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.