thought for years that Petro Georgiou is the coolest member of the
House of Representatives. Not only is he a brilliant, ruthless campaign
strategist, he’s the man who had the vision to push for the
establishment of SBS during his days on Malcolm Fraser’s staff. That’s
over recent years he’s shown he has guts, especially over the issue of
refugees. He’s taken a brave and principled stance with the private
member’s bills on refugees he announced
yesterday – particularly with the perpetual rumours of high-profile
stalkers like Andrew Bolt being lined up for his electorate of Kooyong.
Georgiou won pre-selection for Menzies’ old seat, he was asked how Ming
would have reacted. Some people might think Menzies was turning in his
grave, he replied, but that he thought the old bloke was saying “Yo!”
reckon Ming is saying “Yo!” today, too. Remember his “forgotten people”
speeches? “I do not believe that the real life of this nation is to be
found either in great luxury hotels and the petty gossip of so called
fashionable suburbs, or in the officialdom of organised masses. It is
to be found in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised,
and who, whatever their individual religious conviction or dogma, see
in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of
their race.” That sounds like the refugees, the asylum seekers, the
would-be and want-to-be Australians I have met.
So, three cheers
for Petro, three cheers for Judi Moylan and the same for Bruce Baird,
Russell Broadbent and Marise Payne. Three cheers – and a question. If
anything actually happens, if detainees are released, what will happen
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Detention is just one issue. Detainees are another. So
is where these people will end up? They may not be eligible to work in
Australia or for social security, depending on how they filled out
their initial applications – and how well they understood what they
were filling out.
What’s the answer to this issue? It’s not a battle for another day. It’s all part of the detention debate.
As for Labor’s official non-response, what did we say yesterday? “It’s
hard to make Labor’s immigration spokesperson Laurie Ferguson look even
sillier than he is already.” Labor’s “no stance” stance on the mooted
private members bill makes Ferguson both risible and contemptible. Same
with his leader, Kim Beazley. Or should there be inverted commas around
that “leader” bit?