Weekend media reports – see Michelle Grattan yesterday or the Weekend Australian – have mired Amanda Vanstone’s office itself in immigration stuff-ups.

Everyone seems to have given up on the Department. An email from a friend of a friend says plenty:

“Tell Christian the whole of the bloody Immigration
Department should go. I used to work there. It was horrid even then.
95% of them were regulators of the worst kind who got their kicks by
doing things like going to an Indian restaurant for lunch, boozing up,
then while one pays the bill the other five go into the kitchen and
make wholesale arrests.”

There may be some poetic licence there, but it’s been interesting to
hear scuttlebutt on the diplomatic circuit over the past few days on
DIMIA’s secretary, Bill Farmer.
Farmer is a former diplomat and served as ambassador to Mexico, the
Central American republics and Cuba from 1987 to 1989. Diplomat in
name, but maybe not in nature.

On the Labor side, the shadow
ministry is “expected to approve a submission today from the
immigration spokesman, Laurie Ferguson, to allow him to begin formal
talks with a Liberal MP, Petro Georgiou, towards a unified position for
change in the hard-line detention policy,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports today.

Labor MPs seems to be moving faster than others. A Crikey subscriber
emailed Kim Beazley’s office on Thursday morning after media reports
that Labor would not allow a conscience vote on the Georgiou bills, and
CC-ed Kevin Rudd and their own MP, Anthony Albanese. Albo, to his
credit, had an email back in just over 30 minutes – and had hit the
blower to contact our subscriber.