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.