Since being elected, Tony Abbott has gone into hyperdrive on the asylum seeker issue. Without a doubt irregular maritime arrivals are not the ideal way for those seeking asylum to arrive into Australia, however to all but the most ignorant, logic states that in order to put some order into disorder that a primary goal is the goodwill and cooperation of Indonesia.
In 2009, Kevin Rudd and Indonesia were in close cooperation on the issue:
AUSTRALIA is preparing to dispatch police across Asia to fight people smugglers and expand intelligence and security ties with Indonesia under a landmark deal that could be unveiled within weeks.
From the same link, it was none other than John Howard who recognised that a diplomatic solution was the prime solution:
But the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, said yesterday the so-called Indonesia solution had begun in ”about 2002” under the former prime minister John Howard, who provided millions of dollars to Jakarta to assist with processing refugees and preventing illegal migration.
I wonder where all that cooperation went to? Gone like the wind under hamfisted, egotistical and inept handling by the Abbott-led government. Completely at odds with his mentor John Howard, one of Tony Abbott’s first actions as Prime Minister was to enact the opposite, and instead of providing “millions of dollars to Jakarta” . . .
Australia will cut $75.4 million from humanitarian, emergency and refugees programs, including $8.5 million from the International Committee of the Red Cross, $4 million from planned donations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and $1 million from the United Nations Peacekeeping Fund.
Therefore with a diplomatic solution effectively thrown in the wastepaper basket by Abbott and Morrison, what remains? What else but Turn Back the Boats, irrespective of the wishes of the other party, Indonesia. Some of a more bogan bent might stand on their soapboxes shouting loud “Huzzahs!” that we white fellas are showing those others a thing or two – here Indonesia; you can like it or lump it!
Stopping the boats has rather interesting history, and it took close to a year before anyone in the mainstream media got around to asking the question, “How?” clearly being far too interested in the politics of it all rather than the policy and that policy’s practical application.
…the Opposition Leader declined to say what specific policies the Coalition would implement to stop the boats.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott believes he can ”stop the boats” entering Australian waters within three months of a coalition government being elected on Saturday.
Decisions would be made by Mr Abbott personally and on a case-by-case basis, based on the advice of naval commanders making contact through a hotline to the prime minister’s office.
Although the idea of a Boat phone caused a great deal of mirth, expressed in headlines such as “Holy asylum seekers”, the fact of the matter is that Abbott originally came up with this idea when cornered during an interview. Abbott when asked the question; if or when it did occur that people did die at sea due to his turn back the boats policy whether they be asylum seekers or enlisted personnel, then who is it who is going to be taking responsibility for these deaths? Whose responsibility would it be to turn back the boats? Abbott’s sudden and quite odd explanation is that he would have a Boatphone to the commanders, “In the end it would be a prime ministerial decision,” he said.
So where has this Prime Ministerial responsibility suddenly evaporated to?
Mistakes by sailors blamed for breach of Indonesian water
Senior navy officers and customs officials face possible disciplinary action over six incursions into Indonesian waters while turning back asylum-seeker boats under the government’s border protection regime.
And what might this quotation be construed as meaning?
However some blame was placed on headquarters, which while knowing the importance of respecting Indonesian territory, had ”effectively devolved the obligation to remain outside Indonesian waters to vessel commanders”.
How can respect for another nation’s territorial waters “devolve”, and under what circumstances were orders given, and by whom, that this should devolve? But of course, this is none of Tony’s business, as after all it’s nothing more than a cricket game or a football match.
During a press conference at Parliament House on Tuesday, the Prime Minister was asked how it could transpire that professionally trained and highly skilled naval personnel could mistakenly sail, more than once, into Indonesian territorial waters.
“Even people who are at the very top of their game… will occasionally make mistakes,” Mr Abbott replied, while praising the skill and professionalism of the Australian navy.
A game? A match? Apparently not, it is now a devolution.