea why Chris Bowen on the same panel appeared to support it.

Labor, including Gillard individually, spent decades villifying Howard’s refugee policy, and the fact that they have now two-thirds adopted it is one reason for the defections of many of their left to the Greens.

Moving closer to Howard’s position would accelerate this.

It would also confirm the view of many on the right that the government stands for nothing, is hypocritical and incompetent.

It’s that reality that has seen Gillard do everything to avoid accepting the Nauru situation. She is completely wedged on the issue.

Worse, if as is likely the boats still continued to come, Scott Morrison would be able to point to the schemozzle and claim that it’s not just a matter of what the policy is, but whether people smugglers believe the government is really behind it.

It tells you something about the state of the ALP that Turnbull’s proposal is even being accepted as something viable for Labor. It’s only viable for the Liberals, and we’ll never know until after the election whether John Howard’s policies really can stop the boats now, whatever they may have done in the past.

Posted by Graham at 8:05 am | Comments (8) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Offshore processing controlled by Australia, such as in the Nauru option, will result in nearly all boat people being admitted to Australia. The Federal Opposition’s proposals are little different to Christmas Island as a processing location.
    Returning boat people to the back of the queue in somewhere such as Malaysia has a far better chance of undermining the smuggling business. The limit of 800 was of course a problem but as long as the that total can be increased over time and the ratio of releases from the front of the queue was greater than one Australia would be improving the well being of refugees overall.

    Comment by John Turner — July 10, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  2. The only one positive step by the Howard government in the boat people problem was the issuing of TPV’s. Nauru was just an irritant, a fairly isolated island in the Pacific Ocean, the idea being such an isolated processing depot would in itself deter the refugees from boarding the boats.
    The only real life deterent is: 1):to deny boat people residence(right of entry) upon arrival, straight into detention centres awaiting repatriation. 2): return the boats back from whence they came at sea, using any necessary force as required.
    Both Malaysia and Indonesia did exactly the above with the Vietnamese boat people, leaving them to rot on isolated islands until some sympathetic country offered to take them in.
    Malcolm Turnbull seems to make these throw away statements about most contentious political subjects outside Parliament, a quite different story within Parliament.

    Comment by Jac from Bicton — July 10, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  3. You’re right about the TPVs Jac. I think Turnbull’s invitation is to reintroduce the whole lot, including the TPVs.

    Comment by Graham — July 10, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  4. The present Labor Govt when first in power following the Howard years did try to do the humane thing by these boat people, unfortunately they grossly under estimated the refugee smugglers reaction to their humane actions.
    The result as we now see, a virtual avalanche of illegal boats crammed with illegal economic refugees arriving upon our shores.
    The Gillard government must act decisively to immediately stop this explosion.
    Politicians shedding crocodile tears does nothing to solve the problem.
    Act Now: TPI’s instituted. Both Nauru and Malaysia instituted, Boats turned back at sea instituted, then and only then will you see an improvement.
    As Alex Downing said last night: ” You have to be cruel to be kind”!!

    Comment by Jac from Bicton — July 10, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  5. Many of these boat people are paying $10,000 for a ticket.It is costing us $100,000 per person to keep them.

    Why not circumvent the smugglers and take the $10,000 if they qualify.Give them a job instead of prison.I’d take a $10,000 good Iraqi over a ten pound Pom.

    Comment by Ross — July 10, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

  6. Well thank you Ross for the gratuitous and racist comment. Although the bizarre point you tried to make actually flies back in your face. Australia is taking many migrants and many refugees but these queue jumpers are just cheats using criminals to further their ends. Perhaps you can get a responsible adult to explain this all to you?

    Comment by John — July 10, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

  7. No-one mentions the elephant in the living room. The boats that have come in the past week alone are just the thin edge of the wedge. Over population is beginning to make itself felt in the carefully protected westernised countries and here it is boat loads of Afghanis and Iraqis… now we have giant fishing factories wanting to remove food from our oceans… putting our heads in the sand is not going to stop the onslaught. Our priveleged position cannot hold us up out of the muck we have in large part created. In a year from now there will be hundreds of boats in a steady flow coming our way. We might make it, but its more likely we will go down the gurgler in a spectacular selfish implosion

    Comment by Byndystork — July 10, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  8. John you fail to mention that many of these people are fleeing war torn lands which our Military Industrial Complex is pillaging.If we support these wars ,we are responsible.The war on terror was created by an elite to bring in their New World Order.Amazing how so many these days scream racist to win an argument.

    The World is not over populated.The poverty is created by a banking system that creates from nothing, the money to equal our productivity.The world is consumed by debt.The derivative market is 20 times the World’s GDP of $ 60 trillion.They can collapse the entire world economy via the manipulation of derivatives.

    These people can have a good existance at home if the Western Oligarchs of The world stop enslaving them and corrupting their Govts.

    I like to stir the pot.

    Comment by Ross — July 10, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

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