By Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia
Promises, promises. Before the last election, Kevin Rudd said he had a plan to stop boats of “asylum seekers” from getting here. “You’d turn ‘em back.”
Oooh, tough talk. So how many of last year’s 61 boats – or the 24 that have reached us this year already – has the Prime Minister turned around? Um, not one, actually. Yes, he did once ship a few boat people to Indonesia on our Oceanic Viking, but even then he soon took them back.
Result? The boats this year are now arriving at a rate faster than anything we’ve seen in decades.
You see, in July 2008, election safely won, Rudd changed his tone. No more Mr Tough Guy, he decided. He’d instead undo the strict laws the Howard government had set in place to stem the flood of boat people – laws that had cut the number of boats to just 18 in all the previous six years. My red dot on the Department of Immigration graph above marks the day that the Rudd Government announced it was going soft.
Rudd had already scrapped the temporary protection visas, which allowed us to send back boat people once their countries were again safe. He’d also abolished the “Pacific Solution”, under which boat people were sent to Nauru and Manus Island with no guarantee they’d be let into Australia.
And on July 29, 2008 – that red dot day – he told the world the era of wicked John Howard was truly over. There would now be no more automatic detention of boat people. Children and adults cleared of security risk would be set free while the Government worked out if they really were refugees. And rather than make boat people prove they were no threat, the Government would have to prove they actually were to keep them in detention.
Look at the Government’s own graph. In indisputable numbers it tells yet another insulation-style story of fine talk resulting in disaster.