Is Tuckey just Turnbull’s dog whistle on boat people?
If Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t sit Wilson Tuckey down on his comments about terrorists aboard asylum seeker boats he’s effectively endorsing the increasingly maverick MP’s comments.
In a door stop just now the Opposition Leader opted out of criticisng the Member for O’Connor’s assertion this morning that people coming here on boats could actually be terrorists.
``If you wanted to get into Australia and you have bad intentions, what do you do?’’ Mr Tuckey asked reporters in Canberra. “You insert yourself in a crowd of 100 for which there is great sympathy for the other 99. You go on a system where nobody brings their papers, you have no identity, you have no address.’‘
Mr Turnbull’s response: “Well he’s not the Prime Minister of Australia.”
Mr Tuckey has since issued a “clarifying statement” saying he didn’t mean they were terrorists, just that it would be possible. But it’s not enough to put the lid back on the can of worms.
Kevin Rudd, who’s been indulging in his own tough talk on the issue, called for Mr Turnbull to press for Mr Tuckey to be disendorsed for the next election.
“These remarks by Mr Tuckey are of an entirely different order and it’s time Mr Turnbull showed some leadership, some character, some backbone and withdrew publicly and formally his support for Mr Tuckey’s preselection as a Liberal candidate for the next election,” Mr Rudd said.
And the issue has already been raised in Question Time, which got underway about 15 minutes ago.
At lunch time on Punch TV Liberal front bencher Tony Abbott waved off Mr Tuckey’s comments as just one of the “colourful things” said by members of parliament on both sides.
But these comments are not just colourful, they look like carefully calibrated scare-mongering, designed to win the race to the bottom on this issue.
Unless Mr Turnbull toughens up his stance against them, he risks looking like Mr Tuckey’s not so maverick after all.
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