The political theatre on refugees Howard has been staging since 2001 with the active participation of the Indonesian Government is now looking like low budget vaudeville. As this blog has highlighted over and over again, shaping immigration and foreign policy on the run to satisfy the shifting landscape of domestic wedge politics is stupid. It does not address the long term strategic security interests of this country.
Grubby political manipulation of an insecure electorate's fear of 'queue jumping' 'asians','muslims' or 'Papuans', and associated trade-offs with neighbouring countries, amount to a betrayal of Australian values and our once proud stance in defence of human rights.
Governments that lack the capacity to provide ethical leadership typically resort to propaganda tools to shore up support for their short term vision. Thus you get disinformation campaigns on 'boat people', terrorism and IR laws. The other strategy is an appeal to a tawdry view of patriotism - anyone who disagrees with the political orthodoxy being peddled is either mad or un-Australian. Oh dear, we have seen it all before and its not pretty!
Andrew Joyner in The Age