In siding with the COALition on asylum policy you and your spineless colleagues have shredded the slim hopes I had held for a compassionate alternative government for Australia. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It was a Labor government that introduced mandatory detention in 1992 with no limit to the length of detention. It was sold as an interim measure then. You’ve got to laugh otherwise you’d cry. While I understand that pragmatism and compromise in politics is an inevitable part of the game the ALP’s decision not to support the Green’s motion to grant amnesty to the 267 refugees revealed its complete lack of understanding about the issue of refugees. Six state and territory leaders, appealing to the same voters as you Bill, were able to see through the pointlessness of sending these families back to an abusive environment at Nauru but not you. Church leaders and doctors are prepared to take a moral stand but not you Bill.
Bill, you are under the deluded impression that the ALP lost the 2013 election because of the asylum seeker issue. You are wrong. You might remember that the second Rudd government went to the polls with an even more Draconian refugee policy than the Abbott led opposition. In fact you probably sat at the same table that came up with Kev’s disgraceful declaration that no-one arriving by boat would ever be settled in this country. Odd that, given Kev won the 2007 election in a landslide while vowing to overturn the Howard government’s asylum policy!
It’s true Bill that polls consistently show that a significant majority of Australians support a tough border policy and agree with turning back the boats but here’s the rub Bill. When Australians are presented with detail the polls show a marked reversal. Polls reveal that a majority of Australians support on-shore processing, not off-shore. Polls show that a majority of Australians believe people smugglers should be harshly dealt with and that the Australian government should not pay people smugglers. Polls show that a majority of Australians believe more Syrian refugees should be allowed in the country. And this one’s a corker Bill, according to a Lowy Institute poll last year a majority of Australian disagreed with the COALition’s refugee and asylum policy, so much so that 55%, that’s right Bill, 55%, said they would be less likely to vote for the COALition. So Bill, asylum seekers had nothing to do with the ALP losing the last election.
Tony’s STOP THE BOATS mantra may have sounded impressive but Australians saw it and continue to see it as the sham that it is. The ALP lost the last election Bill because it had become so hamstrung by its on internecine bloodbath that it had become unpalatable as a body worthy of governing the nation. And Bill that all began when you, clothed in your Brutus rags, knifed one of Australia’s most popularly elected leaders and failed to articulate to the stunned electorate, why. History will show that Kev was one of our most dysfunctional prime ministers but you badly misread the Australian public’s mood. Sadly your choice of a replacement had to deal with a continuous howl from a mysogynistic minority, many of whom resided in the rank and file of your beloved Trade Union movement.
Believe me I worked on building sites and witnessed the visceral reactions. It had no reason. But even their irrational logic and abandonment of the ALP in 2010 did not deliver the election to the COALition so rightfully afraid was the electorate of Abbott’s potential to destroy the political fabric and so the ALP was left with a shaky hand on the levers that drive the nation, vulnerable to scandal and indeed mired in it once the opposition smelled blood in the HSU affair. And of course, your boy Kev, yes Bill remember you took up the knife again and slew your previous champion, did not go quietly into the night. He constantly put his ego above the party’s interest and torpedoed the ship at every opportunity. No surprise that the ALP was finally cast aside. Here’s the thing Bill, asylum seekers had nothing to do with it.