YESTERDAY we foreshadowed — with an eye on Kevin Rudd’s deck-clearing activities ahead of the imminent federal election — that the fraught issue of asylum seekers was set to hit centre stage; today there are whispers of a fresh strategy, and we look at a damning comment on Labor’s current approach.
The next couple of days will see me busy with my other (income-producing) activities, so if there is a “break” in the run of posts, be assured: like General MacArthur, I will return.
But I wanted to give readers something to think about on the asylum seeker/boats issue, to follow on from my post yesterday. It indeed seems the Prime Minister is ready to roll.
I’m indebted once again today to a favourite of this column, Daily Telegraph commentator Piers Akerman, who has neatly and succinctly summed up everything wrong with the ALP’s approach to this issue ever since the government of John Howard successfully dealt with it more than a decade ago.
And I have included his article because it detonates many of the myths surrounding the case of the broader Left when it comes to framing the parameters of debate on this issue.
I’ve often been accused of being too strongly held in thrall by Akerman, but the reality is that this is only the second of his articles I’ve ever linked to this blog, and only after serious consideration of the wider issue from a holistic perspective.
He nails it on this occasion.
It is important to consider the points Akerman makes, if for no other reason than to bring the ALP’s shockingly woeful record on this issue into stark relief with whatever Rudd might be about to announce.
Remember, the entire quagmire over people smugglers and asylum seekers is as much Rudd’s responsibility as Prime Minister in 2008 as it is or was that of any other single figure involved in the whole ghastly mess.
And before I get accused of embarking on a rant against the Left, or a crusade against Rudd and Labor on purely partisan grounds, I must point out that I’m genuinely open-minded about what seems set to follow on the asylum/boats issue, perhaps as soon as today.
It’s been reported this morning that Rudd is about to unveil a new approach to the whole question of people smugglers, asylum seekers and unauthorised immigrants; one that centres on Australia continuing to process those people who arrive here by boat, but then resettling them permanently into other countries, including third-world countries.
It is said that Rudd (and his proxies) have been conducting high-level negotiations in secret with the governments of other countries in order to establish a number of potential resettlement destinations to lift the disproportionate burden from Australia’s shoulders in this regard.
The exact mechanics of the plan — or even how it could be workable in any practicable sense — remain unclear; deliberately so, I suspect, so Rudd can extract maximum impact from his announcement.
The legalities of his scheme are fuzzy as well at this stage, presumably for the same reason.
So we will have to wait.
My first reactions are that any new approach that may produce a permanent solution to this issue — whilst continuing to render humane treatment to the people at its centre — is well worth considering.
Half-arsed ideas like Julia Gillard’s ill-fated Regional Processing Centre or its successor, the so-called “Malaysia Solution,” were clearly devoid of merit.
And it is imperative that anything approaching the open-border approach so beloved of the
Communist Party Greens must be avoided on political, social and economic grounds.
I’ll be interested to gauge readers’ feedback on the Rudd plan. As I said, I am open-minded on it until I see the finer detail, although at first glance it is certainly interesting.
Apologies again for being distracted in the next day or two; we will however examine Rudd’s scheme vigorously and in greater detail after it is released, and — if anything “interesting” pops
out up in the meantime — I’ll comment when I can, even if only briefly.