The problem Abbott faces is that there are real barriers to implementing his program but behind him is a party of which some sections are determined to make sure he does.
“We will decide” was a phoney bit of Australian unilateralism made possible at a time of that phoney bit of US unilateralism, the War on Terror.
The Great Destabiliser has moved up a notch.
The lack of a convincing reason on the source of Rudd’s popularity, is not because political commentators are thick, but because the answer is uncomfortable.
The problem that both parties now face is that having raised the asylum seeker “problem” for internal party reasons, the external conditions for solving it are no more favourable than they were in 2007-2008.
The over-turning of the orthodoxies of the Howard period during 2008-2009 has been forgotten as much as the reason for the popularity for the man who brought them about.
Who would better know how to expose a failed a policy than those who proposed it?
Making an enemy of a party on which your supporters agree on practically every issue is at best an empty gesture and at worst will make the Greens the anti-establishment party they clearly crave but don’t deserve.
The Oakeshott Bill removed even further protections for asylum seekers in what is already one of the most anti-immigrant pieces of legislation in the developed world.
The government mistake in still thinking it’s all about policy on asylum seekers, rather than its own authority, is why it cocked up so badly on Thursday.