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Regional Agreement On Processing A Step Forward


Rudd to the rescue???

Julia Gillard’s regional processing centre may no longer be necessary, not that it had a chance.

The PM is sporting a little egg on face re her processing centre. The scheme was seen here as a method of sweeping the dust under the carpet aka Nauru by many and East Timor saw it as a hot potato that it did not want to catch.

Tony Abbott and the coalition have been hammering the issue that Nauru is more than willing to take the asylum seekers. But they gloss over the fact that the entire centre there would have to be rebuilt.  From scratch.

As for the people of Nauru themselves, it will bring a big monthly rental income. That and they are not responsible for crowd control so to speak, and if things get out of hand, Australia pays. And the majority of their economy comes from ‘renting’ things. From phosphates to detention centres, they can accommodate at conveniently monthly terms.

However the recent regional agreement on processing asylum seekers may actually make the need for a regional detention centre unnecessary.

If all nations adopt the same method of processing, then there is no benefit for an asylum seeker to come to Australia as they would have exactly the same treatment as if they had not risked the voyage.

Add to this that Indonesia has recently announced that it will enact people smuggler laws one can foresee a slowing down of boats in the medium to long term. Hopefully what it means is less divisive posturing on the issue from both sides.

It will also mean that if boat arrivals begin to curtail, the opposition will need to create another Pinata for them to then take blind swings at. And the chosen animal seems to be welfare.

It does not surprise me at all that Tony Abbott has created a new Wicker Man from old twigs. What does interest me is the form he chose to make the Wicker Man in.

There has been a great tension in the coalition party room. Shortly after the election outcome, Andrew Robb and Joe Hockey made more appearances on TV than John Wayne.

Robb was pushing for massive spending cuts to reduce the interest rates and stop the dollar from falling. Then he was pushing for massive spending cuts to reduce the interest rates and stop the dollar from rising.

Hockey took a stick to the banks, stole ideas and called it his plan, promoted a cut to the terrible fees banks impose for closing a home loan and then said that its stupid to actually cut them as banks will just take the money somewhere else.

As you can see, Tony was having a quiet chuckle as he drafted his Wild Rivers Policy. Remember that?

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of all the bank beat up, Joe came out with an idea that I chose to blog about.

Now I was a little hard on Joe in that piece I will admit. But Tony seemed to have been impressed. What Joe basically talked about back in November 2010 is now Tony Abbott’s policy. Well he borrowed it from John Howard.

As I said, to me this is interesting. Abbott was not all that keen on it in November. He didn’t junk it, he just said he would look at it. What it seems to me is he has had a quick look at the numbers and adopted a plan that would appeal to those who would back Joe in a attempt to placate them and remove that support from Joe.

In regards to this and other coalition policies to date. Anyone see a pattern? The asylum issue and the disability issue effect minority groups.  I will hold off analysis till I hear more. If it helps then there is some good there. Of course that will cost money. But if it is merely designed as a cost savings exercise to reduce welfare then up yours in advance Tony.

As I said, Abbott has had a grand ride since the election re leadership as the contenders have remained numerous enough to split their chances. But this is the first time I’ve seen Abbott make a direct move to pick one side or the other. That is Robb or Hockey as his anointed successor.

I can here the coalition supporters saying I am being biased. Maybe. What I see is this. Abbott has had the best climate (pardon the pun) to instigate a revival to the coalition with governments in Victoria, WA, and now NSW. Add to that the heat generated re the asylum debate and other issues and he has not being able to topple the government.

If the regional agreement on processing comes in and begins to reduce the number of boat arrivals in tandem with Indonesia taking a stronger line on people smugglers, then this open wound in the heart of the ALP, cause that is what it has been, will close and may even heal.

It all began in 2001 when the ALP fell in line with a policy that lead us to mandatory detention. Foolish move.

Anyway, Abbott’s opposition style is he picks at an open wound. Its his greatest skill. It is also therefore his greatest weakness when there is no wound to pick.

Likewise Gillard has to battle a cabinet of her own who get sweaty palms on Newspoll days. The irony is, it is a wave she can withstand at least for a while with the bile still in the mouths of New South Wales voters who dismissed a nervous and divided party.

She will need to continue to do what she claimed she would do re decisions and delivery while Abbott continues to make sure he is not (and his words here) ‘the greatest leader of an opposition not to govern’. What an ego.

So while Julia continues to try and negotiate her way out of unfinished business: Asylum Seekers, NBN, Health, Mining Tax, Climate Change, each hurdle she clears or even slams into head on gives her momentum to bring them to a close. As each one does, Tony not only loses a chance to hurt the government, but his grip on coalition leadership begins to decline.

Both Julia and Tony are leaders of their packs. It’s just you can’t lead and watch your back at the same time.

A. Ghebranious   2011  (All Rights Reserved)

One Comment
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Finally some good news

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