“Deputy
Liberal leader Peter Costello wants to make it harder for
asylum-seekers to appeal as part of a reform push to reduce the number
of people held in long-term detention,” reports Sam Maiden in The Australian today.


Despite insisting yesterday that he believed the Government
should take ‘every step’ to release children from detention where
possible, Mr Costello said the policy of mandatory detention for
identity and security checks should not be altered. He warned that a
plan by rebel MPs to overhaul mandatory detention would simply lead to
long court delays…

Asked if the Government should shorten and reduce the levels of legal appeal, Mr Costello replied: “Absolutely.”

“You
can go to the Migration Tribunal, the Refugee Review Tribunal, out of
that you can appeal to the Federal Court, out of that the Full Federal
Court, out of that to the High Court. And then people say, ‘Oh, well
how come it’s taken three years?'”

“Previous reforms to limit appeals mechanisms have failed in the Senate, but the Coalition will gain control of it from 1 July…”

Refugee advocates beware. That’s the direction the government wants to
take to reduce the number of people in detention. What does this all
mean for the kinder, gentler Peter Costello that so many moderates have
flocked to? Er… That these naives should have realised that just
because someone isn’t John Howard doesn’t mean that they have any
softer views on certain issues.

Journos
and interest groups have been wondering where the treasurer was on the
detention debate. Obviously, he couldn’t risk a split with the PM – but
he has still disappointed many. All the wannabe PM has shown is that he
cannot master the political nuances and find some form of words that
would have let him show a little leadership and make some gesture on an
issue of principle over political expediency.

Just what Costello bandwagon is there to climb on?