Scep­ti­cism at Shorten shift on boat pol­icy

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

LA­BOR leader Bill Shorten had lit­tle op­tion but to adopt the Coali­tion’s boat turn- back pol­icy. Like it or not, the pol­icy has worked. When La­bor was turfed out of of­fice in 2013, there were 20,587 boat ar­rivals, up from 17,202 the pre­vi­ous year.

This year there has been none. These are the cold, hard fig­ures that can­not be fudged.

Op­po­nents of the Coali­tion’s turn­back pol­icy ar­gue it is in­hu­mane, and a con­tra­ven­tion of Aus­tralia’s hu­man rights obli­ga­tions.

It is a po­si­tion that con­ve­niently ig­nores the fact that many hun­dreds of asy­lum seek­ers died at sea un­der La­bor be­cause of poli­cies which ef­fec­tively en­cour­aged them to at­tempt the treach­er­ous voy­age.

Head­ing to a pos­si­ble early elec­tion, vot­ers would sim­ply not cop a softly, softly ap­proach from La­bor on asy­lum seek­ers. And as the old adage goes, if you can­not beat them, join them.

Mr Shorten sim­ply could not go to the next elec­tion op­pos­ing a pol­icy that has not only worked, but is over­whelm­ingly ac­cepted in this coun­try.

Bet­ter to defuse the is­sue now, well be­fore an elec­tion is called.

Nev­er­the­less, the elec­torate has ev­ery right to ques­tion whether Mr Shorten’s con­ver­sion to boat turn­backs is gen­uine.

As Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott said: “My prob­lem is not the 11th- hour change of po­si­tion, my prob­lem is do they re­ally be­lieve it.” Killer Bruce strikes again THE North is again reel­ing from deadly road crashes on the Bruce High­way.

In less than two hours, four peo­ple died in two sep­a­rate ac­ci­dents about 100km apart. It is proof, if any more was needed, that the stretch of high­way be­tween Mackay and Townsville is a killer.

While the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment should be ap­plauded for its spend­ing on the Bruce in re­cent years, there is still much more to do.

Com­pared to key na­tional routes in south­ern states, the Bruce is an un­sat­is­fac­tory goat track.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.