Nothing to say

Thursday, 16 December 2010 

Why shouldn’t the death of tens of asylum seekers in a boating accident be a political issue? After all, if politics is supposed to be a debate about the solutions to social problems, surely the deaths from this tragedy should make a debate on what to do about it more urgent, not less.

In reality, of course, the debate over asylum seekers hasn’t been about them at all, but about the major parties. For Labor, it’s been the way it has understood (especially in NSW) its detachment from its own base, the insecurities of which came out at Rudd’s dumping. For the Coalition, it’s been how they have reconciled their own internal problem of maintaining a redundant right wing agenda, but still being electorally viable. That became a whole lot easier after Labor legitimised the debate and prevented the sort of problems Colin Barnett ran into during the last boat tragedy off Ashmore Reef when he suggested that the fire on the boat was caused by the asylum seekers (which turned out be true apparently).

That neither of the major parties have anything to say is implicit in Gillard’s call for a bipartisan committee to look into the issue. But having legitimised the debate since Ashmore, and given a solution to the Liberals, they certainly aren’t going to give it up now.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Thursday, 16 December 2010.

Filed under Tactics

Tags: , ,


7 responses to “Nothing to say”

  1. Tweets that mention Nothing to say :The Piping Shrike -- on 16th December 2010 8:15 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Jackmanson and Dr_Tad, The Piping Shrike. The Piping Shrike said: Why shouldn't the boat tragedy be a political issue? […]

  2. john willo on 16th December 2010 8:41 pm

    neither party can spin when the details are plain to see
    although I’m sure the opposition would love to point out
    that they made the boat unseaworthy by smashing it into
    Christmas Island and then threw themselves overboard…

  3. kymbos on 17th December 2010 9:03 am

    The best insight into Labor’s failures on asylum seekers has been the Wikileaks cables. Even the Americans knew Labor had taken the wrong path.

  4. Riccardo on 17th December 2010 11:17 am

    They’re hiding behind “don’t speak ill of the dead – at least until they’re cold”

    Both sides are confecting myths. ALP and Greens that there isn’t a significant level of ‘opportunism’ rather than moral grounds for wanting to migrate.

    The Libs that somehow the boats actually matter numerically, or that there is any link to people’s daily gripes about crowded roads or crime.

    Or that Howards’ “Solution” of $400million for a couple of people on Nauru was money well spent.

    The real issue is not that a few thousand Middle Eastern or sub-continental people want to migrate and will risk their lives to do it; but that are the rest of the migration pool any more morally worthy than they are? Why is a Chinese small business man or an Irish nurse any more morally deserving?

    We talk about ‘skill shortages’ as if we aren’t turning out hundreds of thousands of kids from schools and universities each year, and somehow not giving them the exact skills that they require.

  5. The Piping Shrike on 17th December 2010 8:00 pm

    I think the other myth is that either side can do anything about it.

  6. Riccardo on 18th December 2010 9:28 am

    TPS, have you noticed with Bill Ludwig, head of a union, saying the ALP govt should stop listening the unions, the NSW bloke saying the unions should stop voting ALP, and Howes spending time on politics without even a seat – that the ‘class’ of professional politicians on that side don’t even worry about the formality any more of having a representative position from which to speak – office bearers not even worrying about the office?

    Even Hawke in his day had to resign from the ACTU, contest a back bench seat and had a quiet year or so with little real status.

    Doesn’t look like they even worry about that now – you no longer need to represent you union as its head, nor represent your party as its head, or even have a seat in parliament to vote in it.

  7. The Piping Shrike on 20th December 2010 9:16 am

    I think one way of viewing it is that internal party hacks have now become less interested in internal party manoeuvres since Rudd and are now going on the telly – where the real action is. Faceless men in your face, so to speak.

Comments are closed.