Daniel Andrews Has No Right To Change Asylum Seeker Policy

NEWS Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews “offered” to house, educate, medicate and throw welfare at 267 asylum seekers cleared by the High Court to return to Nauru is an outrage; Australia’s border regime has been repeatedly endorsed by voters, and the consequences of changing it can be seen with a quick glance at Europe. Andrews should concentrate on running Victoria, a task at which he is proving spectacularly, but unsurprisingly, inept.

No doubt the Chardonnay drunks and the finger shakers and the bleeding heart bullshit artists of the Australian Left are quietly congratulating themselves tonight, but the other 95% of the population should be alarmed — and outraged.

And if ever an ostensibly innocuous gesture represented the thin edge of the wedge, this is it.

The news that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with an “offer” to house, educate, medicate and throw welfare money at 267 asylum seekers facing return to Nauru — in the wake of this week’s High Court ruling that mandatory detention of asylum seekers on that island is constitutional — must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and not just for the obvious reasons upon which those compassion babblers from the Left will seek to justify it.

You’d think the ALP and the Communist Party Greens would have learned their lesson by now, but apparently not.

When Labor managed to sweep away its detested, loathed, hated Howard government in late 2007 — described by some in its ranks as “evil” — one of the first things the Rudd government did, with the explicit support of the Greens, was to abolish the highly successful “Pacific Solution:” that suite of policies that brought the arrival of asylum seekers by sea to a total halt.

The next thing anyone knew, 50,000 asylum seekers were arriving every year — in addition to well over a thousand who didn’t survive the journey, drowning en route at sea — with the costs of (you guessed it) housing, educating, medicating and throwing welfare money at them running to well in excess of $10bn per year.

The longer it went on, the faster the boat arrivals came; the more it cost, the more people turned up as word spread back to the Middle East that Australia was a soft touch that would let anyone claiming to be a refugee into the country: so long as they made it through the trip.

To Labor and the Greens, however, this was the “compassionate” and “humane” way to deal with them.

By the time anyone at the Labor Party noticed there was a problem, this running sore had already filled millions of acres of opinion and comment in those organs of record so decried by the Left as illegitimate; every one else in Australia knew — and so did the good burghers at the Murdoch press — that whilst this country isn’t filled with cruel, hard-hearted arseholes, the capacity to cope with this level of unannounced immigration (many of whom were not “refugees” at all, but economic migrants seeking to jump the queue) had already far transcended Australia’s ability to do so.

And when the Labor government, by then led by Julia Gillard, tried to do something about it, there was an East Timor solution, a Malaysian solution, and a Regional Processing Centre: none of which ever happened, of course, and the suspicion the promises were nothing more than a macho PR exercise was borne out by the fact the East Timorese government made it known that the first they’d heard of any solution involving their country was when it was announced in the media.

Tony Abbott and his three-word-slogan opposition was looking like it was onto a winner with a pledge to Stop the Boats; naturally, when Rudd was reinstated to try to undo some of the looming electoral carnage his party faced for its misadventures in office, he solemnly declared, po-faced, that with Labor in office, no asylum seeker arriving by boat would ever be permitted to settle in Australia. Tony Abbott, by contrast, would start a war with Indonesia over the issue, he said.

The rest is history: the Liberal Party won the election; the Abbott government stopped the boats; no war with Indonesia was either in prospect nor occurred; but Labor and the Greens used their numbers in the Senate to frustrate and disrupt the reinstatement of the Pacific Solution — voting, for example, to disallow the reintroduction of temporary protection visas — and whilst the boats have stopped completely, the ALP and Greens still have not a shred of credibility on the issue.

Yes, you’d think the Left might have learned by now: Australian people will not tolerate an endless flow of largely economic migrants through open borders.

Not coincidentally, whilst these parties were in power, hundreds of children were placed into detention in Nauru: and as cynical as it might sound, it is tempting to regard this aspect of Labor’s mismanagement of the asylum problem as an investment in the day it was eventually booted out of government, for the ALP — and the wider Left, notably the Human Rights Commissioner, the contemptible Gillian Triggs — have played politics with children in detention ever since, seeking to hold the Coalition to account for a problem entirely of Labor’s and the Greens’ making.

This latest frolic on Andrews’ part — using the desperation of others for political ends — comes as the High Court struck down a bid this week to have mandatory detention on Nauru declared unconstitutional by a 6-1 majority; knowing no shame, part of the pretext for Andrews’ approach to the Prime Minister was that 37 babies born in Australia were among the 267 facing deportation to Nauru: claiming residency by right of birth has long been a tactical play of both asylum seekers and their advocates in the Australian establishment who think they know better than the rest of the country, and merely underlines exactly why it is necessary to stop it in its tracks.

According to Andrews’ office, the Victorian Premier’s letter was posted to Turnbull yesterday prior to its appearance in social media earlier today, and Turnbull’s people say they are yet to sight it; but given postal services between Melbourne and Canberra occur overnight at the minimum (and in this case, over a weekend) such a claim on Andrews’ part is fatuous: even if a paper copy was dispatched yesterday, it’s fairly clear the intention was to kick some sort of own goal on Twitter — and to force the PM to play catch-up on the hop and with no advance warning whatsoever.

The tactics are appalling. The claim that this stunt shows how “compassionate” Andrews and his government are is sickening.

Andrews’ letter was as follows:

Embedded image permalink

Embarrassingly, this document looks like campaign paraphernalia: it is jingoistic, pompous, and entirely innocent of any grounding in either common sense of the wishes of the Australian public.

“Victoria stands ready…” well, I don’t, and neither do a considerable number of intelligent, decent people in Melbourne I have been discussing this with today. Most are horrified, for far from being some magnanimous gesture of generosity, this is exactly the kind of thing tough immigration laws were repeatedly introduced to stamp out: and abandoned once already by a Labor-Greens cabal to disastrous effect, this silly stunt could well have the same practical outcome now — with consequences that would be nothing short of cataclysmic.

Triggs, for the non-existent value she represents to this country in exchange for an obscene monthly pay cheque, opined that children are scared at the idea of returning to Nauru — and therefore should remain in Australia — to which I say, what about their parents? It is not this country’s fault their parents put them in a position by which mandatory detention on Nauru is their fate for the foreseeable future. But the Left (and Triggs embodies it in all its repugnant malignancy) have never bothered themselves with the concept of personal responsibility.

If Victoria is permitted to get away with this — because Andrews “wants these children and families to call Victoria home,” and because sending them back to “a life of trauma” on Nauru “is not a fair solution” — then as sure as night follows day, Queensland will follow suit; once that happens, the ACT will try it on; and before you know it, and South Australia gets in on the act, every Labor-controlled state and territory jurisdiction will be running an illicit parallel immigration racket to undercut and sabotage the legal (and constitutional) one in place at the federal level.

It should be noted, of course, that immigration is a federal government responsibility: but if you are Andrews, the ALP and the Left generally, that doesn’t matter.

The end result of Andrews getting his way on this will be, with neither exaggeration nor hyperbole, to send the signal to people smugglers that Australia is once again open for business; and when that occurs, the flood of boats will resume: the only difference will be that instead of making for the Western Australian coast, the intended points of landfall will be in Victoria, and Far North Queensland, and along the Limestone Coast in SA.

And should that occur, a cursory glance in the direction of Europe is enough to send a shudder down the spines of all right-thinking folk: the 1.1 million asylum seekers who arrived in Germany last year are more or less tearing the place apart; another 50,000 arrived in January alone, and as one scribe today noted, 50,000 in a month actually represents a big slowdown.

Whether you like it or not, the capacity of Western countries to absorb literally endless numbers of people who just don’t want to live in their own countries any more is actually quite limited; it is a question of resources, affordability, and the capacity to integrate new arrivals whilst preserving social structures and the cohesion of existing communities.

Whether you like it or not, and whether it is right or not, there is ample and growing evidence that when it comes to large numbers of Muslim asylum seekers — because that’s who we’re talking about, let’s be honest — this simply isn’t possible, and with no disrespect to the ones who simply want to live in peace, there are too many in their ranks who want to blow the place up and terrorise the women who live here to justify taking the risk on any of them.

And with the article from the Fairfax press I’ve linked today confirming that each asylum seeker would require at least $10,000 per annum in state support (a figure that seems suspiciously low, frankly) for the 267 in question here, the few million it would cost to have them mightn’t seem like much at first glance.

But where there are some, there are more — many, many more — and just as Labor swore in 2008 that its abolition of the Pacific Solution would not lead to a flood of asylum seekers (which it did, directly) it will make similarly empty pledges now.

There are three main points to make in closing.

One, the High Court — the highest in the land since Labor abolished the right of appeal to the Privy Council — has ruled that the intended handling of these people is constitutional: but just like personal responsibility or public opinion generally, the law is only of interest to the Left when it says what the Left wants it to say; for the Left, in the end, thinks it knows better than everyone. It doesn’t.

Two, just who in hell Daniel Andrews thinks he is — seeking to usurp immigration laws that are the domain of the Commonwealth — is anyone’s guess, but in trying to interfere in the fate of these 267 asylum seekers he is playing with a particularly dangerous barrel of dynamite. Asylum seekers, in the hundreds of thousands if not millions, will recommence their bombardment of Australia’s shores in a heartbeat if they think they will be received here; I, and dozens of other conservative commentators, said at the time of the 2013 election that if the flow of asylum seekers was not halted, millions more waited ready to test their luck. That contention has been proven in recent months in Europe. Germany and Sweden in particular are finding they have imported gang violence, the rape and other sexual assault of their country’s women, and a lawlessness that shows neither respect nor heed for Western values. We do not need this here. But this is the danger Andrews is flirting with as he grubbily tries to score a point against the federal Coalition on behalf of the Chardonnay drunks and finger shakers of the Left who urge him on.

And three, little over a year since winning office in Victoria, Andrews has pissed more than a billion dollars up against a post — cancelling the East-West Link he said the contract to build wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, and that tearing it up would expose the state to no compensation — and has turned a $2bn budget surplus into a $250 million budget deficit in the space of a single financial year; beyond these dubious “achievements” there is nothing of any value to show for 14 months of Labor government in the Garden State.

Maybe Andrews should concentrate on his own job — running the State of Victoria — and leave federal matters to the federal government.

After all, the policies in place on immigration and asylum seekers were endorsed at the ballot box in 2001, 2004 and most recently in 2013; and after all, for a man who campaigned on putting an end to a “circus” he claimed had played for four years on Spring Street, the nicest thing you could say about Daniel Andrews is that he’s a clown — and he has proven it today with this stunt.

 

Bravado Aside, ALP Conference A Disaster For Shorten

DESPITE THE SEMANTICS, the spin and the tepid claims to Labor Party unity, the weekend’s ALP conference was an unmitigated disaster for Bill Shorten; effectively rolled by his deputy on key agenda items and abandoned by his leadership group over the issue he arrogated to himself to “lead” over — asylum boat turnbacks — it is now impossible to see how Shorten can remain “leader,” let alone stake any serious claim to the Prime Ministership.

…and to put not too fine a point on it, this has been a conference that damages Labor irrespective of who leads it.

Let’s start with what the ALP national conference didn’t feature (and/or was so unimportant to Labor as to evade public notice).

Nothing on the economy, economic management, balancing the federal budget, or reducing the $350 billion national debt pile the ALP is directly responsible for, courtesy of its most recent masquerade as a federal government.

Nothing on reform, or at least not in the orthodox sense: no tax reform, no labour market reform, no public debate over the relationship between Canberra and the states, nothing on fixing the Commonwealth electoral system, and nothing on reforming its own lethal association with the union movement.

Nothing more than a bit of lip service to those issues Labor arrogantly and misguidedly thinks underpins its “competence” — Health and Education — when the party’s idea of health reform is abolishing the private health insurance rebate, and its idea of education funding takes the shape of unlegislated 2013 election bribes whose currency expired the day Labor was hurled from government in an avalanche.

And nothing — speaking of the unions — of the indecent, improper and/or downright criminal misconduct the Heydon Royal Commission has been oxygenating for most of the past year.

Yet whereas this Labor conference lacked any cogent agenda that might have set out the ALP’s credentials to seek an election win and form a sober, moderate, rational government of the Centre, it made up for this deficiency in spades with a stunning indulgence of the party’s hard Left that all but destroys Bill Shorten’s case to remain Labor’s “leader” — if there ever was one, that is.

Coming on top of the ridiculous triple-whammy carbon tax announced by Shorten last week and the facile, fatuous commitment to increasing the Renewable Energy Target to 50% (and the accompanying, wholly unsubstantiated assertion this would drive down power prices), the only thing that can now prevent Labor from suffering a second consecutive landslide election defeat is the missteps of the Abbott government (whose capacity to deliver in this regard should not be underestimated).

But really, anyone who believes this conference is a political positive for the ALP is delusional.

To be sure, the ALP conference has sent Shorten out with something that on the surface he can claim provides him with a “win,” but that victory — buried as it is somewhere within the length, depth and breadth of the shaft into which his “leadership” has been cast — is an illusory triumph indeed.

Emerging with the ability to exercise “an option” in government to turn back asylum seeker boats, Shorten’s adventure in back-me-or-sack-me brinkmanship has elicited for him the worst possible outcome, with conference tepidly endorsing the stance, and with the three most senior figures on the party’s Left directly and indirectly defying their “leader.”

Former leadership aspirant Anthony Albanese had the decency to vote against the measure outright, so deeply held is his belief (with which I vehemently disagree) that the measure is wrong; this in itself is a bad enough look for the embattled Shorten as he tries valiantly and pointlessly to hold onto his position.

But worse materialised from the conduct of Penny Wong and probable leader-in-waiting, Tanya Plibersek, who breathtakingly handed their votes to proxies — who in turn duly opposed the measure — whilst claiming, po-faced, not to have opposed their “leader.” The chutzpah is astonishing.

The other big issue confronted by the ALP conference was gay marriage, with forces allied to Plibersek lining up to ram through a resolution making a vote in favour of the measure binding on Labor MPs, and the “compromise” — that MPs will instead have a conscience vote on any bill that appears before 2019, after which support for it will become compulsory, presumably after Labor thinks it will return to government — is ridiculous.

Other “initiatives” resolved by conference included the censure of party stalwart Martin Ferguson — one of the few sane voices left in its ranks — over his remarks earlier in the year favouring privatisation in some circumstances as part of a wider overall agenda for reform.

The conference resolved that in the fullness of time, 50% of its MPs will be women, which invites the rather obvious charge that it will now preselect women just for the hell of it, rather than on merit and because female candidates are the best on offer. It is a dreadful, tokenistic, patronising look.

And just for good measure — and in a sop to the ultra-hard Left within and without — conference agreed to a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state in a move that will all but destroy Labor’s relationship with Australia’s sizeable Jewish community, and leaves it a footstep away from joining the disgusting so-called BDS campaign against Israel — Boycott, Divest, Sanctions — so bloody-mindedly pursued by the hardest of hardcore left-wing elements at the Communist Party Greens, and by other lunatic left-wing fringe groups across the world.

Readers can access some excellent additional coverage of the fallout from the ALP national conference herehere, and here.

Just what planet the Fairfax press is on, however, is unknown, with usually reasonable columnist Mark Kenny asserting Shorten “rises” and “shines” in the conference’s aftermath as Albanese and the Left “wane,” but it does seem Fairfax is doing its best to put a brave face on things on Shorten’s behalf.

Anyone who thinks the weekend’s events represent a point in time at which the “leader” hit his straps, or came into his own, or any other euphemism for fulfilling a “leadership” potential that never existed in the first place is kidding themselves.

The simple fact is that the overwhelming preference of the Labor rank-and-file for a left-wing leader — as indisputably evidenced in the silly leadership ballot farce the ALP engaged in late in 2013 — has now been reflected by a conference that was not empowered to remove Shorten from the leadership but has nonetheless seen to it that the gaping wounds from the thousand sabre cuts it inflicted are visible wherever Shorten now goes, and irrespective of what he says.

At the bottom line, his own senior colleagues — on whom he depends for whatever infinitesimal sliver of authority he may once have enjoyed — have deserted him.

On the positions Shorten wanted to carry, he has failed to score an outright win — see the “option” to turn back boats, which you can bet would never be used — or simply made to fritter his time away ahead of the Left’s position (and the opposite to Shorten’s) becoming binding on the Labor Party, as has been the case with gay marriage.

When you combine the flagrant and wilful defiance of Shorten on these and other measures with the issues the conference failed to consider at all, and add in the fancies like the censure of Ferguson and the foolish gender quota, it’s clear that far from providing a springboard from which to launch its attack on the coming election campaign, Labor has instead manoeuvred its way to the equivalent of the lifeboat dock on the Titanic: after the last boat on board had put to sea.

There is no compelling narrative for a Labor government to be elected after the weekend’s events, that much is obvious.

And Shorten — doltish and mindlessly vacuous as his “leadership” has been — is as good as finished, and finished at the hands of his own people, no less.

The final takeout for the voting public is that irrespective of what might coax a Labor vote from those in marginal Coalition seats, there is now no substantive issue at all on which the ALP has a position that is clear, unequivocal, credible, or even believable.

And the end result for the party itself has been that thanks to the manoeuvres of its leaders on the Labor Left, the party has taken a giant step toward the hard Left — and away from the ground on which elections in this country are always won or lost.

Tanya Plibersek will probably become Labor leader as soon as the 48 votes required to overturn Shorten’s “leadership” in the 80-strong caucus can be assembled: an enterprise that may or may not precede the looming election that could come as soon as October or November.

But lest anyone on the lunatic Left get too excited by the prospect, the damage inflicted upon the ALP at the weekend is such that its electoral prospects have been compromised — perhaps fatally so — irrespective of who might take on the role of its leader.

Labor has spent three days making itself an unelectable force of the hard socialist Left. No similar entity offering a similar agenda has ever been elected to government in Australian history.

That record is likely to be repeated unless an outbreak of common sense and sanity occurs somewhere influential in the ALP, and quickly.

But if it doesn’t — and you’d have to bet it won’t — then Labor will only have itself to blame, and if the consequences are that both Shorten and Plibersek are killed off politically, then neither will be able to proclaim themselves to be faultless.

 

Stop The Votes: Shorten Stance Anchors Labor To Opposition

THE CRITICISM frequently made by this column — that Labor cares about power, not people — has found plenty of validating evidence this week; now, “leader” Bill Shorten heads to his first ALP national conference armed with a bag of conflicting promises aimed solely at election victory, but which — aside from provoking bitter fighting within his own party — would be disastrous if implemented. If, that is, anyone is silly enough to believe them.

First things first: I have been distracted this week once again, and have a partly written article from Wednesday about the GST (and so-called “alternatives” to reforming it put by two Labor Premiers) that I have held over and will complete and publish tomorrow; the GST conversation isn’t going to go away at any time soon, and I think it important to blow the attempt to hoodwink people that Daniel Andrews and Annastacia Palaszczuk are trying to make to bits: it’s just more vapid ALP spin that would do more harm than good if implemented.

And certainly, vapid political spin is the flavour of the week where the ALP is concerned.

I’ve been watching Labor this week, as it adds ridiculous new “policy” positions to an already dubious-looking platform under “leader” Bill Shorten, and I can only say that if the ALP is looking to provide reasons for people not to vote for it then the week’s handiwork should be regarded as a stunning success.

Shorten — who the temptation to permanently caricaturise as “Billy Bullshit” is becoming irresistible, so devoid of credibility have his utterances grown — has now taken his penchant for saying and doing literally anything to become Prime Minister so far that he heads into his first ALP national conference as “leader” armed with a bunch of conflicted “policies” that can only set various groups within the ALP at each other’s throats, and if voters assess the Labor offering purely in terms of its believability and its capacity to improve Australia, then Shorten has probably doomed his party to another hefty election loss.

Stop The Votes: it might as well be the theme for the ALP national conference.

Prior to his appearance at the Royal Commission into the unions, Shorten Labor made a huge splash with fatuous declarations that “It’s Time” on gay marriage to divert attention from the terrible press that duly materialised, as expected, in the wake of Shorten’s disastrous stint in the witness box.

With deputy and leadership aspirant Tanya Plibersek running hard on the issue and trying to bind Labor MPs to voting for the measure in Parliament, it probably seemed to Shorten that he was killing two birds with one stone, but — in a sop to the party’s Right — it quickly became evident that it would only be time if a conscience vote deemed it so.

And right now, that prospect, based on the current complexion of the Parliament, remains unlikely.

Having appeased the Right on gay marriage, the Left was thrown two massive bones on climate change: not only would there be a new, triple-whammy carbon tax under a Shorten government (that would make anything attempted or introduced by Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and their masters at the Communist Party Greens look mild by comparison) but the renewable energy target — the source of so much consternation where energy costs are concerned, to say nothing of the actual efficacy of efforts to undo climate change in Australia — would be more than doubled under Labor in office to 50%.

As if this weren’t bad enough, Shorten had the bald nerve to claim publicly that this would drive power costs for consumers and businesses down; no research to back the contention was offered, and in fact with all anecdotal evidence suggesting the RET has been a prominent culprit in driving energy costs through the roof over the past decade, the Shorten pronouncement is — and deserves to be seen as — ludicrous.

But in case the Right got its collective nose out of joint over the Left being given such a sop, Shorten overturned more than a decade of obstinate Labor posturing to announce the party would now back the turnback of asylum seeker vessels at sea; and whilst it is unclear whether this extends to the full suite of Abbott government measures including the continuation of mandatory detention for new arrivals and temporary protection visas, the turnback backflip alone is enough to ignite a virtual civil war in Labor ranks.

Invisible for the moment is Shorten’s promise, announced last year and hurriedly stepped on to hide it, to abolish the private health insurance rebate: such a doctrinaire left-wing measure is music to the Medicare-obsessed Left but anathema to the cost-aware Right, which is all too mindful of the apocalyptic impact it would have on both public health budgets and the capacity of an instantly besieged state hospital system to deliver services at all, let alone cope.

Crackdowns on “the rich” through ending tax concessions for self-funded retirees and “taxing multinationals” might sound nice to Labor types, and certainly those on the Left of the party, but ignore the reality that forcing some at the lower end of the self-funded retirement community onto part-pensions will cost money overall rather than save it. The mad plot to force multinationals to “pay their share,” meanwhile, is a potent recipe for driving large numbers of Australian jobs offshore.

But then again, given the jobs in question are mostly not unionised, Labor’s slave masters at Trades Hall get a win there too.

In fact, the unions — which every objective criterion suggests the ALP would be best served abandoning its links to — get a little more from Shorten as well; as journalist and blogger Michael Smith put it yesterday, Shorten unequivocally supports the Abbott government’s free trade agreement with China whilst unequivocally opposing it. The pithy catchphrase neatly sums up the utter contradiction in what is being kicked around by Shorten as the official ALP position on the issue.

Yet as Andrew Bolt detailed in the Murdoch press yesterday, this kind of posturing is nothing new to Shorten, who a decade ago expressed support publicly for a similar arrangement with the US, but solemnly assured Labor and union types privately that he was opposed to it, tooth and nail, in the interests of protecting jobs.

On and on it goes, with Shorten saying literally anything to whatever group of people is immediately within earshot, apparently oblivious to (or not giving a shit about) the irreconcilable contradictions he is articulating, just obsessed with being all things to all people, and desperate to become Prime Minister at any cost.

The list of issues is endless; the contortions to present opposing and incompatible positions to placate competing interest groups are impossible; and whilst a Labor government would have to do something in office — something, anything — the probability is high that a Shorten government would end up alienating every conceivable section of Australian society.

Except, perhaps, the unions: the one group to which it should give the metaphorical middle finger.

It is true the Abbott government continues to do all it can to stoke the fires of Labor’s electoral fortunes; the refusal and/or inability to make an example out of Bronwyn Bishop is merely the latest in a long series of own goals booted by the Coalition that is probably fuelling Labor’s continued lead in opinion polls even if, unsurprisingly, Shorten himself is growing daily more unpopular personally.

But even with this underserved free advantage from his opponents, Shorten remains apparently determined to serve up a garbled mishmash of half-baked commitments whose currency depends on where he is, who he is with, and what he is trying to promise or buy his way past to secure a pile of votes.

In the meantime, the natives are restless: Anthony Albanese is said to have “no further interest” in the ALP leadership, and that he had “one shot and he fired it;” Tanya Plibersek, the ever-loyal deputy, maintains she is not manoeuvring to displace Shorten. Both formulations are time-honoured euphemisms for scheming treachery under a cloak of open secrecy masquerading as disinterest.

Meanwhile, it is openly known in political circles that Plibersek and/or people close to her are canvassing Labor MPs to find the 48 votes to trigger a leadership spill in the 80-strong caucus. Neither Albanese nor Plibersek — both from the Labor Left — can be taken particularly seriously as candidates for the Prime Ministership.

The poster boy for the Right, shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, is no more credible than a cardboard cut-out. Tainted by his association with Kevin Rudd and damned by his complicity in the economic dishonesty propounded by Labor for years, there are real questions about his viability as an alternative leader in the eyes of the public.

Whether the ALP likes it or not, it is probably saddled with Shorten until or unless he resigns or is slaughtered at an election.

In other words, little Billy Bullshit will keep on keeping on, making promises of anything and everything to anyone who will listen; with polls showing his personal popularity disintegrating to the point even Tony Abbott, faced with the viciously dishonest onslaught he copped from Julia Gillard and her handbag hit squad, look positively exalted by comparison, it is only a matter of time before Labor’s primary vote — and its two-party lead — follows suit.

There may be an argument that a significant portion of the electorate would like a return to Labor government; I don’t believe it, although redress of my criticisms of the Abbott government needs to go a lot further before I’m confident the government has fully recovered its position. Either way, it’s clear nobody expects Shorten to deliver what he says, and it’s fast becoming obvious that people are awake to the fact that nobody can believe a syllable he utters.

All of these competing policy positions, far from cancelling each other out, would add up to an absolute disaster if any attempt were made to legislate them but happily, the best efforts of Billy Bullshit should ensure that that insidious prospect never eventuates.

As Labor goes to its national conference this weekend, it will do so against a backdrop of an increasing number of floating voters abandoning their inclination to restore the party to office after a single term.

Such is the price of matey union loyalties and a refusal to say anything meaningful when responsible, sober and centrist ideas — entirely innocent of the union-obsessed, envious, class driven hatred that has lately characterised the ALP — are the key to Labor winning government in Australia.

It all makes for a fascinating weekend at the ALP conference. Stay tuned.

 

Moronic: Throwing Beer Cans At Asylum Seekers No Laughing Matter

MOST AUSTRALIANS will not have heard of Katie Hopkins and for this they can be well pleased, for the inveterate British commentator has overstepped the mark with a frenzied, cruel and dishonest portrayal of our country and the policies of the Abbott government. People may or may not agree with policy around the treatment of asylum seekers, but it is not funny, constructive or incisive to foment violence and victimisation against the helpless.

Apologies to readers for my silence these past few days; as I might have mentioned, I had a rather large job to get out of the way and — to be frank — by the time it was done, I was exhausted: and so the absence of articles this week reflects both a complete lack of time to write them as well as the inevitable “crash” once a complicated and significant project was complete.

If I have time (and if there is nothing better to talk about) I may make some mention of Monday’s episode of the ABC’s #QandA programme, which was held at the Melbourne Recital Centre and which I attended; despite a panel that at first glance suggested decent consideration of mainstream issues that actually matter — with veteran broadcaster Derryn Hinch and standout Abbott government minister Andrew Robb in the mix — the programme descended, as usual, into a gabfest mostly centred on pet subjects of the Left, complete with an attempt by some on the panel to paint Robb as thoroughly heartless and prevent him from confirming he’d used official discretion as a minister to allow some children to remain in Australia and overturn deportation orders made in lower (and apolitical) jurisdictions. Best to keep the blowtorch on those Libs; best to ensure everyone knows they’re just a bunch of cruel misery merchants with hearts of stone.

To his credit, Robb was able to get his position — and the truth — on record with to #QandA audience, despite the obfuscation; the fact remains, however, that the only useful purpose this programme serves is to keep an eye on Australia’s Left, what it is saying, about whom it is said, and what its stacked panels attempt to pin on decent individuals whose only “crime” is to represent the mainstream Right.

Even so, the ills of #QandA pale in comparison to idiotic British commentator Katie Hopkins, who has roared onto the radar this week with a thoroughly uninformed and bigoted rant against African asylum seekers in Europe, and admiring depictions of a regime of treatment doled out to asylum seekers by Australia that simply does not exist. (A second article on the subject — also from the Fairfax press — can be accessed here).

It disturbs me that Fairfax, with its deeply ingrained loathing of anything to the right of socialism, has chosen to characterise Hopkins as “conservative” when in truth, she is just an imbecile: until yesterday the thing I best remember her for is a silly diatribe against parents who call their kids things like “Chardonnay,” and the declaration she would never allow her own children to play with such odious specimens from low-grade bogan stock.

Hopkins isn’t a conservative, she’s just a moron: and if she chooses to identify as “a conservative” then in my view she is an embarrassment.

Now it seems she has discovered, in some alternative universe, an “Australia” where state-sanctioned, bigoted violence is not just rampant, but a cause for great adulation; a country whose inhabitants possess “balls of steel, can-do brains, tiny hearts and whacking great gunships” that are utilised to threaten asylum seekers “with violence until they bugger off.”

Referring to African asylum seekers as “cockroaches” (with the unspoken inference that they should be squashed), Hopkins advocates an Australian-style system of turning back asylum seeker boats lest Britain’s towns and cities become “festering sores, plagued by swarms of migrants and asylum seekers, shelling out benefits like Monopoly money.”

And returning to her theme that asylum seekers are like cockroaches, and “built to survive a nuclear bomb,” Hopkins cheerily asserts that Australia’s border control regime features military personnel “throwing cans of Castlemaine” (sic) at asylum seekers in “an Aussie version of Sharia stoning.”

It might be a tiny detail, but so ill-informed is Hopkins that she is unaware that “Castlemaine” isn’t even a commodity anyone would recognise; and whilst XXXX is a variety of beer that is justifiably likened to the bodily movements of cats, it’s a typical marker of a brainless dolt like Hopkins that she can’t even get the minutiae of her venomous attacks right.

Where all of this becomes particularly unhelpful is that in Europe — just like the situation in Australia prior to 2014 — asylum seekers, trafficked by people smugglers and trying to reach the EU, are dying; and as the Fairfax reports correctly note, 1,300 asylum seekers perished at sea in the past fortnight alone in waters off the Italian coast in a ghastly reflection of the countless hundreds who died en route to Australia under failed Gillard-Greens policies: a travesty dismissed by Communist Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young as “an accident.”

The fact is that on a fraught issue characterised by competing and unpalatable options, no single measure is going to be ideal; and short of unquestioningly releasing asylum seekers into the Australian community — a negligent and dangerous prospect for a whole different set of reasons — the suite of policies that affect their arrival and eventual passage into Australia constitute the best course currently available among a raft of measures that all come with drawbacks.

I don’t propose to get into a wholesale analysis and defence of the Abbott government this morning over its policies on asylum seekers, but I will make the point that for all the blather from the Left about the number of children held in detention under the Abbott government, fully 90% of the kids held when the government took office have been released, with the backlog expected to be cleared later this year; and despite the riots and hunger strikes and other forms of blackmail deployed by some asylum seekers to try to force the government to speed their release into the community, most asylum seekers realise their ambition of residency in Australia as soon as their bona fides can be established.

Australians generally (and the Abbott government in particular) certainly do not subscribe to the racist, flat-earthed view articulated by Hopkins, and any thinking conservative will be insulted and affronted to be lumped in with Hopkins and smeared by the association with such ignorant and uninformed opinions.

Certainly, I’ve never heard this kind of sentiment advocated behind closed doors inside the Liberal Party, and not even (as some on the Left would believe) to the Right of the party, where I nominally sit.

I make three points: one, Hopkins is entitled to her view, but it is an offensive and noxious view at best, and not one that can be attributed to conservative notions of governance with any fairness or accuracy.

Two, some on the Left might snigger and welcome the opportunity to use her words as fodder against the Liberal Party; they would be irresponsible to do so and should be crucified by media outlets like Fairfax if they do, for this kind of drivel has no place in mainstream political discourse in Australia.

And three, if any good can come from Hopkins’ intemperate outbursts at all, it should be to serve potent notice to the likes of the cabal that holds court every week on #QandA — posing misguidedly and with pomposity as it does as the arbiter and protector of moral right in Australia — that words can be deadly, and as a reminder that its vitriol against the Right (for no better reason than a disagreement of views) fade into insignificance against elements that truly do advocate the manner of ills they irresponsibly and erroneously accuse Abbott and his government of in the interests of cheap, petty political expediency.

 

 

Sun Rises In West As Sarah Hanson-Young Seeks “Facts”

IN AN OXYMORON, Communist Party Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has embarked on a “fact-finding mission” to Cambodia to investigate conditions “refugees might encounter” if resettled there; given the Senator’s odd version of the facts on asylum seeker issues to date and her jaundiced view of reality at the best of times, the prospect she will report any “facts” is less than that of the sun rising in the west tomorrow morning.

It’s very difficult to take Sarah Hanson-Young all that seriously, when she professes “compassion” for just about anyone who is not Australian, when it is remembered that her response to the deaths of more than 1,000 asylum seekers at sea was as brutal and as cavalier as it was succinct: “accidents happen.”

And it is ridiculous (and bordering on an obscenity) that so vituperative is her outrage over the Abbott government policies that stopped countless hundreds of drowning deaths that she would prefer the restoration of the previous suite of failed policies to the government being able to claim a skerrick of credit for a job well done in this area.

IN A WORLD OF HER OWN…the adventures of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

 

It’s been some time since the nasty piece of work from South Australia has attracted the attention of this column, although it’s a dubious achievement of sorts that after almost 900 articles published here to date, this one — particularising her attempt to dispute the realities over asylum seeker deaths under the policies the Greens were jointly responsible for enacting, and her inability to withstand questioning on radio about it by a reasonable journalist — remains the fourth-most read of the lot, and continues to attract readership every week since being published over a year ago.

It seems another attempt at fiction could be in the offing, with Hanson-Young now in Cambodia — presumably at the expense of the taxpayer — to investigate conditions that might be experienced by refugees resettled there under the Abbott government’s contentious arrangements with that country; and irrespective of the merits or otherwise of those arrangements, the portents for any balance in the good Senator’s findings appear grim.

Apparently keeping some kind of log of her travels on Twitter (using the hashtag #FactFindCambodia), it seems Hanson-Young’s disgraceful sense of perspective knows no bounds, with the disgusting imputation that the federal government is intent on abandoning young girls resettled under the policy to sexual servitude and exploitation (and remember, this is from the Senator’s own record of the “facts” she has found).

I’ve read about this in The Australian tonight and had a look through the (brief) weblog on Twitter, and it’s difficult to see what the Senator is doing in any other light than deliberately causing trouble if the tenor of her jottings to date are anything to go by.

As the minister, Scott Morrison, pointed out on 2GB this afternoon, the arrangements for resettlement of refugees are not even finalised, let alone any preparations made; and even then, resettlement will be voluntary, and consist of very small numbers of people.

But this doesn’t bother Hanson-Young, who appears hellbent on finding the very worst aspects of life in Cambodia, as they stand now, and in the absence of any of the infrastructure and support the government will put in place under its resettlement scheme: a selective appraisal indeed of a policy she purports to seek the “facts” about.

I would suggest the Senator is motivated more from a desire to inflict damage on a conservative government for the sake of it than she is by any real concern for asylum seekers; her cavalier and flippant remark that “accidents happen” in response to more than a thousand drownings justify this stance, as does the fact she is out hunting for ammunition before the policy she opposes has even been implemented.

As Immigration minister Morrison notes in the article I have linked, facts and Sarah Hanson-Young aren’t two things that readily come to mind at the same time; and as trite as his words might be, his assertion that Hanson-Young’s trip will simply give her something to “whinge and complain (about) like she always does” is on the mark.

Pigs might fly, and charcoal might sprout, and — tomorrow morning — the sun could very well rise in the west.

But will Sarah Hanson-Young uncover any “facts” about refugee policy on her current jaunt to Cambodia?

Don’t hold your breath.

 

#QandA: ABC Does The Left — And Itself — No Favours

LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE of QandA represented the point at which the ABC and its slavering advancement of the agenda of the Left — at taxpayers’ expense — finally went too far; if the national broadcaster wishes to oxygenate the views of those who clearly dislike Australian society then it should be privatised or overhauled. Those who for whom Australia is obviously not good enough can get the hell out and go somewhere else.

I don’t think anyone of fair mind seriously expects a balanced or reasoned discussion when they tune in to QandA each week; the first give away — every time without fail — is the composition of the panel, invariably skewed 4-2 (or more commonly 5-1, as it was last night) in  favour of the Left, notwithstanding the ABC’s proud trumpeting of the composition of its audience featuring 45% Coalition supporters.

And yes, I count host Tony Jones as one of that number for the Left; without fail he sides against those of his guests from the Right, and last night actively advocated for some of the Left-wing positions being bandied about.

But for a show proclaiming to be about “Adventures In Democracy” and supposedly predicated upon Australian politics, last night’s episode — euphemistically entitled Human Rights And Wrongs — left everything to be desired.

I suggest readers take the time to watch last night’s show; they can do so here. It will take an hour, but in my view that time will be well spent in terms of gaining the clearest possible view of the toxic agenda the Left is using the ABC to promote in this country, and in which the ABC is culpably complicit.

And “toxic” — as readers will see — is an absolutely appropriate description.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed that as this programme went on, my tweets progressed from standard comments, to some bemusement, to unbridled outrage; indeed, the show got worse as it went on in my view, and the incessant use of the word “fuck” by panellist Mona Eltahawy became very tiresome very quickly.

(To say nothing of inappropriate: a national broadcast in prime time on the ABC is not the place for constant foul language, however much the rest of us might use those words in conversation; it simply showed just how inappropriate Eltahawy is as a commentator on anything for public consumption — not that the rest of her utterances were any better).

I raise this because one of my tweets does, I think, sum up my position on last night’s show (and, ironically, was made early on in the piece): everyone should be heard; whether they deserve to be listened to or not is the real question.

The remark was made in the context of a “debate” on free speech that occurred at the outset of the program, but neatly reflects what should be the popular verdict on the merit or otherwise of the ABC’s latest cabal of “guests” recruited from the international hard Left.

I’m not going to analyse the episode, frame by frame; I trust readers will watch it so they’re cognisant of what I am saying. But even if they don’t, the whole thing took a decidedly nasty turn toward the end and I think the ABC, as the broadcaster, should be held to account.

Discussion on social media had turned to some extent on the fact the programme wasn’t discussing Australian politics, or anything to do with it: it was basically an open forum for the Left to denigrate and abuse those on the Right (and in the mainstream) who refuse to sanction or accept their views.

Predictably enough, when the conversation turned to asylum seekers and boat people, one panellist — Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth — gave the ridiculous scenario (to ridicule the Right, of course) that if Australia announced it would execute everyone who arrived by boat, the boats would stop. Nothing simpler.

Why isn’t Australia “intervening” in Sri Lanka or Egypt? Why is Australia now known internationally as a “human rights abuser?” One questioner asked the panel why the ABC was baying for Tony Abbott’s blood over a single death at the Manus Island Detention Centre when it had remained mute during the thousand or so deaths at sea of asylum seekers that were a direct result of the Rudd/Gillard policies on the issue. Host Tony Jones not only defended the ABC’s complicity in this, but claimed the ABC had subjected the Gillard-era deaths to “the most graphic scrutiny,” whatever that means.

And speaking of Jones pushing the barrow of the Left in his role as an ABC anchor, when panellist Tim Wilson raised the prospect of the Human Rights Commission recommending the release of children in detention centres, Jones was quick off the mark. “Why stop there?” he responded. “Men and women suffer in detention too…” which translates, simply, to the Greens’ position of releasing asylum seekers into the community pending processing, which the majority of Australians are opposed to.

Wilson tried to make the point — partly in response to Eltahawy and her lampooning of Abbott over “inaction” toward those in her country and in Sri Lanka — that in processing asylum seekers, legitimate refugees in camps are pushed to the back of the queue, but was ignored.

No, the view of Roth — that Australia was “nowhere near bearing its burden on asylum seekers” — was more important for the rest of the panel to leave on the table. This, despite Roth’s own figures suggesting that Australia took 20,000 asylum seekers last year. According to Roth, Lebanon (with a population of 5 million) took 1 million asylum seekers during the same period, and this was the benchmark to which Australia should aspire.

Does anyone seriously think Australia should accept 5 million asylum seekers based on a population of 25 million? Spare me.

By this time, even some members of Jones’ audience — the hand-picked ABC crowd that included 45% of Coalition supporters — were getting angry, and rightly so.

Obviously perturbed to be facing any opposition at all, another panellist — Lucy Siegle, an “Ethics Columnist” with British newspaper The Observer — opined that the “Australia they were seeing” through the programme appeared “pretty toxic” to outsiders.

And Eltahawy bluntly stated that “in discussions, it helps to get down to the bare bones and just say is as it is” before elaborating that in light of the dissenting views put both during QandA and in Australia more generally, Australians are “scared of brown and black people coming into Australia.”

Can I just say that so far as I am concerned, the ABC — in allowing such biased, misinformed and highly partisan drivel to be broadcast — has gone way too far now in its persecution of the social and political Right and in its blind advancement of the so-called arguments of the Left.

Most Australians are fair, reasonable and decent people. The irony is, of course, that by rattling on with what can only be described as absolute bullshit, the Left is actually generating resentment and opposition toward the very elements in whose interest it claims to act.

And the ABC has neither the right nor the mandate to provide these forums for one-sided belligerence by minority sections of society effectively seeking to belt the majority into submission.

As I said at the outset, everyone should be heard; whether they deserve to be listened to or not is the real question. That goes as much as for the Left as it does for the bigots and haters and persecutors it seems think Australia is populated by.

Those who watched QandA now know, clearly, what the sneering chardonnay drunks and compassion babblers of the Left really think of them.

In the case of Eltahawy and Siegle, my message is simple: if you think Australia is so toxic or bigoted or terrible, then — to be blunt — fuck off. Go somewhere else. We don’t need you here.

But in the wider context of the role of the ABC and whether last night’s QandA constitutes suitable content, I would suggest it doesn’t: skewed panels conducting “debates” in which the position of the Left is the only one permitted to stand is not debate; it is brainwashing, disinformation, propaganda. And Australians should not be paying for it by way of their taxes.

I think it’s incumbent on Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull to continue his application of the blowtorch to “their ABC” over the issues of impartiality and bias; he would also do well to ready the broadcaster for privatisation, for what passes as material in the public interest — by the ABC’s apparent judgement — is nothing of the sort, and should not be funded by the taxpayer.

I’ll be interested to see what others think/thought, but I’m still pretty angry about it 24 hours later. And yes, I know: it shows.

 

 

Deal On Boats With Sri Lanka: Greens Should Be Ashamed

TONY ABBOTT stands on the cusp of doing what Labor and the Greens couldn’t — or wouldn’t — do: stopping the boats by dealing with the problem at its source. Sri Lanka has agreed in principle to work with Australia to end this scourge once and for all. The Greens, especially, ought to be ashamed.

Who would have thought it? Talking, to the right people in the right way, actually works.

Working on the sidelines of the CHOGM conference in Colombo, Tony Abbott appears to have all but sealed a deal with the Sri Lankan government to crack down once and for all on people smugglers; given the perilous journeys of so many asylum seekers begin in Sri Lanka, the agreement represents the first real breakthrough on boat arrivals since the Howard government instituted its Pacific Solution in 2001.

The deal apparently exists at present as a memorandum of understanding, the details of which are to be finalised in meetings over the weekend between Abbott and his Sri Lankan counterpart, with a final agreement due to signed within days.

Importantly, it is understood that both Foreign minister Julie Bishop and immigration minister Scott Morrison have had contributed to the groundwork that have enabled an agreement to be possible.

And I think that last point is especially noteworthy given Bishop and Morrison are not just hate figures to the Left, but have been mindlessly pilloried in recent weeks for no better reason than they are new to their current ministerial roles.

Readers will remember that earlier in the week, this column slammed Communist Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon for the pious lecture tour she took it upon herself to undertake in Sri Lanka, holding court and lecturing government officials about alleged human rights abuses in their country as “the voice the Australian government has refused to be.”

Until somebody took umbrage, that is, and — in her words — “deprived her of her liberty.”

Today’s development in the fight against people smuggling, with its implicit potential to drastically reduce the flow of unauthorised boat arrivals in Australia, should give the likes of Rhiannon something to think about.

While she was in Sri Lanka, unsolicited (and likely less than genuinely welcome), indulging her deluded and pretentious fantasies about national leadership, this country’s actual leaders were working behind the scenes to negotiate a bilateral framework by which to tackle a problem that is increasingly expensive for Australia to deal with, and increasingly hazardous to those who would risk their lives to perpetuate it.

As I said in my article on Rhiannon’s little field trip, I’m not going to get into a debate on the rights, wrongs or otherwise of what she saw fit to talk at Sri Lankan figures about.

But I will make the point that here in Australia, we have a government that acts to resolve issues of concerns to Australia, and the same principle applies in the case of Sri Lanka; the Sri Lankans don’t come here and tell us how to run our country, and I would wager the prospect of acting similarly in Sri Lanka would be viewed rather dimly.

Again, it shows how far out of line Rhiannon and her sidekick were.

But the issue of people smuggling is one the Greens are passionate about, at least in the sense they are adamant they have the only correct solution: throw the borders open, and let whoever the hell wants to come here do so, unfettered, and give them the world when they arrive.

Nobody could accuse the hard Left of being anything other than driven by “ideals.”

The problem is that nobody outside their jaundiced and malignant movement agrees with them; the deal on the table which Abbott will shortly finalise certainly lends no weight to Greens’ policies from the so-called “push” side of the ledger.

Perhaps the Greens, Rhiannon and others like them should reflect that while they are trying to conceive a world that basks in socialist utopia, others are getting on with the real business of international affairs: in this case, the real business between Australia and a friendly country with which we share different aspects of a common problem.

And far from the stated intentions of do-gooder chardonnay drunks achieving anything of worth, perhaps Rhiannon might reflect that letting rip with her socialist pap might, in other circumstances, have derailed a meaningful achievement in governance — the issue of the Greens’ unreasoning hatred of conservative government and its actions notwithstanding.