Peter Dutton foreign fighters isis
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (Image: AAP/Sam Mooy)

Stop the Stop the Boats

As usual, Senate estimates were a cavalcade of departmental representatives telling the parliament that they couldn’t recall important details, would have to take things on indefinite notice, and/or have destroyed all their notes on certain things embarrassing to the government.

And thus you might have missed the news that there was something of a blip in the figures for Border Force’s Cape Class patrols last year — information which Labor Senator Kristina Kenneally tabled in senate after receiving via a freedom of information request.

It turns out that around the same time that Peter Dutton was memorably talking about how people smugglers were “champing at the bit” for a Labor victory in May 2019 so they could presumably restart the boats, Home Affairs apparently figured that the patrols deserved to take a little hiatus.

Patrols took place as follows: 

  • February 2019: 102 patrol days
  • March 2019: 127 patrol days
  • April 2019: 14 patrol days
  • May 2019: 122 patrol days.

To paraphrase Sesame Street, one of those months is not like the others.

Now, we would never suggest that the government would deliberately stop patrols in the hopes of a convenient border-breaching arrival in the weeks before the election, obviously.

Clearly this is just a coincidence. You know, one of those coincidences which would have potentially made for some very dramatic election ads had those people smugglers been just a bit more goddamn proactive. 

Not angry, just disappointed. And also angry.

Last week — oh, what a time that was! — you might recall this column reported that there had been much consternation about how much work South Australia was going to get out of our contract for new submarines, which are absolutely necessary and definitely not a political football-slash-pork barrelling exercise.

When it became clear that Port Adelaide was getting 30% less work than had been previously intimated, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick moved a motion that all of the work be kept in SA.

And then Labor and the Coalition voted it down.

A small thing you might think, but it’s turned into a very big deal in SA. InDaily has reported that state Labor leader Peter Malinauskas is downright furious at his federal colleagues and is demanding an explanation as to why they ignored a pro-SA motion.

And yes, everyone knows the answer: because if the Labor senators had supported the motion then the WA Labor Party would be angrily demanding an explanation from their federal senate team as to why they were supporting work staying in another state instead of potentially moving to Henderson. 

But in any case, let’s just take this moment to appreciate the rare experience of Penny Wong absorbing disappointed head-shakes rather than dispensing them. 

There’s no stopping in the red zone…

While much of the economy is stuck somewhere between stagnant and alluvial, the Australian property market has maintained its frenzied gallop to utter unaffordability, whipped along by ever-shrinking interest rates.

Even so, you should be advised that a bunch of desirable coastal properties are probably going to be priced at the more competitive end of the Gold Coast market, with owners very motivated to sell.

Very, very motivated indeed. Before the next high tide, ideally.

According to Domain, residents in Currumbin Waters have discovered that they’re no longer able to get insurance from some providers for storm surges, while others have found their premiums jumping to the equivalent of a second-hand Corolla per year — a situation which has already struck some home owners in Surfers Paradise and other towns in Queensland and NSW, where certain streets are rather more ocean-adjacent than they once were.

Yes, while the Morrison government speaks in confident-yet-vague terms about resilience and adaptation, the insurance biz is just red-zoning the hell out of the east coast in the safe assumption that spirited backbench arguments about Bureau of Meteorology records won’t actually prevent increasingly frequent and severe flooding wreaking havoc on property.

Mind you, if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a beachfront property, and then a beach-filled one, then now is the time to nab some bargains!

Alternatively, you could just buy up in Murwillumbah and wait for the coast to come to you.