It occurs to me that much coming from Scott Morrison and minions since the passing of the “medivac” reforms last week has more than strayed into demagoguery. In passing, enjoy this quote:
Back to Australia. I am impressed with this commentary in Eureka Street.
Having failed in Parliament to prevent tinkering to the border protection regime, the Morrison government returned to the well Australian politicians have drawn upon when faced with electoral crisis: demonise humanitarian approaches to refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat, and accuse opponents of going wobbly. ‘Australia cannot trust Bill Shorten’, huffed Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ‘to make Australia stronger.’ All boat arrivals forthwith would be ‘on Bill Shorten’s head’.
It is worth revisiting Thus Spake Mungo: ScoMo – the authentic demagogue. Well spotted, Mungo MacCallum!
Which leads to the conclusion that what Morrison really means by authenticity is a cynical dumbing down of complex issues in the hope that the public will not analyse them too closely. And obviously climate change is the prime example. Morrison says he accepts that it is real – up to a point. But the point is a firm full stop when it comes to doing anything about it….
…Marketing is the art of convincing people that what they really need is whatever you are providing.
Which is how Morrison is dealing with the children on Nauru issue. He has let is be known that he is, bit by bit, getting most of them to the mainland, which is receiving wary applause; but he won’t say what happens next – are they to have a swift medical check and be sent back? If not, what happens to their parents? What, if any, are their rights?
And given that Peter Dutton is utterly intransigent about conceding them anything, what, if any, is the long-term solution?
A leader who was truly reliable, trustworthy and entitled to acceptance and belief would at least attempt to answer those questions. Morrison’s response is along the lines of ‘don’t you worry about that,’ echoing another shonky leader who liked to think that he was authentic.
And just for the exercise let’s go back to 2004 during the Howard years. I will let you do your own compare and contrast with where we have come to, with Labor and Coalition really on the same page still, despite all the blow-harding coming from the government about the recent tweak on medical evacuations. Courtesy, remember, of Kevin Rudd and the 2013 election we now just accept the orthodoxy that “they” will never ever for any reason be allowed to settle in Australia — as Scott Morrison’s hoped-to-be viral video so strongly asserts. But back in Howard’s day I posted:
In July 2004 I wrote:
Sometimes one can only welcome policy backflips, especially when the policy concerned has been as draconian, as heartless, as unnecessary, as dishonest, and as big a waste of tax-payers’ dollars as the immigration and refugee policy has been since Tampa sailed over our horizon. Well, partly of course because “the temporary protection issue has become a sticky one for the Government in marginal electorates in Victoria, where the Coalition is polling poorly,” but also because there actually are people even in the Liberal Party who like to think of themselves as compassionate, given half a chance, ” the Government will announce as early as today that most of the 9000 temporary protection visa holders, many of whom have been living in the community for more than three years, will be able to apply for permanent residency.” The temporary protection visa was a disgrace anyway, a kind of limbo.
The decision follows a number of other immigration policy backflips by the Government, including its release of all but one child of boat people from mainland detention centres, and permitting 146 Afghans who have been held on Nauru for more than two years to come to Australia, as it winds back the “Pacific Solution”.
Government MPs say there are indications that the Prime Minister, John Howard, has softened his line on the issue of asylum seekers since he won the 2001 election on the back of his tough border protection policies.
I suspect Rural Australians for Refugees especially should take a bow- ordinary decent Australians with a better idea of what that means than Mister Ruddock apparently had. Well done.
The cost and the idiocy of it all may be summed up in the story of Aladdin Sisalem and his cat: “Mr Sisalem fled Kuwait in 2000, eventually arriving at an island in Torres Strait by boat from Papua New Guinea 18 months ago. He immediately sought asylum, saying he would face persecution if sent back to Kuwait. He was sent to Manus Island, where for the past 10 months he was the sole occupant, apart from a small staff of guards and cleaners hired to look after him at a cost to the Australian Government of $250,000 a month.”
Do read Karen Middleton in The Saturday Paper.
Morrison is understood to be the architect of his own political strategy. His friend, former Howard adviser turned lobbyist David Gazard, confirmed the prime minister is choosing to see the medivac legislation as a gift.
Gazard told Sky News this week: “I reckon it’s ‘make my day’ [for] Scott Morrison.”
Labor is acutely aware that it bungled refugee policy when previously in office, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of asylum seekers heading for Australia by boat, including those still languishing on Manus and Nauru. Its leaders in both the right and left factions are determined not to repeat that. At the same time, its core constituents are demanding a much greater emphasis on compassion.