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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

'here I stand' « Previous | |Next »
September 14, 2011

Watching the Question Time theatre in the House of Representatives yesterday indicated to me that the Abbott lead Coalition will not support the Gillard Government's legislation to change the Migration Act to allow off shore processing. Gillard’s argument is that changes to the migration legislation will help any future government, not just her own. The Coalition just keeps saying no to Malaysia. No no no.Then throws Nauru in her face. Only Nauru. Only Nauru.

As the Coalition sees it, the problem is one of the Gillard Government's own making. They dug themselves into the asylum seeker hole and so they can dig themselves out. The Coalition, far from supporting them ensure off shore processing will keep pushing them back into the hole and standing on their fingers when they try to crawl out. If they support the legislation, then that gives the Government a free pass.

That doesn't look like happening, given the level of hatred and loathing towards Gillard and her Government, the stark polarization of politics, and the high level of both adversarial politics and journalism. The antagonism, hostility, outrage and contempt is only going to be rammed up to ever higher levels in order to gain a political advantage.

However, there is some truth in the claim that the problem is of Gillard's making. She has made the asylum seek issue central, tied it to her political legitimacy and then to the authority of executive government with respect to border control. She has put her head on the chopping block and said: 'Here I stand, I can do no other.' The Gillard government is determined to proceed with its Malaysia solution .

What is open to Gillard is to us the tools of executive authority to make the most of what the law had to offer, staying within the letter of the law, but opting for interpretations that reflected differing, but legally permissable, readings of the law. The Gillard government can make clear that a government has a duty to carry out the law to the best of its ability, which includes its interpretive ability.

Meanwhile the Coalition in chanting Nauru Nauru Nauru ignores the Immigration Department 's advice to them that the High Court ruling was a game changer and that Nauru Solution would not be an effective deterrent for asylum-seekers. Nauru would merely be a holding point and those that spent their days languishing while their claims were processed on would head to Australia in time.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:06 PM | | Comments (3)


It is ironic that the Coalition now attacks the Gillard Govt's Malaysia solution from the left---from a concern about the welfare of the asylum seekers from harsh detention and cruel punishment. Nauru is much nicer they chorus.

The Coalition says: The Pacific Solution was right. The ALP was wrong in changing it. When is the Gillard Govt going to admit that it was wrong? When is Gillard going to embrace the policies that worked because they stopped the boats.

This is endlessly repeated

Your analysis is spot-on Gary. Gillard deposed Rudd with the excuse the government had 'lost its way'. Global warming, mining tax, asylum seekers - she had all the answers to the problems that poor old Kevvie found too hard. Except she didn't of course; all she had was a collection of smartarse undergraduate brainstorming points like the citizens' assembly and more chaplains and the East Timor Solution.

Now she has to be accountable. I can't say I feel any sympathy for her, although the implications for the future of Australia's governance are depressing in the extreme.