The "shipping news", Immigration Minister Scott Morrison called it yesterday, in seeking to dismiss transparency about the arrival of boats carrying asylum seekers. Having quickly worked out, as news organisations and social media switched to directly sourcing information from people on Christmas Island, that his attempt to blockade all information about arriving boats would fail, Morrison had reluctantly decided a weekly "briefing" on his "Operation Sovereign Borders" confection would be necessary.

How real-time transparency about boat arrivals, as practised by Labor, somehow gave people smugglers an advantage that weekly briefings did not, he struggled to explain. When pressed on whose idea weekly briefings were, and other matters around transparency, Angus Campbell, the be-uniformed marionette cast as the lead performer in the Coalition's refugees-as-military-problem drama, similarly struggled. His mouth opened, incoherent verbiage poured out, his mouth closed. They could at least have given their leading man some media training.