Scepticism at Shorten shift on boat policy
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.