With the 260 Tamil refugees refusing to leave their boat in Western Java and threatening to set fire to it, the asylum-seeker issue is the only game in town.

Every day that Kevin Rudd delays taking a clear stand on the issue -- one that talks back to the fear-mongering in the spirit of a common humanity, while affirming a country's right to manage the process -- is a day that gives the Liberals a reprieve, with or without Malcolm Turnbull.