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

media management in Fortress Australia « Previous | |Next »
September 27, 2013

The Coalition Government is trying to ensure it retains control over information. This is a source of power – in relation to opponents and to the media---and it is an attempt to both keep issues off the table and to only have the government's interpretation of the issue in the public space. This will ensure calm, measured, competent government.

A single unified message with no surprises or controversies requires a military-type discipline to be imposed:

MoirALiberalgag.jpg Alan Moir

It is not going to work on asylum seekers. The boats keep coming--there have been 10 boat arrivals since the federal election. Indonesia has repeatedly warned against the Coalition's policy to turn boats back to Indonesia, which is part of Operation Sovereign Borders. Indonesia's foreign minister has divulged the contents of his private discussions with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop, which shows him warning the Abbott government against taking any "unilateral steps" which would risk "cooperation and trust" between the two countries.

The Abbott Government will struggle to turn back boats without Indonesian cooperation and unilaterally turning back boats won't resolve the issues.

All this stands in sharp contrast to the conservatives' default tactic in opposition: inculcating a sense of crisis and emergency---by theatrically and effectively deploying the language of crisis, catastrophe, emergency, debacle and disaster--and then convincing the public that they are best suited to manage the recovery from the “disaster”. One consequence of this fear campaign around asylum seekers is that the conservative base in Australia has become more inward looking and insular, and more hostile towards Indonesia. Fortress Australia.

They are angry and inflamed and do not see the issue as a passing irritant. They see it in terms of national sovereignty and border security. The boats are a breach of Australia sovereignty. It's a major issue for the conservative base and they see it in terms of crisis and emergency.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:11 AM | | Comments (14)


"10 boat arrivals since the federal election"

And none have been turned back!

Indonesia allows these people in and benefits by their stay in that they spend large amounts of money. Whether it be bribes, tickets on boats, accommodation, food or whatever till they can get a place on a boat.
Indonesia also gets a big handout from Australia.
Too much emphasis is placed on the Labor and Coalition's role and too little is placed on Indonesia's.
I see Indonesia's role akin to slave trading.

Well of course Turner... a nation of 246 million... with a GDP per captia about 5% of ours should be doing a whole lot more to make sure that Australians are comfortable

Just reading of another boat down, maybe fifteen drowned off Indonesia.
Turner you may be right on the factoid given the right context, but I'd go along with mars 08 in hinting at that the brutal complexity of asylum seeking, which is itself a subset of global human impoverisation and causal international relations driven from the TNC's and their political lackeys.
Whether you support increased refugee numbers here or not, the circumstances behind the mess ought NOT to bring anything but shame to Western nations and people, considering how we would feel if caught in the same shit as these people are in.

the conservative base is under the distinct impression that Operation Sovereign Borders and a few quick forays north by the navy will “stop the boats” almost straight away.

Indonesia has to pull its head in.

The Coalition's "turn the boats back" probably means to tow boats back towards the maritime border between the two nations and leave them there with only enough fuel to make it back to Indonesia.

The navy will not transgress Indonesia’s territorial border.

The implications is that the asylum seekers are Indonesia's problem.

I bet Abbott's village watch policy gets dropped fast. We won't hear much about it from now on.


So now we hear that the Indonesian army is trucking people to boats. No doubt they are telling them "Don't call us because we don't have the resources to save you when the boat starts sinking"
Call Australia.

Indonesia has made it clear that refugees are not a high priority for them. They have more pressing national problems and no new Indonesian president is likely to allow Australia to be seen to be dictating policy to Indonesia.

Indonesia can play the nationalist card just like Abbott.

The Coalition has spent three years using the stop the boats rhetoric of the arrival of boats of asylum seekers being were a national emergency, a threat to our sovereignty, and an unmitigated horror etc.

They cannot now get away saying don't worry about it, its not a big problem, or that Indonesia should be servile and just do what Australia wants

Will Abbott dump his "turning back the boats" policy in favour of greater regional co-operation?

When it comes to converting the three word slogan--turn back the boats--- into policy, actually turning boats back towards Indonesia involves some level of Indonesian participation and assent – and Indonesia does not seem keen on the idea.

To Indonesia, it is evidence that Australia is willing to shirk its responsibility towards refugees, leaving the bulk of the burden with our under-resourced northern neighbours.

The chest-beating Coalition, who have spend years beating up the asylum seeker problem for political gain, will now reap its own jingoistic harvest premised on an implicit distrust of Indonesia.

Indonesia is a transit point, Australian a destination. It is not as easy as shutting a door. Even if Abbott succeeded in building "fortress Australia", it would only result in Indonesian islands becoming a site for unwanted illegals, which then only aggravates Indonesia-Australia border security.