News That’s Fit To Punt – 01/Sep/2011

Can’t Get An Even Break

What a mess this Malaysian solution has turned into. And here was Julia Gillard, looking for a result, any result, that got over the line to break up the ‘business model’ for people smugglers. Now that the High Court has ruled against the plan, it’s back to square zero for the government.

The High Court’s ruling seems to indicate that the Immigration minister can’t send a minor to a country without UN protection, and there fore the Malaysian solution cannot be carried out by this government. this would suggest that the Pacific Solution on Nauru would be ruled out by this judgment as well. Of course it doesn’t stop Tony Abbott from saying Nauru is a perfectly good location to send these people. It’s as if Tony Abbott has totally failed to comprehend what the High Court has said. It’s amusing to watch but infuriating all the same.

What ever the case, the ALP Federal government really is in a pickle now because the left faction is preemptively trying to ward off Julia Gillard from doing adopting the Nauru solution which would do 2 things. It would mean a policy capitulation to the  Coalition, and it would mean one of the reasons Kevin Rudd got elected in 2007 would be lost.

A quick look at the SMH Poll is interesting too. As of this writing 40% want the Asylum seekers processed on the Mainland but 20% want them sent to Nauru, and a whopping 35% want them sent back to where they come from. 55% of the electorate not only do not care, they’re hostile to the asylum seekers.That’s not some lunatic fringe. That’s the weight of public opinion no matter how distasteful to one’s own ideals.

More tellingly only 1% support the Malaysian plan – which probably shows that the Gillard ALP government at least are not doing this thing by focus groups. If they were, they’d be digging their heels in ti keep them on the mainland and be arguing with at least 40% electorate support. Again, I don’t know if this is good or bad. It strongly suggests the electorate haven’t digested the Malaysian solution but are instead sticking to party lines or being mean-spirited (how else do you explain that 35%?).

For my money, I actually thought the Malaysian solution was workable in as much as it accomplished a few things. It did mean we took 4000 legitimate refugees in exchange for the questionable 800. That’s a 5 for 1 deal in terms of living up to our obligations. It would have put a big dent in the reasons for the asylum seekers to get into the boats in the first place, which is exactly what the government is trying to do.

So you have to feel for Julia Gillard. Not only could she not get a policy win out of this, she’s been sent back to the drawing board when the opposition is actively setting fire to the house that houses the drawing board.If sending them overseas for processing is against the law, then what can you really do but process them on Christmas Island or the mainland? That would get you to 43% support on the issue, but it won’t deter the people smugglers.

Actually, the question I’ve bee pondering is what happens if Julia Gillard, Chris Bowen and the government decided to ignore the High Court ruling and did it anyway. I was thinking, that would be really messy. In fact, messier than the circumstances of the Dismissal in 1975. If the government ordered the ADF to move these people, who could stop them from being moved? NSW Police? I’m laughing at that idea.

I guess the High Court judges could subpeona Julia Gillard and say she’s in contempt of court, but how would they arrest her if she refused to show? The AFP reports to the Attorney General’s office and that would mean the AFP couldn’t get a warrant because the Attorney General would block it. What would happen then? A colossal showdown between Parliament and the High Court.

I have to tell you I imagined it, and got half excited, half-scared.

My Question Of The Day

Where do I sign up for ‘Kevin ’11’?

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