The watery grave that Labor dug

by on 15 June, 2013

New MH2

Writers of political weeklies can’t possibly be topical given the rapid change in Labor’s pandemonium as the noose of electoral execution tightens by the day, if not hour.

Political chess moves of Rudd, Shorten and Tony Sheldon seem unlikely to cause any stay of the hangman’s scaffold. A two-party-preferred result according to surveys, have remained rather stable for more than a year. Any re-arrangement of deck chairs might save a handful of seats but won’t affect the outcome. To put it nicely—Labor is stuffed—in a manner unprecedented.

For the past 18 months voter concern about the nation’s porous borders has been marching toward top billing. And now, with the latest drowning of more than 50 off Western Australia’s coast, any hope and all spin Labor might use to camouflage reality perished with that craft and those poor souls on it.

Voter angst is mounting as more than 43,000 illegal immigrants have arrived by boat since the Rudd government terminated John Howard’s Pacific Solution in 2007 while Tony Abbott chirps louder about “turning back the boats” giving hope to all who find Labor’s own cost estimates of $203,704 per opportunist an unwanted burden and potential social disaster to be halted.

Meanwhile, the deluded Gillard says “the government’s border protection policies are working,” and that co-operation with Indonesia has successfully disrupted “many” people-smuggling ventures. What crap!
Eager for any opportunity to huff and puff before a camera is NSW state wrecker, now bungling foreign minister, Bob Carr. Bob’s cerebral wisdom reckoned Tony Abbott’s plan to turn back asylum seeker boats will trigger an “immediate foreign policy crisis” with Indonesia.

Carr, the old spin-doctor used a variety of descriptors with different media. “This is sheer recklessness.” And, “To talk about turning back the boats in his first days as prime minister would be to engineer a crisis in our relations with our most important neighbour.” Would also lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe on a vast scale,” and “Tony Abbott’s playing with fire,” Bob told Sky News.

However, Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema has ruled out any collaboration with Abbott to return people to Indonesia because it wasn’t their country of origin. Balderdash! Boats under Indonesian flag, crewed by Indonesians, port of origin Indonesia and provisioned in Indonesia says differently. The Ambassador is an idiot to assert such nonsense. Besides, it’s unlikely he would be privy to arrangements, if any, made between Abbott and the Indonesian government if there is a Coalition win in September.

Despite my low-budget opinion of Bob Carr, I must agree when he said that believing Tony Abbott will turn the boats around is to believe in fairies.

In April 2009 an Australian Navy ship HMAS Albany took in tow the smuggler boat SIEV 36 near Ashmore Reef. As HMAS Childers was boarding SIEV 36 one of the smuggler’s crew gave a cheesy grin, a salute and then touched off an explosion killing 5 and wounding 40. Blown into the water narrowly escaping death were our Navy personnel. President Bambang’s ruse for strengthened search and rescue co-operation proved a farce and the scuttling of craft is now textbook practice for smugglers.

A new wave of people smugglers has outwitted Australia’s government witless. First signal to smugglers was from the Royal Australian Navy in July 2012 when a senior officer said if there is even the slightest risk of danger to navy sailors or asylum seekers the navy skippers would disobey orders to invoke the “turn around or tow back” policy. “No navy officer would allow anyone, be they people smuggler, illegal fisherman or even terrorist, to perish at sea,” another officer said. The smugglers’ prayer mats got a fervent workout that day.

Moreover, Maritime Law says ships’ masters and crew have a legal and moral obligation to help distressed seafarers. International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea: “A master of a ship at sea, which is in a position to be able to provide assistance on receiving a signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance.”  Maritime Law is a people smugglers’ licence to print money.

Only a fool would believe a smuggler and his bilge load of illegal interlopers would allow the RAN to hook-up a tow cable and drag the lot back to Indonesia. If Abbott’s plan becomes government policy the following standing orders for all smugglers will be:

By radio or mobile phone send SOS, report position and sabotage engine. Make a cup of tea. Upon sight of RAN taxi service to Australia, open seacocks in engine room. In case of no seacocks, cut engine cooling water input or chop a hole in the hull with an axe. If anticipating difficulties with authorities, pour petrol into Bilge. All on board with life vests, and those without, will then jump into the water while one remaining crew flicks a match down the hatch.

The craft will explode, seriously burning the crewman. (Note to skippers) This is desirable as no further dialogue will occur as the situation becomes a “life saving” exercise as the navy adheres to Maritime Law convention no matter what Tony Abbott says.

Over to you Tony.

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