Crikey Says

Jan 9, 2014

Crikey says: give them enough rope …

Tony Abbott the journalist: a revealing look back through the archives. What does Cory Bernardi think of his colleagues from "non-traditional" families? How we're leaving Pacific Islands to sink. The Sydney jihadists who took on the Syrian regime. Inside the Brussels negotiations over plain packaging. And the art world in crisis? Boom overseas but bust for us.

What's the difference between a turn-back and a tow-back? A piece of rope, it would seem, which is slowly strangling the government's promises on asylum seeker policy and cutting further into the diplomatic wound with Indonesia. Remember, Prime Minister Tony Abbott created the definition in October last year:
"Can I just scotch this idea that the Coalition's policy is or ever has been tow-backs. Our policy, which we've repeated 'till we're blue in the face, is that we reserve the right to turn boats around where it's safe to do so. There's a world of difference between turning boats around in Australian waters and the Australian Navy towing them back to Indonesia. There's just a world of difference."
But that's not happening, at least in one case reported overnight where an asylum seeker insists the boat he was on was intercepted north of Darwin and firmly tethered to a navy vessel while it was towed back to Indonesian waters and let loose. Which sure sounds like a tow-back to us. What the Abbott government is ordering our military to do -- and telling us very little about -- is not in the spirit of its policy, it's putting the lives of asylum seekers at further risk and it's angering an ally that keeps hearing one thing but seeing another. The furious determination to stop the boats is producing haphazard policy with serious diplomatic consequences. That bit of rope is hanging the government on this issue.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “Crikey says: give them enough rope …

  1. klewso

    We were warned – what was it Abbott said way back at the end of the last century, about “not being able to trust politicians”?

    Is this any more than just another example of Abbott’s worm-tongued “What I really said was …… – Transubstantiation”?

  2. AR

    Let’s hope the rope is long enough to hang this government of mendacious mediocrities & meretricious ideolgues.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details