Crikey subscriber Willy Bach has just had this entertaining exchange with axed Labor Immigration spokesman Laurie Ferguson, which started with the following congratulatory email to the Labor leader:

Dear Kim Beazley

I am pleased to see that you finally removed Laurie Ferguson from a role for which he was ill-suited. I fear that the mistake of appointing him has probably lost you some valuable time in building an effective alternative to the present government. I feel that it is not good for democracy when an opposition is not effective. I would not include Kevin Rudd in these comments. He has been doing his best while the rest of the team got their act together. I hope it will improve.

Regards, Willy Bach

Here is Laurie’s first petulant reply:

Thank you for your profound analysis. I refer you to the Newspoll of this week – Labor in front of the government on immigration for the first time in four years.

Yours sincerely
Laurie Ferguson MP
Federal Member for Reid
Shadow Minister for Immigration

Which was followed by this:

Thank you for your email. As you are aware I have been switched from the portfolio. It was certainly rewarding to continue work with the reasonable, informed wing of the asylum movement – Amnesty International, the Refugee Council, STARTTS, Hotham Mission etc. Equally, the period continued my lifelong work on international human rights.

However, I have a degree of relief in escaping that wing of the movement who had been rejected from other cults such as the Moonies, La Rouchites, Scientologists etc. They are a group which even Groucho Marx would have joined.

In the past week, I have received a stream of supportive, unorganised correspondence. They range through a leading refugee lawyer/advocate, a Palestinian intellectual who has been fighting for his offshore claimant uncle and many NESB groups. Their support is far more persuasive than your comfort zone rhetoric.

Yours sincerely
Laurie Ferguson MP
Federal Member for Reid
Shadow Minister for Immigration

CRIKEY: Never a backward step for Laurie, it would seem. Is he seriously claiming his handling of immigration has boosted Labor’s stocks? Labelling critics as cultists is also pretty pathetic. Sure, the refugee lobby is pretty feral, but the policy is arguably the toughest in the democratic world. What is it about Labor politicians from NSW and their preference for spraying critics rather than admitting errors?

Meanwhile, The Australian reports today that Laurie is enjoying a redundant junket to Europe to investigate immigration matters even though he is no longer the shadow minister.

Peter Fray

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