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STOPPING THE BOATS . . . September 1, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.

Those who know about these matters are declaring that the Government is sunk.

Policy should be about doing the right thing rather than following the star of political expediency. The High Court decision yesterday caught the government unawares, and may that reflects the quality of legal advice they were getting, or perhaps how they were listening to their advisers.

ABC News Online reports that the UN Refugee Agency will not be involved in any offshore processing of refugees in Papua New Guinea or Nauru. The report then noted:

Earlier Ms Gillard took a swipe at the High Court for its decision to scuttle the asylum swap deal with Malaysia.

Saying the court “has rewritten the Migration Act” and that the Government had based its deal on sound legal advice, Ms Gillard would not accept responsibility for the debacle.

“Yesterday the asylum seeker and refugee law of this country changed – changed from how it had been known and understood before with a different interpretation,” she told a press conference in Brisbane.

“The High Court’s decision basically turns on its head the understanding of the law in this country.”

Commonwealth solicitor-general Stephen Gageler told cabinet last night that the ruling casts doubt on the entire offshore processing system – which would include Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

“There are questions over the future of offshore processing arrangements that must be considered, and it’s far from clear that the court’s ruling would, practically speaking, permit the operation of offshore processing in other locations – even in locations where offshore processing has been conducted in the past,” Ms Gillard said.

The real issue here is the refusal to accept refugees and to process their applications expeditiously. Somebody ought to be investigating why people are fleeing Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and other places, and then doing something about the conditions that give rise to refugees in the first instance. There are, presumably, a number of refugees that have already reached Indonesia, and we ought to do doing something to help those people, who I am again assuming will not be able or willing to stay there. Take those measures that make the emotive issue involvement of people smugglers, otherwise entrepreneurs, in the settlement process irrelevant.


Ken Parish at Club Troppo suggests the High Court’s decision has made offshore processing unfeasible, something that any future Liberal Government would have to contend.

Mark Bahnisch at Lavatus Prodeo is similarly pessimistic about the re-election of the Gillard Government.

Gary Sauer-Thompson at Public Opinion reviewed the High Court’s decision noting that governments are subject to the rule of law. Government decisions must be made in accordance to the law and that there power is limited.

On the question of driving nails into coffins, a common image, I was not even aware that coffins had nails. Still it occurs to me, if the defeat of the government is so deserved and so inevitable, now might be the time consider the prospect of Tony Abbott led government. They must have policies somewhere. Of course, they would abandon the Carbon Tax in favour of direct action. Would an Abbott led government be any less shortsighted and populist than Gillard’s?



1. Kevin Rennie - September 2, 2011

We can expect Abbott to drop his ‘climate action’ almost immediately before disappearing into a policy black hole, similar to the Baillieu govt in Victoria. Ted and Tony will have a fine time living in 1960.

Has anyone asked him what he would do if the Nauru option was killed off by the High Court?

wmmbb - September 3, 2011

Kevin, I think you may be right about the climate action policy. He can run against the government without being subject to scrutiny on the alternative policies he represents. The High Court decision may have created as much of a problem for Tony Abbott as for Julia Gillard.

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