This morning’s Sky News provided the following announcement:
Tony Abbott has vowed to get ‘even tougher’ on asylum seekers if he becomes Prime Minister
One has to wonder why Tony Abbott has had this sudden “look over there” moment when according to all the popular; or should I say the populist press, he has already placed his bets, and won on the poker machine issue.
A sneaking suspicion from yours truly is that all is not well in Tony Abbott’s paradise on the issue of poker machine reform. The clubs are threatening to throw in millions. The clubs will be weighing up the odds.
Meanwhile, and it would seem for no particular reason whatsoever here is Abbott on this morning’s Sky News.
So we now have it, here at last is the Liberal Party’s Policy on asylum seekers:
- ALL asylum-seeker boats that are found to have started their journeys in Indonesia are to be turned around.
- A Liberal government will TELL the Indonesian president that Australia will no longer accept boats which embark from that country.
- More Navy vessels patrolling our waters.
The above clearly comes from Tony Abbott’s Little Book of How To’s, and is filed under the letter S for Stop: How to Stop People Smugglers.
This could easily have been filed under the letter N for No, however that section is becoming rather chokka and in somewhat of a disarray.
Tony is clearly adamant that this is this will work, as he has described this as not just a deterrent – no, not just that it will stop ’em – but will stop ’em ” in their tracks”. He however has conceded, repeating his previously stated proviso, that it may not always be safe to turn around every single boat and that he “would rely on advice from Navy commanders in each case”.
The logistics of the latter are yet to be ascertained, however on the face of it, it appears that firstly Navy commanders on interception of a SIEV will firstly have to launch boarding parties so as to assess the vessel’s seaworthiness. Navy personnel will relay their assessment to the Commander, who will then contact the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister will then provide the Yea or Nay.
By which time half of the crew will be fully engaged in a rescue operation as the SIEV would have sunk.
It is also likely that should Australia turn back boats as a matter of policy, that it would have breached its duty of care as a boarding party’s actions could be interpreted as having been “taken into custody”.
However, and I believe important to this issue is Abbott’s attitude towards our neighbor Indonesia. I would suspect that Indonesia would be quick to reiterate its previous comment that future ‘returns’ will be unacceptable.
This issue has (so far) received a one-liner from the Murdoch media:
A radical policy departure, this has far-reaching and unpredictable consequences for Australia-Indonesia relations.
I should add, that even if acceptable to the Indonesian government that this tactic of Tony Abbott’s is likely to run the risk of moving the problem sideways – that future SIEVs will not embark from ports in Indonesia, but that people smugglers will choose another country on which to focus for their operations.