Big policy win for Andrew Bolt. He’s a humble and modest fellow, that Andrew Bolt. There he was on the tele yesterday for the debut of his new political talk show. And there in all the Sunday newspapers was the story of the federal Labor government having accepted one of his recommendations. And not a word did our man Andrew say about this confirmation of his importance.

Let me explain. On March 17 last year when Kevin Rudd was still prime minister, Andrew Bolt  in his News Limited column stopped criticising the continued arrival of boatloads of asylum seekers at Christmas Island for a moment to actually propose a solution. He wrote:

So here’s a simple plan to fix everything – a plan first suggested to me by Family First Senator Steve Fielding to stop the boats dead without being at all cruel.
Let’s announce that from today we’ll send every boatload of “asylum seekers” we intercept to some refugee camp in Indonesia, Pakistan or whichever other country we can persuade to take them.

Yes, you’re right. Those countries won’t want our rejects, so let’s make them an offer they can’t refuse.

For every single boat person they take from us, we’ll take two genuine refugees from their camps.

What could be fairer? We’ll be twice as kind, we’ll send the boat people to safety and we’ll reward not those who’ve pushed in but the refugees who have waited the longest in line.
Two refugees for every boat person. Guaranteed to stop the flood like nothing Rudd has ever tried.

If the Prime Minister has a better idea, let him now explain it. But I haven’t heard one yet in the two years since he made his fake promise to “turn ‘em back”.

At the time I wrote in Crikey that If you really did “believe that queue jumping is the great evil when accepting boat people, the plan has a certain logic about it”. And so, it seems, Julia Gillard agrees. Her Malaysian swap plan comes straight out of the Boltian playbook with the exception of the swap ending up as five for one rather than two for one.

My fearless budget prediction. The forecasts on which all the figuring for tomorrow night’s budget is based on will turn out to be stunningly wrong.

The low tax country. I wonder when Australia will next see a treasurer giving a budget speech containing income tax increases. We are, after all, a low-tax country by comparison with most others.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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