|Why did you sink the boat, Daddy?|
The 'children overboard' Senate inquiry dribbled away to nothing today as
the opposition finally realized the issue was dead in the water.
Apart from demonstrating that the Australian Defense Force
information dissemination process is based on the Chinese-whisper model,
it didn't really embarrass the government. The fact that a huge government
bureaucracy is inefficient wasn't really news to a cynical electorate,
and did little to discredit a party ostensibly committed to small government.
It did however embarrass the opposition after it was shown that the asylum seekers had scuttled their boat - effectively throwing everyone in the water
(children and all). Then it was shown that a child was thrown into the water
here) - just not from that boat. Then there were the videos of unauthorized
arrivals screaming and shouting violently and threatening to throw a child
overboard. It did little to instill sympathy for the asylum-seekers or the
ALP. In the end the government's opponents just looked weak and ineffectual
against their relatively hard-line approach. The fact that Little Johnny's
explanation was less than water-tight was of little consequence to a dry-eyed
After weathering that, the ALP was faced with a choice of ending the whole
charade or sifting through the SIEV-X details.
Some may feel that Australia has responsibilities for the safety of
non-Australians in the search-and-rescue areas of other countries, but most
don't. Some may feel that we have an obligation to fly a chartered Qantas jet
to Kabul (or Quetta) as soon as an Afghan expresses an interest in emigrating
to Australia, but most do not. Some may think we need more plumbers, but
plumbers with 5 kids and bad backs who don't speak a word of English after
being here for two years? They'll put up with the dripping tap until the other
guy is available.
The ALP chose to let the issue drain quietly away.
Facing sinking polls, Simon (thinking-more-clearly-now) Crean has realized
that embarrassing the government is pointless if you embarrass yourself more in
the process. He's showing signs of acting like an alternative Prime Minister
instead of a rabid criticize-everything attack-dog. The thought of becoming
PM has whetted his appetite, and getting rid of those
rottweiler teeth has really buoyed his psyche!
Well done Simon. Now all you need is a policy.