(Excerpted from my article Prime Minister “One-term” Tony sets a blistering pace 2013-12-01)
Immigration: straight out of his corner after the first gong, Immigration Minister Scott Free revealed his plans for refusing to reveal anything.
“We said we would turn back the REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS, and now I ask you, do you hear about any REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS anymore? No!”.
He added “Now it’s operational, this policy is called ‘REDACTEDs? What REDACTEDs?’ ”.
The Australian press agreed. “We’re getting away with this – Scott Free” read one News Limited headline.
When asked about using human lives as political footballs in a game of high seas brinksmanship with Indonesia, Scott Free retorted “REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS”. He added “You don’t read about any of this in the Australian press! It’s not called News Limited for nothing”.
Scott Free then reinforced the government’s compassionate credentials by cancelling the bridging visas of all current REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS. “We’ve done this for compassionate reasons, and also because we REDACTED well can”, he said. When asked about United Nations’ condemnation of Australia’s position, Scott Free replied tersely “REDACTED off!”.
When further questioned about the government’s policy of consistently calling refugees “illegal” Scott Free explained “No, it’s not illegal to flee a violent repressive regime like REDACTED Lanka, and it’s not illegal to pay your life savings and risk your and your family’s lives to board a dangerous leaky REDACTED to seek refuge in another state. It’s illegal to do that and enter Australia without filling in one of those little beige cards they give you on the plane and forgetting to complete both sides. In some cases water stains or blood have made them illegible. That’s why they’re illegal”.
He added “We know Qantas is in trouble, so forcing all REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS to fly to Australia instead solves two problems at once. We can’t turn back the planes, that would be tantamount to murder”.