STOP­PING SHORTEN

The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

BILL Shorten, in his haste to in­flict an his­toric em­bar­rass­ment on the weak­ened Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment, opened the door just ever so slightly to an is­sue that could still cost him the elec­tion.

No one should be hap­pier to see the end of the Fed­eral par­lia­men­tary year than the coali­tion, whose in­ter­nal dys­func­tion seems to be mag­ni­fied ev­ery time they get to­gether in Can­berra.

There was much sound and fury on the fi­nal sit­ting day on Thurs­day, with cross­benchers ag­i­tat­ing to pass a Bill that would out­source Aus­tralia’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy to doc­tors.

Those pow­ers should prop­erly re­side with the Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter, but with the Gov­ern­ment now in mi­nor­ity af­ter the loss of Went­worth and Ju­lia Banks’ de­fec­tion, La­bor couldn’t help but twist the knife.

No gov­ern­ment has lost a vote on leg­is­la­tion in the House since 1929, but La­bor was a real chance to in­flict one here. The only prob­lem is it was too po­lit­i­cally clever by half.

No one wants to un­nec­es­sar­ily in­flict suf­fer­ing on asy­lum seek­ers, but by sid­ing with the cross­benchers, Shorten sig­nalled that he be­lieved doc­tors, not the min­is­ter, should be the ar­biter of who comes to Aus­tralia.

Like a cor­nered an­i­mal, Mor­ri­son — whose sig­na­ture achieve­ment is that he stopped the boats — turned on Shorten, re­mind­ing ev­ery­one why there are kids on Nauru in the first place.

Namely, La­bor’s ap­palling mis­man­age­ment of the is­sue the last time it was in power.

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