Ed­i­to­rial, Let­ters and Ge­off Pryor’s cartoon.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents | The Week -

We know, now, a lit­tle more of what the elec­tion will look like. We know that it will be des­per­ate. We know the Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment will do any­thing to win, ex­cept de­velop poli­cies that ad­dress the con­cerns of the elec­torate.

The sto­ries are al­ready be­ing placed. In The Daily Tele­graph is spu­ri­ous le­gal ad­vice that says La­bor’s “soft­ened bor­der pol­icy” would in­vite crim­i­nals into Aus­tralia. The head­line reads: “For­eign crims’ free pass.”

This is not new. It was the premise of Howard’s Tampa elec­tion. The dif­fer­ence is how naked it has be­come. No longer are there sly hints, warn­ings of “who comes”. In Scott Mor­ri­son’s Aus­tralia, asy­lum seek­ers re­quir­ing med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion are preda­tors and killers.

“Asy­lum seek­ers con­victed of mur­der or rape could be al­lowed en­try to Aus­tralia un­der Bill Shorten’s soft­ened bor­der pro­tec­tion pol­icy,” the story reads.

“The Satur­day Tele­graph can re­veal new le­gal ad­vice re­ceived yes­ter­day by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment shows the bor­der changes pushed by Mr Shorten would not take into ac­count an asy­lum seeker’s char­ac­ter when trans­fers to Aus­tralia were signed off.”

The im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter, David Cole­man, was on hand for a quote: “Un­der La­bor’s law, a per­son who has been con­victed of se­ri­ous of­fences would have to come to Aus­tralia and there is noth­ing the min­is­ter could do to stop it. For the al­ter­na­tive prime min­is­ter to sup­port this is stag­ger­ing.”

And then again on Mon­day, again in The Daily Tele­graph: “The Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment is dou­bling down on its as­ser­tion Bill Shorten’s bor­der pro­tec­tion pol­icy will al­low se­ri­ous crim­i­nals en­try to Aus­tralia.”

And from Cole­man: “Un­der these laws, the boats will restart, and the gov­ern­ment will have no dis­cre­tion to pro­tect the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity.”

Peter Dut­ton says the pol­icy “ab­so­lutely oblit­er­ates Op­er­a­tion Sovereign Bor­ders”. He said a pol­icy that re­lied on boat turn­backs was “a com­plete joke”.

He got the head­line for which he was hop­ing: “Peter Dut­ton says La­bor try­ing to un­der­mine bor­der pro­tec­tion pol­icy.”

It is not Bill Shorten that is “oblit­er­at­ing” Dut­ton’s sys­tem, how­ever. It is med­i­cal opin­ion.

The pol­icy be­hind these head­lines re­quires that two doc­tors agree be­fore an asy­lum seeker is brought to Aus­tralia for treat­ment. To sug­gest this un­der­mines off­shore de­ten­tion is to con­fess that the sys­tem can­not func­tion with­out ig­nor­ing med­i­cal ad­vice.

Mor­ri­son hopes this will be a val­ues elec­tion.

He is promis­ing cu­ri­ous in­ter­ven­tions on be­half of the re­li­gious, among oth­ers. But his real val­ues are here: his will­ing­ness to mis­lead, to ex­ploit, to stoke fears and cul­ti­vate dishar­mony.

We know, now, a lit­tle more of what the elec­tion will look like. In its op­por­tunism, its barefaced­ness, it will likely be the ugli­est this coun­try has seen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.