In the closest we get to hitting the street for voxpops, occasionally Crikey does a sweep of talkback transcripts to take the nation’s pulse on hot button issues. Today — Gillard’s border protection policy: hot or not?

A snippet from Malcolm of Nareen caught our attention. That’d be former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, calling in to ABC Melbourne 774 to offer qualified support to Prime Minister Gillard in her efforts to establish a “genuine regional centre, properly supervised, properly managed… We’ve got the beginnings of a regional approach that might well work.”

Then on Line 2, up popped Former Defence Minister Peter Reith, calling in to be on the radio for the first time in “many, many, years”:

“I suppose the reason I’m even on the phone today is that … for years the Labor party belted people like me around the head with what we did with the … Pacific Solution and now we find they were just playing a game … they actually think it’s the way to go…”

“We took a hell of a lot of political pain over that [the Pacific Solution] and yesterday we saw one of the most extreme cases of vindication I’ve seen in Australian politics for a long time … it is quite an incredible development you have to say… It is a pretty amazing set of circumstances…”

But we’ll let the last word go to ordinary old talkback caller Paul, who called in to ABC Karratha Drive last night:

“We should lock Gillard and Abbott both in a room and wait for them to come out with a bipartisan solution.”

Paul for PM.

Peter Fray

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