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King Dick?


Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

So. Three years on. Tony Abbott has singlehandedly changed the mood of this nation. Where once we thought us a fair and compassionate nation, Abbott has turned it seems 58% of the nation into thinking that refugees are illegal. To highlight this further, the coalition recently announced some totally bullshit announcement designed to please their current support base, the small but loud and bitter number of xenophobes that you find in any nation.

Not once has the media ever really tried to question Abbott’s policy. Oh they may have quietly mentioned the view of Indonesia, but it was always presented in a way that that somehow is not an issue and after all Howard did it in the before times.

It was in this environment, this bitter watchlist making environment, talk back hating environment, media misleading environment, that it became clear that attempting to ensure safe and practical onshore processing was destroyed. Every time the government tried, the media would remind us that “these people” are/could/want to be jihadists and take over the nation and eat your babies. Sorry I misread that. Not eat your babies, the carbon tax does that apparently.

The hate stirred by Abbott and his minister for propaganda on immigration and fanned by the media has taken hold. Compassion replaced with apathy. Videos of people on public transport and at sporting venues began. Words released from mouths that had been released by other mouths after they had heard them released from the mouth of Abbott and Scott Morrison.

At this stage, I really do not hope that this is a tactic that they are proud of. I really do hope that they are just saying this stuff and do not really mean it. But on the off chance that they do, then that is sufficient to make sure the Coalition never govern.

And what will this son of York herald for Australia? A Australia where we can ignore science. Where we can ignore international agreements and advice. Where we can make claims like spending less money on schools is good for YOUR children. That the NBN is a toy and who uses computers anyway? That you can plant 10 million trees in a desert over 5 years with 1 million people and it only cost you 300 million a year.

Abbott in the same breath as he says opportunity, cries punishment. While saying hope, he cries economic doom. While he talks of reward, he mentions the sacking of workers.

At the same time Julia Gillard has made her decision. And some in her party are not happy. But the truth rang so clearly last week that many would have cried deeply  at seeing  where their nation has gone as it held the hand of the media and skipped across the truth to the fantasy world of Tony Abbott.

A world where you consider it acceptable to attack someone not on policy, but on personal attributes and gossip. A world where a small group of men who wear the uniform of this nation and train to defend it with their lives have done that uniform and their country men and women such a grievous disservice.

It is in this environment that the Gillard government began to pursue off shore processing. Her stance was if they continued to pursue on shore processing, then in this environment, the coalition would defeat them at the election despite their achievements this term. The talk back and the newspapers would pursue Abbott’s rhetoric till where it was not only refugees that where the target of the nations venom, but anyone that had a natural tan or different shaped eyes.

To some in the ALP, this shift was wrong. They argue that they should have stayed with onshore processing and talk to the community so they will come around. Or as many MPs hint, take the nation with you.

But you look at where the coalition and the media and the shock jocks have placed us. Mandatory detention is no longer a policy to protect us from the refugees, but a place where refugees can be safe from us. From our public transport angst rants. From our vile and hateful texts and commentary and blogs. The coalition and Tony Abbott made it possible for people to wear t-shirts that call for the sinking of the boats and the drowning of all on board.

So that is what I see happened. And now you have a split that really can not heal. These are deep personal beliefs that is being argued. On the one hand, those who want a return to Rudd who can then lead them to what they hope will be onshore processing community acceptance.

The PM on the other hand argues that such a move will not win the election for the party. It will if anything, decimate them further. So she shifted the government policy to that of what she and others had argued against in the past. And by so doing, initially gave credibility to the coalition as the much better refugee managers.

Did I just actually type that? Refugee management? Yet that is what this has become. Instead of an issue of compassion, Abbott and his media have turned it into a management issue. Like how you manage overpopulation of kangaroos. What a terrible place for Australia to be. But there it was taken.

It is only now that some of the media are reminding people that the coalition’s refugee management policy is a lie. First and foremost, Indonesia will not cooperate.  Secondly those on board would sink their vessel rather than be returned. This is NOT new. This was known before the last election. It was known by the Houston panel. And all the while Abbott acted like reality is not that big a deal and the media went along for the ride.

Now though, the coalition three pronged policy has lost a prong. And the policy they can enact is already enacted. And the boats still come. Maybe eventually the coalition will say that a regional solution is the key. But I do not see this coming in this term. They will continue to preach illegal.

By adopting the policies of the coalition, the government has taken huge body blows. But it is also now clear that the coalition would not be able to implement any different policy. The boats will still come, but scuttle themselves when they see our vessels on the horizon and therefore remove the ability to turn back the boat and further increase the chance of losing their lives. They will risk their lives to stop being returned. Why?

Because it is they that are desperate. Not the Prime Minister.

And so we approach the election. The division in the ALP over asylum seekers still exists. But the PM’s strategy is now clear. All the while Abbott was raising alarm and concern and fear, the ALP continued to work on policy. Now policy in a hung parliament is not going to be everything a party can get through with a majority, so there will be some aspects that have to be negotiated and compromised on. Nevertheless, the ALP continued to do this. And now they wear a mantle of these policy and achievements.

With the coalition immigration policy now being little more than the ALP policy, the government have effectively shut down the coalition’s use of refugees as a strong vote winner. They will still get the loonies, but to more reasonable folk, the difference in policy would be bees dick width at most.

So the electorate will now look at the OTHER policies. The NBN. Education. Health. NDIS, Infrastructure Australia, and of course pricing carbon itself. A divisive issue just three years ago. Now the ALP can say do a compare of policies and when done by an electorate who realise the coalition Asylum seeker policy was nothing more than a slogan, then that places the ALP in a much stronger position to win .

Policy for policy, there can be no way that Abbott could win an election. Abbott has done very little to construct policy. His entire campaign was based on winning because of the ‘illegals’. And this card has been removed from the deck by the reality that it will NOT work.

In Richard III, Richard begins a systematic campaign of smear and innuendo turning brother against brothers. His malice makes him kill his own nephews to finally secure a shot at the title of king. He ‘presents himself as the true heir to the throne, pretending to be a modest, devout man with no pretensions to greatness’ – sound familiar?  Abbott will not turn back the boats. Despite how much he talks about it being done in the past; the past is no longer with us in the now. Nor will it aid in the future. A lot of people are going to need some time to finally accept that Abbott lied to them. And when this does happen, Abbott will be heard crying in the heat of battle…

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

For all that hate that he has nurtured in others against the government will come back at him. His turn back the boats statement discovered to be nothing but a statement. And as he stands next to the Prime Minister, he will be naked with no policy to cover him whereas the PM will have over 400 pieces of legislation to the ALP’s credit and a vision for the country in the future.

But is this enough reason to change your stance on asylum seekers in the first place? The public no doubt will let the Prime Minister know soon enough.



A. Ghebranious June 2013

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