Home Culture Rudd’s blatant revisionism on boat policy

Rudd’s blatant revisionism on boat policy

Image: Courtesy of the ABC

ABC’s Fran Kelly couldn’t believe the hide of former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s shameless twisting of history. “Isn’t this just historical revisionism?” the ABC RN Breakfast host wondered.

You could say that. On Twitter, @MrKRudd had written that “The PNG deal was for 1 year only. Refugees should have been resettled in Oz by Abbott or Turnbull 3 years ago”.

Repeatedly insulting Fran Kelly’s intelligence, not to mention the intelligence of the wider Australian population, Rudd insisted that the fact that he’d only managed to broker a deal with PNG for one year was proof he’d always intended the boat arrivals to be brought here.

Sadly for Rudd’s confabulation – a very Ruddesque word for a bare faced lie – the internet quickly reveals a dozen times at least where he or his government insisted that people who come by boat following the agreement have “no prospect” of being resettled in Australia, will “not be” settled in Australia, “won’t” be settled in Australia, will “never permanently live in Australia”, and so on.

So what part of “never” didn’t they mean? Is Labor just playing the Australian people for mugs?

Back in 2007, Rudd’s strategy was to look like “Liberal-lite”. During the election campaign he waged against then prime minister John Howard, he said:

“You cannot have anything that is orderly if you allow people who do not have a lawful visa in this country to roam free,” he said. “That’s why you need a detention system. I know that’s politically contentious, but one follows from the other.

“Deterrence is effective through the detention system but also your preparedness to take appropriate action as the vessels approach Australian waters on the high seas.”

Rudd thinks he’ll get away with it because of existing tensions in the ALP. So we’ve got to ask, how does the Labor party think about the asylum seeker policy they once reversed, with the consequence that there are once again asylum seekers in detention? And more importantly, will it still be their policy after the election? Here are a few recent reasons we should doubt they’re being straight with voters.

8 November 2016 – Labor MPs unanimously vote to oppose legislation for lifetime ban for refugees

28 April 2016 – Labor MPs split over asylum seeker policy, with MP Melissa Parke referring to the policy that had saved hundreds from dying at sea as “a sick game”.

11 March 2016 – Labor MP Cathy O’Toole holds a sign saying “LET THEM STAY” at a protest against the government’s asylum seeker policy. The picture is quickly aired in the media, once again poking holes in the ALP’s claim that it won’t tolerate people smuggling.

Kathy O’Toole

June 2016Shorten vows to end temporary protection visas if elected.

And that’s just since the last election campaign. The people smugglers are praying for a Labor government. If that happens, we can expect the deaths at sea to start again.

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