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Malaysian Solution Dead In The Water

AUSTRALIA 31 July 2012. Nothing snapshots the ineptness of the Gillard government better than the hopelessness of its border protection policy(s). Its fluid, floundering policies can be best summed up as; 'anything-else-but-admit-Howard-was-right'.

A lost-at-sea, arm-waving, gasping-for-breath attempt at controlling the Australian borders is rooted in early opposition to the Howard Government's Pacific Solution policy.

It was Julia Gillard who, as Shadow Immigration Minister, mocked John Howard prior to his Pacific Solution with taunts of 'another boat, another policy failure'.

All very well to oppose, but there has to be a workable alternative. The alternative solution has been exposed as nothing more than on-the-run thought bubbles. There was never a policy. If there was anything at all, it was to slash, burn and destroy anything that may have had Howard's fingerprints on it. Politics at its pettiest. That's bad enough, but this opportunistic, political point scoring is killing people, kids included.

And what do Gillard and Bowen do to rush this tragedy to an immediate end? They continue to play politics.

Gillard, when she knifed Rudd, drew a line in the sand. "The government (under Rudd) had lost its way", she advised a stunned nation.

One of the three pillars of her new leadership would be dealing with border protection. This was proudly proclaimed by Gillard as a core undertaking to the Australian people; one of the justifications for slipping a knife between the shoulder blades of a sitting PM.

Gillard proudly announced her solution to the influx of boat people. It was her 'Timor' solution. A processing plant would be built in East Timor. The problem with this plan was that nobody had discussed it with the surprised Timorese who rejected it after she publicly announced it.

Nose in the air, our Prime Minister quickly shuffled on to patch together a new thought bubble. In May 2010 she heralded the 'Malaysian Solution' as her new border protection master plan.

This stroke of reverse-genius would result in 800 asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia being taken to Malaysia. In a trade exchange, Australia would take 4,000 processed refugees from Malaysia. To add to the reverse-genius deal struck by Bowen and Gillard, the Australian taxpayers would foot the $300 million bill for the people-trade.

This plan has succeeded in only one area. It has exposed Gillard as one of the most incompetent, divisive and impulsive decision makers (without resorting to law and detail) this country has ever produced as a Prime Minister.

Within three months of its announcement, the High Court of Australia shot the plan down in flames, ruling the transfer of refugees invalid. The deal Gillard and Bowen had signed with the Malaysian government was in fact illegal, in breach of our international refugee treaty.

Gillard's response was to attack the judiciary, personalising her attack specifically on the Chief Justice of the High Court, Robert French, in an extraordinary breach of the doctrine of the separation of powers. She then moved to change the law, overruling our international agreement, granting herself power to send asylum seekers to any third world country, including Malaysia, which is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention.

By doing so, she has alienated her partners in Government, the Greens.

Consequently, her legislation failed in the lower house.

Over the past three years, there have been over 340 illegal boats bringing over 20,000 asylum seekers with over 400 deaths at sea. These are just the ones we know about. How many others never made it on the radar?

Gillard's so-called solution of sending 800 arrivals to Malaysia is no solution at all. The numbers addressed in her plan are a drop in the ocean. Boats are arriving in record succession as the people smugglers show they are far ahead of our dim-witted, incompetent government.

Around 1,000 boat people arrived in May of this year. In June, 1781 arrived. In July, 1520 arrived.

An average of one boat is now arriving by the day. Two boats arrived over the past weekend in under 24 hours.

A record 6,765 people have arrived since the beginning of the year, the highest on record.

So where does that leave Gillard's much heralded 800 people traded with Malaysia? That quota is filled in a little more than a week of any one month.

The government has only allowed for 450 arrivals a month in its May budget. That blew out before the ink dried on the budget papers and has now exploded to about four-fold the government estimates as it continues to tangle itself in a complicated web of its own making. (Perhaps Swan should familiarise himself with econometrics theory.)

The Malaysian Prime Minister in waiting, Anwar Ibrahim (opposition leader who is widely tipped to be leader of the government in the new year, possibly sooner) has gone on the record as saying he opposes Gillard's Malaysian people swap deal.

His position is the Australian Government could not expect Malaysia under his rule to support a program that runs contrary to the whole principle of the rule of law and constitutional rights of the sea. Further, he added the Malaysian parliament was not consulted about the deal. Ibrahim's anticipated win at the next Malaysian election will be another major thorn in Gillard's ample side, already littered with self-inflicted bruises and scars.

So we have a Prime Minister who has pinned her reputation and leadership on a border protection policy that (i) has been ruled illegal by the highest court in the land, (ii) encourages people smugglers to continue plying their deadly trade, (iii) has ostracised her Green allies, (iv) has blown the Government's budget forecasts out of the water, (v) was last month rejected in the lower house of the parliament of Australia, (vi) is opposed by the near-future Prime Minister of Malaysia and (vii) does not come close to addressing the increasing record numbers of arrivals.

At what point will the ALP admit to itself it has in this Prime Minister, 'another boat, another leadership failure'?

Source - http://pickeringpost.com