We are about to embark on the final parliamentary sitting week of the year, and it promises to be ugly. Speaker Anna Burke will earn her money.

It's SO good to see you

The complete collapse of the Government’s measures to discourage boats loaded with asylum seekers from reaching our shores has the Coalition even more fired up than usual.

Julia Gillard no longer seems to have any defence against the charge that Labor opened our borders to people smugglers when it dismantled the Howard government’s policies.

Debate on the issue, less than edifying throughout 2012, can be expected to hit a new level of animosity.

Even nastier - and certainly more personal - will be clashes over the union slush fund set up nearly 20 years ago by Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, AWU official Bruce Wilson.

Ms Gillard, a lawyer with the firm Slater and Gordon at the time, provided legal advice.

Although she denies doing anything wrong, and says she dumped Mr Wilson when evidence of the misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars started to emerge, the affair won’t go away.

The Opposition has signalled a full-scale parliamentary onslaught. The PM says it’s a vicious smear campaign. No quarter will be given.

Add to the mix a frustrated Opposition Leader. Tony Abbott never expected the government to survive this long in the hung Parliament.

Take into account, too, a Prime Minister totally convinced by the impact of her “sexism and misogyny” speech that steely aggression is the way to political success.

The consequence is that we are facing possibly the most poisonous week of a politically poisonous 12 months.

There is, however, a ray of hope for those voters - a big majority, I’d suggest - who are sick to death of the constant aggro and bitterness that characterises politics these days.

In a Parliament notorious for division we’re about to see a rare example of bipartisanship - one which involves both the Government and Opposition making compromises.

On Wednesday, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin will introduce an Act of Recognition - a symbolic piece of legislation acknowledging Aboriginal people.

It is intended as an interim step in the process of building support for a referendum recognising the history and culture of indigenous Australians in the Constitution and removing a section that says people of a particular race can be disqualified by state governments from voting.

As part of Ms Gillard’s agreement with the Greens and independents, the referendum was to be held before or with the 2013 federal election, but it has now been postponed.

The Government - with the backing of most indigenous leaders - decided there was not yet sufficient public support to guarantee it would be passed. Research showed only 31 per cent of non-indigenous Australians had heard about it.

When Macklin first proposed a symbolic parliamentary pledge as a way of maintaining momentum, the Opposition gave it the thumbs down - suggesting instead that Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott should each make a parliamentary statement in support of a referendum.

Not good enough, said the PM. She also rejected a proposal from Mr Abbott for a new parliamentary committee to look into constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians.

Business as usual, with the Government and Opposition at loggerheads. Or so it seemed.

What made this issue different is that, while Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott might be at odds over almost everything else, they are in furious agreement on the need for the referendum to get through.

So they compromised. Ms Gillard agreed to a parliamentary committee, Mr Abbott changed his mind on the Act of Recognition, and a small glimmer of bipartisanship is the result.

Speaking in Parliament on the referendum back in February, Mr Abbott said: “I devoutly hope we can bring this about. What we have to try to do is recreate the fervour and the sense of unity that was captured in the 1967 constitutional change.”

That was the referendum that removed from the Constitution a section preventing indigenous Australians from being counted in the census.

The referendum issue unexpectedly followed Ms Gillard on her visit to India in October. When she met a group of young Indian leaders, one - who had spent time in north western Queensland - asked a remarkably detailed question.

He referred to Gough Whitlam pouring sand through the hands of Vincent Lingiari to symbolise the return of land to the Gurindji people, Paul Keating’s Mabo legislation and famous Redfern speech, and Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generations.

“What legacy will you leave behind in the process of symbolic reconciliation if you fail to get re-elected in 2013?” he asked.

After asserting she did not expect to lose the election, Ms Gillard explained the need for caution because of the reluctance of Australians to change the Constitution.

“Nothing would be worse for the cause of reconciliation than seeing a referendum speaking about our indigenous peoples go to a vote and for that vote to be lost,” she said. That is Mr Abbott’s view, too.

The truth is that, unless there is a big lift in Labor’s vote in the next nine months, the referendum - if it passes - will be Mr Abbott’s legacy. The Act of Recognition, expected to be unanimously endorsed by Parliament early in the new year, will be Ms Gillard’s.

But it’s nice to see that, even in the current spiteful political climate, our leaders can occasionally agree on something worthwhile.

Laurie Oakes is political editor for the Nine Network.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST.

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130 comments

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    • acotrel says:

      05:30am | 24/11/12

      ‘Turn back the boats’again,  and another smear - that will be exciting !
      At least it will help us save on the cost of sleeping tablets.  Abbott should get the prize for creative thinking - (‘the system runs on bullshit’) !

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:47am | 24/11/12

      “Creative Thinking” my arse acotrel. He practically folded over his own original policy and is now grasping at straws trying to convince us he will do anything about it.

      It’s obvious that when Abbot gets in, asylum seekers will still be coming straight into the community.

    • Don says:

      09:17am | 24/11/12

      and your solution is?

    • PJ says:

      09:20am | 24/11/12

      Another failure from the Gillard Government. This is what Julia Gillard promised Australians she would deliver:


      “I am full of understanding of the perspective of the Australian people that they want strong management of our borders and I will provide it.”?—?Julia Gillard, June 24, 2010

      East Timor - failed.
      Malaysian Concentration Camps 1 - failed.
      Malaysian Concentration Camps 2 - failed.
      Nauru Centre left, an asset of the Australian people, left to rot
      Houston Committee - shameless responsibility hand off - failed.
      Implementation of the Half Baked Coalition Solution - failed.

      Meanwhile we see how terrorists have used the flawed Asylum process to gain entry into the UK. Read up on Qatada and Hamza.

      The Gillard Government has squandered billions on their failed enterprises.

      $1.7 Billion per year on 13,750 illegals
      $300 million per year spent fighting law suits from Illegals, where Australia has tried to reject those found undesireable.
      $2.1 Billion spent repairing Nauru, an Australian people’s asset left to rot.

      This is a grand failure indeed.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:55am | 24/11/12

      acotrel
      Your comment is spot on

    • Jane says:

      10:28am | 24/11/12

      Abbott will do one more step better,to the surprise of all, he will open Concentration Camp for refuges. Let see if Gillard can do better and introduce gas chambers. They gone mad,totally mad and what is worse they have the support of Australian people. Shame.This is the time when the nation lost its soul.

    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      11:22am | 24/11/12

      You people have no idea ... and that’s partially because Abbott refuses to blow his own trumpet on this issue. It is no coincidence that we now have Aboriginal politicians considering changing parties. 
       
      Ask Gillard what she does on *her* holidays - I bet she doesn’t work as an unpaid teachers’ aide in Qld Aboriginal schools…..

      I don’t even LIKE Aboott, but you can’t fault him on this one. He is in tune with what they need, rather than what the activists demand and he is not out to score political points. Probably a first for him, but there you go.

    • Ben says:

      11:33am | 24/11/12

      @Jane

      Despicable. And I don’t mean Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard.

    • George says:

      01:07pm | 24/11/12

      @PJ would that be the same Nauru that Abbott told the Australian public that all was needed was a coat of paint?
      Labor have now effectively introduced the policy that Abbott has been raving about and its failing…mmmm..
      And that would be the same Abbott who was against the Malaysian “solution” because they weren’t signatories of the UN Convention.  That would be the same Abbott who supported the Pacific “Solution” and advocated for Nauru to re-open even though they weren’t signatories to the Convention until July 2011.  So for 10 years he was happy to untilise a country that wasn’t a signatory….when I think of Abbott the word hypocricy keeps coming to mind…I wonder why??

    • Joe says:

      01:34pm | 24/11/12

      Very scary, those are the Leaders that Aussie have chosen to represent them and Govern.
      The history is repeating itself. Hitler seeded the hate and fear,then the people gave the Nazi power in democratic elections the rest we know. It is amazing what one can do not by force but by hate,pure evil hate. The results are clear,just look at behavior of Aussies attacking French tourists on Melbourne bus.Then on TV and radio journalist are surprised where those people come from.You feed the hate long before it grows up.Just like those kids of the parents who attacked tourist on public bus,there where no one to stand up and defend them. Australia and its Leaders gone to dogs,You must be very proud of yourself.

    • Rose says:

      01:37pm | 24/11/12

      No Tony, Abbott is in tune with what Noel Pearson thinks they need. Noel Pearson is not even held in high regard across all indigenous people, he is at times a very divisive figure in the indigenous community. If you want to reach out to indigenous people, you need to look at it from the different perspectives of indigenous communities across Australia, you can’t just have a look at Cape York and assume it can be replicated elsewhere, it can’t.  Every region needs to be dealt with according to what their needs are, what their resources and conditions are and the wants of the people.
      Kudos for Abbott doing something, but don’t kid yourself that that something is anywhere near enough to give him any real insight!!

    • Abbott = Pure Poison says:

      06:34pm | 24/11/12

      The only way to deal with a psycho bully is to BULLY BACK and watch him run like a cockroach.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      06:57pm | 24/11/12

      PJ (Babble-on) 9.20am this morning….
      Your a lot like Dash , pick a theme and harp on ad nauseum..
      It’s getting so that you lose all credability in your posts.. And please dont put any refeerance to *concentration camps* in your posts as this just be-littles what you have to say even more….
      stay happy ,but cut the ranting..

    • Gary T says:

      08:57am | 25/11/12

      Joe. re your observation, ‘Very scary, those are the Leaders that Aussie have chosen to represent them and Govern’. Guess what? All voters have the right to attend election meetings and rallies and tell the wannabees what they want. Failure to agree to the requirements means no votes. You can even demand that they put their commitment in writing. You can also instruct them before voting for them (after all, it is a job interview), that they will drop all the things you don’t want. i.e. Free air travel for life, refurbishing of their offices, etc. etc.

      Politics is not a spectator sport!

    • Don says:

      05:54am | 24/11/12

      Don’t forget to vote “no” to the question in the referendum about recognising local councils in the constitution so that they can receive commonwealth funding. No doubt we will be bombarded with articles about how our poor councils are poor as anything right up to the actual vote. Don’t be fooled as the first agenda if this gets up for every council will of course be renumereation! Massive payrises all round and upping the entitlements and racking up the debt.

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-28/local-government-referendum/3750026

    • Bradley says:

      10:42am | 24/11/12

      Hopefully the council members will at, at least, be able to spell “remuneration”.

    • sunny says:

      10:51am | 24/11/12

      If councils are not in the constitution, then I’m guessing that parking meters are also not in the constitution. It would be cheaper to hire a constitutional lawyer to fight my parking fines than to keep feeding money into the bloody things.

    • Gregg says:

      06:33am | 24/11/12

      The Caption: ” It’s SO good to see you “
      Are we sure it was not: ” You’re a nice piece of work ”

    • nihonin says:

      07:32am | 24/11/12

      Game on, springs to mind as well.

    • Time For Turnbull says:

      06:55am | 24/11/12

      Abbott is doing 2 things at the moment. The first thing is smearing the PM with the support of the Murdoch press via AWU Affair and the second thing he is doing is trying to divide Australia on the Asylum seeker issue. Essentially he is throwing mud and fueling racism for his own political survival.

    • Super D says:

      07:21am | 24/11/12

      The AWU scandal has now made the ABC and has been given a good run in the AFR (Fairfax) for a while. The Murdoch conspiracy is just spin and diversion.

      I thought that pointing out this most woeful governments failings made you misogynist, sounds like it makes you racist too….

    • FlyOnTheWall says:

      07:40am | 24/11/12

      Murdoch press re the AWU affair? Are you kidding?
      Fairfax have been running hard on this, and now, reluctantly, even the ABC is finally covering the story, 7:30, Lateline, Four Corners… cognitive dissonance much?

    • I hate pies says:

      07:50am | 24/11/12

      Are you suggesting that the politics of division is a Libeal tactic….haha, want some WD40 to help loosen up that rust?
      Also, Fairfax are running the AWU stuff too - do you think they’re aiding the Liberals, or just maybe there’s actually some substance to the story?

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:50am | 24/11/12

      Australia has ALWAYS been divided on the asylum issue because people have ALWAYS had different opinions about it. Abbot (nor Howard) did any ‘dividing’.

      And I hate to say it, but Turnbull will not do a damn thing about it- if he got elected, he will just continue whatever boat policy we already had in place, because he doesn’t give two sh-ts about any of these issues- not gay rights, not the republic, not the environment- he simply pretends to care about them because gullible idiots will vote for him over it.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:42am | 24/11/12

      There is no real substance,real proof or real evidence to even suggest that the Prime Minister was even remotely involved in this so called AWU scandal that some of the media outlets are guilty of sensationalising in recent editions of their newspapers.
      The phoney cheque that Julie Bishop proudly held up in Parliament was a sham that she herself orchestrated in an blatant attempt to discredit the Prime Minister.
      I have written to the Commonwealth Bank asking how could a copy of a cheque connected with an account (so called slush fund) be obtained by the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Opposition and I am awaiting a reply if I ever get one.
      It would seem that no bank can give out information on an account or account holders unless that information is obtained though a court order to do so.
      The means by which Julie Bishops obtained the alleged copy of the AWU cheque for 0ver $67,000 comes into question as by what means she obtained it.
      The Commonwealth Bank could be in breach of their own privacy policy if they did indeed release this information to Julie Bishop who is not entitled to assess information out of anybody’s bank or cheque account,so one would have to conclude that this information(if it is true) was obtained illegally by Julie Bishop and the Liberl/National Opposition party
      Julie Bishop is making a lot of accusations inside and outside of Parliament and is leaving herself wide open for defamation unless she can truely back up her allegations against the Prime Minister.

    • PJ says:

      09:52am | 24/11/12

      Wanting an reduction in illegal immigration is not racism, its filed under Border Control, National Security and Affordable Budgets.

      The idea that males from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, must be allowed to flow freely through your borders at will, so that you are not guilty of racism, is the most stupidest idea I have ever heard.

      The UK Labour Party has apologised for using the vile accusation of “Racism” to smother public debate on Border Control. However, it is too late for that nation. You should bear that in mind when you play their now redundant and exposed tactics to crush democracy.

      Would you really expose Australia to terrorists like Qatada and Hamza?

    • Crystal Clear says:

      11:22am | 24/11/12

      With Gillard’s AWU scandal in mind it seems that Tony Abbott has a lot to answer for….
      And now focusing on Gillard’s failed border protection policies….again it seems that Abbott has a lot to answer for….{you guys make me laugh}
      BTW - Turnbull doesn’t deserve to lead the Opposition or Government.

    • PeterL says:

      11:23am | 24/11/12

      Christian Real - you seem more interested in covering up information than getting to the truth.

    • Jay2 says:

      12:11pm | 24/11/12

      Again, I’m not an Abbott fan but he doesn’t need to smear Julia with the help of anybody, Julia’s doing a bang up job of that all by herself.
      I

      Ahhh, the old racism card, when in doubt, chuck that one in for good measure.

    • FlyOnTheWall says:

      12:59pm | 24/11/12

      Christian real, that cheque, is part of a file that was released publicly, and is available to anyone who wants it, it’s on the public record.
      You’re post above is quite telling in terms of the intellectual dishonesty, and blinkered view of things.
      Imagine if it was Tony Abbott who had been involved in this, as Gillard is/was. You’d be frothing at the mouth.

    • Tony says:

      02:27pm | 24/11/12

      ‘Smearing the PM’? Get real. The accusations are coming from former mates of Gillard (Blewitt), former partners in Slater and Gordon and current members of the ALP. Even Shorten is out there! You mean Abbott even controls them?

      What the hell has Abbott said that is smear? And divide Australia? As in women against men? As in the rich (miners) against the poor?

      Blind partisanship knows no bounds!

    • Christian Real says:

      04:29pm | 24/11/12

      Peter L
      Tony Abbott is the one that has already mastered the art of covering up the truth.

    • acotrel says:

      05:50pm | 24/11/12

      It is amazing how two people purporting to be acting in the public interest, arrive at the same time to assist in smearing the PM, exactly when Abbott needs a boost ?  Are we supposed to believe this crap ? It is just bloody insulting !

    • Joel says:

      07:00am | 24/11/12

      Awesome.  They agree on something that makes us feel all warm on the inside but does nothing to fix the messy policies that are of more importance at the moment. 
      Apologies, pouring sand, moving speeches?  All rhetoric, no action.  Since Whitlam what is being done to address the dismal state of Aboriginal Health?  What is being done to address the alarming rates of child sex abuse and domestic violence within the Aboriginal community?  This is just another BS pr stunt to make the politiicians feel good about themselves and that we are somehow “healing”.

    • nihonin says:

      07:35am | 24/11/12

      Joel, one step at a time.  One teeny tiny barely noticeable, self congratulatory, step at a time.

    • ronny jonny says:

      08:00am | 24/11/12

      What’s been done? They have spent billions and billions of dollars for no result. Time to move on I think. When they have tried anything like direct action to tackle real problems in these communities it’s racism and paternalism and “how dare you tell indigenous people what to do?”
      I think it is probably cheaper to trot out a bit of symbolism every few years, keeps the left from squarking too much.

    • Achmed says:

      08:16am | 24/11/12

      @Joel I live and work in the North west and see the squallor etc that aboriginals live in.  I have visited communities.  And I wonder where has the money gone?  Millions if not billions of dollars have been set aside in state and federal budgets on the basis of improving things.  Yet nothing changes.  Doing the figures for the budget in one state when compared to the aboriginal population showed the equivalent of $250,000 per aboriginal man, woman and child.  Add to that the Federal money then add the royalties payments from mining companies.  One mining company pays over $100 million per year the the traditional owners…...where is it all going?  We see traditional owners driving SSCommodores, new trail bikes for the kids while the house they live in has no windows, walls smashed and them complaining that Govmint has done nothing.
      On one trip to a community 200kms from the nearest town I made comment about the amount of rubbish laying around, old cardboard boxes, disposable nappies, drink cans, food wrappers etc.  The response was “that is white fella rubbish, they should clean it up”...

    • JoniM says:

      08:53am | 24/11/12

      Yep !
      Like all bleeding heart lemmings we will continue to throw money at the problem and beat our breasts and pray for a miracle ! Whilst deep down we know the only real solution to closing the gap, but dare not say it for fear we have to apologise again !

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      09:27am | 24/11/12

      Well I tell you what does NOT work at fixing the child sex abuse- imposing martial law on the area or sending in a large group of army personnel.
      Although I found it ironic that after Howard bellyached so much over funding doctors and other important personnel to go to Aboriginal communities, it was no big deal sending them over as a freebee along with the police and army.

      But things like this give arguments of discrimination a huge amount of credit. Do we send in the troops when children are abused in white neighborhoods, or the Catholic Church? No chance.

      Same deal with alcohol- it as much a problem for mainstream Australia as it is for Indigenous Australians- yet we feel the need to make it an ‘Indigenous’ problem, with special prohibition standards on Indigenous settlements.

      Having said that, our neglect for Indigenous Australians is shameful, and certainly should be a vastly higher priority- and it DOES disappoint me that asylum seekers seem to get more attention.

    • ?alien says:

      10:05am | 24/11/12

      but does nothing to fix the messy policies .....

      When democracy ceases to exist after each election how can we fix the messy policies imposed a la Stalin and the communist party or a la Saddam and all his cronies etc…..

      Hope you know why “shit happens” and this is no rhetoric but true action who will keep going on and on and on for as long as true democracy will be denied to the Australian people.

      “?alian” that what we are after each election.

    • Bruce says:

      07:29am | 24/11/12

      Any initiative that gives our indigenous community greater recognition is truly worthwhile for sadly, and wrongly, they have been relegated to just another racial minority in our multicultural madhouse.
              Recently, in an enlightening one on one with a sagacious elderly aboriginal tour guide it seemed opportune to seek her thoughts on a range of issues including multiculturalism. With some sadness she mused that aboriginal tribes are generally made up of clans which tended to enmity rather than harmony. The pureness of her reflection correlates with the biblical wisdom warning that the people shall mix with one another but will not hold together.
            Of course the social engineers and the self righteous know better.

    • Achmed says:

      09:57am | 24/11/12

      Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of sh*t by the clean end

    • David M says:

      07:35am | 24/11/12

      AbbottAbbottAbbott!!

    • Steve says:

      08:23am | 24/11/12

      out out out!!!!

    • Christian Real says:

      09:52am | 24/11/12

      davidM
      Are you in charge of Abbott’s cheerleading squad?

    • Bob says:

      09:57am | 24/11/12

      NOW NOW NOW !!!

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      11:38am | 24/11/12

      Abbott for PM!

    • Gregg says:

      02:09pm | 24/11/12

      Oi Oi Oi
      Abbott, Australia, Oi
      Australia, Australia, Abbott
      Go Tony!
      Oi Oi Oi

    • Achmed says:

      04:18pm | 24/11/12

      @Gregg I agree…go Tony go…Go back to the country you came from

    • Mouse says:

      06:09pm | 24/11/12

      Achmed, wasn’t Tony born to an Australian mother overseas? That probably makes Tony an Australian then, doesn’t it?  Just saying…  :o)

    • pete says:

      09:30am | 25/11/12

      Good luck if he win and you wish that it would never happen in the first place. Keep in mind that julia got the pm but she jump in with carbon tax as if tony got in he would have introduce price on carbon which mean everyone would be worst as he would have carbon tax on transport and the power bill. . And he want work choices back worsted than john Howard. Tony lies and then blames it on Julia . You fools a blind to see that .,Tony really has a problem when a female has more power than him so he try to make them fall.Oh when Tony get in you get a better baby bonus deal but hate to be on welfare if you lose your job due to work choices as he going to cut it off big time. overall Tony want the pm so he can get the nice big golden handshake so he doesn’t have to return to work if he get kick out which tax payer are paying more than what going on when the boat people. So is tony worth pm know he nasty to other is going to hit and destroy Australia. . promise he claim just like julia turn to lies . nothing change unless public wake up and see that but bouns in money to win vote see to drag every fool in .

    • AdamC says:

      08:24am | 24/11/12

      Wow, to think only a few weeks ago the ALP harboured quiet hopes of actually winning the next election!

      It just goes to show, a week is a long time in politics. Julia has thrown everything at Abbott and Labor are still in a comfortable, election-losing position. Labor’s failed asylum policy has, well, failed again. The AWU stuff is not going away. (Indeed, I do not believe the Labor Party could even go to an election at the moment with Gillard as leader. She really needs to clear the air.)

      Anyway, I am just hoping this government continues on its well-established path of stuffing everything up and then blaming Tony Abbott. Is Labor back on the path to primary vote of 33% or less?

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:52am | 24/11/12

      The problem is, Abbott is compromising his policy as much as Gillard- so they are both equally unelectable.

    • Christian Real says:

      09:00am | 24/11/12

      Adam C
      ‘Labor’s failed asylum policy?
      Just remember it was the one that the Howard government brought in
      just remember that it was the one that Tony Abbott kept pushing while refusing to support Labor’s Malaysian plan
      Just Remember thatit was Mr ‘Big Noting” Abbott and Scott Morrison who went to Nauru and on their return home Mislead Parliament and the Australian people by falsely claiming that the Nauru detention Centre would only need a coat of paint and a few panes of glass in the windows to be up and running again.
      As for this AWU stuff that you and your liberal blogging mates keep regurgitating, it is shit, like everything that comes out of Abbott’s mouth
      Where is the proof that there is even any substance in this alleged AWU smear campaign by the Liberal masters of deception?
      It is time that Abbott , bishop and the rest of the Liberal/National party Opposition rabble either put up the proof or shut up ,they continue to disrupt our Parliament by making these allegations against the Prime Minister but they are not prepared to put up rock solid proof to support their allegations,neither are their media friends.
      If they have got proof in what they are claiming to be true, then I cjhallenge Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and the rest of the Liberal/National party rabble and their media friends to present it to the authorities immediately.
      I believe that they cannot do this because they are only mouthing off and making assertions which are not true and never was true against the Prime Minister and they are guilty of once again misleading our Parliament and the Australian public

    • Rose says:

      09:58am | 24/11/12

      They still might win the election. This AWU stuff may come back and bit the Libs in the bum if it ends up that they are chasing down the PM in something that ends up more like utegate than anything else. They’ve embarked on a very dangerous path, accusing the PM of some very serious stuff, so risky that Abbott is not the one shooting his mouth off, his underlings are. The only reason that could be is that they know it’s not a fait accompli. they know GIllard may not really have a case to answer. If she does have a case to answer firstly, why has it taken so long to try and get her to answer it?  Secondly, politicians need to keep out of it and let the police and the Courts do their jobs, political pointscoring during an investigation may be common, but it’s really not appropriate. It’s far too serious an investigation to risk by politicians interfering.
      As for the asylum seeker stuff, it is absolutely a racist ploy on Abbott’s part. Again, the Liberals are prepared to use a minority group to try and win an election.

    • Seano says:

      10:04am | 24/11/12

      The one thing keeping the election close is Abbott’s unpopularity. When the election cycle begins (assuming Abbott is still leader) the issue of Abbott’s promises just not being mathematical possible (he can’t deliver a carbon tax roll back, tax cuts, increased services and a surplus as promised) and the fact that his paid parental leave is a potential disaster for the economy expect things to tighten further.

      Abbott is not going to suddenly become popular and he is no cert to win the election.

    • JoniM says:

      11:07am | 24/11/12

      Yep !
      It must be so hard for Abbott not knowing who he will be facing off for PM role at the next poll ? The faceless men of the ALP are no help to him either, as they have thrown their hands up and again peered into that bottom of the barrel !

    • Berny says:

      12:32pm | 24/11/12

      We have been told, women hater Abbott is hopeless because most of the time his mouth is not wired up to his brain. We should then all vote Labor, to allow them another term for a policy on what to do with the asylum seekers.

    • Christian Real says:

      08:35am | 24/11/12

      Can Abbott be trusted on biparisan support as he has in the past reneged on support that he had previously promised.
      “It is an about -face Mr Abbott,who in June told crossbench MPs that he would support an increase in the humanitarian intake to 20,000 if they backed the Coalitions amendment which effectively ruled out the Malaysia swap deal
      Source: The Australian
      Story: “Tony Abbott shuts the door on the tide of aslyum seekers.”
      Written by: gemma Jones
      On: November 23, 2012 @ 9.27AM
      “The Coalition will vote against the symbolic pledge proposed by Labor to replace the promised referendum to acknowledge Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.”
      Source: The Australian
      Story: “Coalition to oppose symbolic pledge on Indigenous Australians.”
      Written By: Patricia Karvelas
      On: September 21,2012 @ 11.08AM
      As well as reneging on pledges and promises to suit himself Tony Abbott has insulted our people with his remark of “Urban Aboriginals”
      To trust Tony Abbott would be like trusting and believing in a Snake Oil Salesman.

    • marley says:

      04:19pm | 24/11/12

      I read Abbott’s remarks.  How is it in any way insulting to want to have representatives of traditional Central Australian aboriginal peoples in parliament sitting next to representatives from urban regions?  At least he’s trying to get aborigines elected, which seems to be more than the ALP is doing.  Or so says Warren Mundine, anyway.

    • Christian Real says:

      12:07pm | 25/11/12

      Marley
      Though I disagree with Warren Mundine on some of what he says, I will not comment too much about him seeing that the Mundines are married into our mob

    • marley says:

      01:41pm | 25/11/12

      @Christian Real - fair enough. I don’t see any particular reason why aborigines should all have the same views on issues.  Heaven knows, there’s a lot of difference in experience and viewpoints.  I just don’t get why you would castigate Abbott for wanting aborigines with different types of backgrounds to be in Parliament, and why that would be insulting.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      08:45am | 24/11/12

      Ok, seeing that Abbott and Gillard are endorsing the SAME flawed policy of releasing the excess asylum seekers into the community, I would like to ask people if they are STILL taking Liberal/Labor stances on the issue.

      Abbot, you are a moron- just as much as Gillard. Stop listening to Jones and start listening to voters. The reason most Australians don’t want to take these latest asylum seekers is because we don’t want people who may be extremists or unlikely to integrate coming into our neighborhoods, and we don’t want any more Sydney riots, or oppressive situations like Cronulla that lead up to retaliatory riots. Nobody cares about the ‘took our jobs’ mantra, that’s a stereotype that only exists in America and the UK.

      Certainly letting them work is better than not (so they don’t immediately turn to crime); BUT letting them be processed in the community AT ALL is a gigantic failure of policy overall- and it tells a minority of foreigntresspassers that they hold more ‘people power’ over our own government than we the voters do.

      If you want a REAL solution, implement the following as criteria to claim refugee status;
      1- did you come from a country that does NOT border any signatory countries?
      2- do you have any criminal history, including petty crime?
      3- How would you react around homosexuals, or scantily clad people?
      4- How would you react if you met a person who descended from (known rival ethnic groups in their home country)
      5- Will you follow secular laws over religious or cultural customs if required?
      6- How would you react to blasphemy against your religion?

      Failing any of these, the applicants are immediately deported to their home countries. But succeeding, THEN they can be processed inside the community, as they are likely safe people to take in- but with no chance of ‘family reunion’

    • Jay2 says:

      01:09pm | 24/11/12

      The problem I see with your criteria list of questions , is that those well versed with Australia and how the system works (and there already seems to be a fair degree of knowledge with some eg who to contact; documentation checks; mobile phones speaking to lawyers,journos etc) is that they will give you the answers that you need to hear to get the green light, although I do agree there has to be a starting point to what you propose.

      Putting aside all the debate about genuine asylum seekers vs illegal immigrants (the later definitely phased out of lingo), it really boils down to the basic set of questions.
      Has Australia a well functioning socio-economic system and infrastructure that,  a) Already copes with it’s current population and b) is coping with the influx of 20,000 asylum seekers/illegal immigrants annually and growing?

      The answer to both, is NO!

      Already we have an electricity infrastructure on it’s knees and costing the consumers a hideous amount to access; the hospital/dentist system is appalling -long waiting times and unable to cope in the emergency waiting room on any given night; cities that are overcrowded with poor public transport; rural towns with infrastructure stripped from it (try travelling 120 miles to the nearest ‘working’ hospital to have a baby and don’t have a bloody cardiac arrest in the bush, whatever you do); schools that are overcrowded and underfunded; a Criminal Justice system that is backlogged; nursing homes that can’t keep up; foster system that sees poor kids not placed in the ideal situations or put up in hotles; the disabled, mentally ill and homeless all getting the short end of the stick time and time again; I believe already, parts of Victoria are again on water restrictions, once again I see our battered women’s hostel raising funds to make ends meet (minimal gov funding).... so the list is endless.

      Australia, in short, is in crisis, unable to cope as is and yet it is ‘open the borders up’ catch cry without people actually thinking how much work Australia needs to do just to try and function with the current status quo.

      I mean, classic example of how woeful things are in this country, page ELEVEN (not an important story, obviously…) in the DT, this poor 19 year old young man, who was rednedered disabled when he was hit by a car has spent FOUR YEARS in a hospital WAITING for appropriate accommodation to become available. (limited family support).

      Seriously?? And here the debate rages on about obligation, humanity etc, for ayslum seekers ,  all the while the not so trendy discussion about basic economics and people already hurting in this country goes out the window.

      FOUR YEARS…What a sad joke! The worst part is, there are probably thousands of similarly themed stories around Australia. Ever wonder why the homeless people are there? I do and I know. Some have addictions, a lot are mentally ill and some simply have no place they can afford to live in, especially if fleeing from a violent situation. There’s simply not enough shelters with beds to cope.

      So the harsh reality simply is: Can Australia cope with 20 to potentially 50 thousand asylum seekers hitting our shores annually and the simple answer is again NO.

    • JoniM says:

      06:10pm | 24/11/12

      Spot on Jay2 !

      The obvious solution is to withdraw from the UNHCR convention and be like the rest of Asia, in creating policies on migration / refugee intake/ asylum seeker intake that are suitable and manageable for Australia. Because right now, we have absolutely no control of the borders, of our population growth, of every one of our government policies, services or budget, because we are being dictated to by an outdated convention, designed by Europeans for a European response to a problem caused after World war II ! It has no relevence to Australia or the rest of Asia and needs to be dumped immediately !

    • Bill of Queensland says:

      08:08am | 25/11/12

      JoniM, you are spot on! Labor has abdicated responsibility for border security to the UN and hides behind the dysfunctional 1951 UN Refugee Convention to the detriment of Australian taxpayers. Tony Abbott has read the mood of Australian Taxpayers who are not deceived by the farrago of lies peddled by economic opportunists arriving at the Christmas Island visa factory. He is putting Australian battlers first! He is not abdicating Australian border security to the UN or providing open-ended budget for fraudsters whilst cutting back on life-saving therapy for Australian Cancer sufferers and slugging Taxpayers for private health insurance like LABOR is doing. Illegal arrivals will continue till the prospect of gaining entry is completely removed! Australia must rescind the 1951 UN Refugee convention to regain control of its borders. Illegal arrivals and those who have conned their way into Australia should be put on board a mothballed aircraft carrier under a flag of convenience staffed by foreign contractors and left in international waters till accepted by a third country and barred from entering Australia even after becoming citizens of a third country like NEW ZEALAND.

    • Hayden Coonan says:

      08:51am | 24/11/12

      Libs lead the polls, but Gillard remains preferred Prime Minister.. Libs may win the election, but I doubt Abbott will be the leader to do it..

    • C says:

      08:52am | 24/11/12

      What a load of politically correct nonsense! The idea that “indigenous” Australians (and I wonder what that makes the rest of us who were born here) are some sort of single entity who can be recognised in an “Act of Recognition” is ridiculous.
      Aboriginal cultures and languages are very, very diverse. Lumping them all together is an insult. 
      More and more of it is being lost - some simply because it cannot cope with the demands of the 21st century. (If you have a counting system - as some languages did -  that only needed “1”, “2” and then a notion of more than that then you need to change your way of thinking just in order to cope with the (equally foreign) concept of money.)
      I suspect, after conversations with some elders that they are not too bothered about “recognition”. They are much more concerned about health, education, employment, housing and abuse issues.

    • JennyMcL says:

      11:21am | 24/11/12

      Could not agree more with this… I was born here so am I not “indigenous”?
      Yes, there are a few aboriginal Australians who have made it their life’s work to get “recognition” but the vast majority are simply not interested. It is not a burning issue for them. They want other things.
      This is a politically motivated stance which will, apart from the referendum, cost almost nothing. Most aboriginals I know (and I work with almost 200) would rather the money was spent on education.

    • John says:

      12:34pm | 24/11/12

      @c

      People born in a country are “native born”, not “indigenous”.

      Simple. Wonder no more.

    • ChrisW says:

      05:51pm | 24/11/12

      Sorry @John I have to be “indigenous” somewhere - and, if I am born here, then I am “indigenous” to Australia. It’s a ridiculous and highly divisive term anyway.

    • John says:

      06:56pm | 24/11/12

      @Chris

      Wrong.

      If you were born in Australia then you are a “native born Australian”. That does not make you “indigenous”.

      It’s that simple.

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      09:09am | 24/11/12

      Hi Laurie,

      Maybe just on this occasion for a change it is so much more about keeping up appearances and going with the flow?  Is it simply about the asylum seeker debate or realizing that all that bickering and name calling hasn’t achieved much on the positive side for Ms Julia Gillard and Mr Tony Abbott, both equally.  After all we do expect nothing but the best from our leaders, right? The actual question should be “can we expect the smiling faces and friendly hand shakes to continue in the future”? 

      Could we also expect to see more civilized attitudes without making any personal remarks and personal attacks among our politicians?  As far as what voters would like to see in the future of Australian politics, it would definitely be “much less negative smear campaigns and more of clear cut original policies which might actually work”. We surely have had enough with all the personal power struggles to prove who might be a stronger candidate in the next Federal elections.  As always actions speak louder than words, each and every time.

      It would be so much wiser to ask to the members of the public for their opinion about how they would feel about the very real issues close to their hearts and minds rather than constantly our leaders needing to be a part of a popularity contest to please a certain number of people, in my personal opinion. Kind regards.

    • Kathy says:

      09:13am | 24/11/12

      Too bad for Tony Abbott that we know Julie Bishop is angling to knock him off as Liberal Party leader. At last a female leader for the Libs rather than a female hater. Nice.

    • George Eliot says:

      12:13pm | 24/11/12

      For the thousandth time, nossy, not even Julie Bishop has ever entertained such a ridiculous notion.

    • lawyer says:

      02:39pm | 24/11/12

      If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.
      Charles Dickens

      If there were no bad people, there would be no Kathys

    • DocBud says:

      02:48pm | 24/11/12

      Pathetic, Kathy, truly pathetic, simply parroting Labour propaganda, unless you have more substantial evidence to contribute than Julia Gillard’s politically motivated, baseless assertions.

    • stephen says:

      05:22pm | 24/11/12

      She’s a very pleasant lady to listen to, actually, and she definitely makes a welcome change from the chicken coop we have to at present listen to.
      She seems honest, unpretentious, and she exhumes integrity - though she also appears, unfortunately, to be easily swayed by force.

      Too bad.

    • Christian Real says:

      06:11pm | 24/11/12

      Kathy
      It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a challenge to Tony Abbott’s leadership come from Julie Bishop.
      It could be that Julie Bishop is just waiting for the right moment to launch a leadership challenge.
      And George Eliot, are you an 100% sure that Julie Bishop has never entertained the notion to challenge Abbott and become Leader?
      And DocBud, can you be really so certain that it is only Labor party propaganda as you say It is?

    • Ben says:

      06:40pm | 24/11/12

      @ChristianReal

      >>It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a challenge to Tony Abbott’s leadership come from Julie Bishop.

      Poor Christian. Labor’s apparatchiks have desperately been trying to whip up leadership tensions with Malcolm Turnbull, yet it’s failed abysmally. From one desperate tactic to another, these useless idiots jump like frogs on a hot tin roof.

    • JoniM says:

      06:32pm | 25/11/12

      @Christian Real

      According to John Black (ex AWU and ALP rep) today, your mate K Rudd apparently now has 40 nervous caucus votes since the latest Gillard scandal revelations !
      I wouldn’t waste your time trying to get rid of Abbott, the Coalition knows he will soon only have to beat an ALP reprised leader who his own team think is a psychopath !
      Hilarious !

    • Achmed says:

      09:18am | 24/11/12

      Labor re-opening Nauru and Manus, along with the rule tougher than TPV’s, in that they will wait in the “queue” as if they were still in a camp in another country and yet the boats still come is evidence of the uselessness of Abbott’s rants over the years.  And now Labor are introducing Bridging Visas that have tougher conditions than a TPV.
      Abbott’s hypocricy has been well on display when he was against the Malayasia “Solution” stating that he would not support it because Malaya was not a signatory to the UN Convention while he promoted using Nauru who were also not a signatory until 2011…all those years of the so-called Pacific Solution he was OK with Nauru not being a signatory.  And he is quite happy to send the boats back to a country that is not a signatory.  It seems Abbott will rant about being a signatory to the UN Convention or not just depends on which week it is and whether or not it suits a political purpose rather than anything else.  Cheap lousy poltical point scoring changing his mind to suit.
      His plan to “turn the boats back” has been discredited by the Navy, the very people he says will do the job.  They have told him time and time again that they dont have the resources and that this policy would only result in the Navy having to conduct rescues as the boats got sunk.  Part of the “turn the boats back” policy is to remove fuel from the boats so they can’t get to Aust…under International law that is called piracy.
      Just like his “no maternity leave in any Govt I’m part of” rant until he saw that the stance would cost him votes.  His “no new taxes” rant then 2 months later told us about the new tax on business to pay for maternity leave.  Or his comment that the best way to price carbon was with a tax…..that was until Labor introduced a “tax”. 
      Abbott doesn’t need to run marathons etc to keep fit, his backflips and jumping from one policy position to another will keep him fit enough.

    • PJ says:

      09:30am | 24/11/12

      Gillard has no one to blame for her Asylum seeker debacle but herself.

      Marvel please at the shear incompetence I outline below….

      - It was Julia Gillard who elevated the handling of asylum seekers to its status as the most important issue by which she should be judged. She condemned Rudd for having record numbers.

      - Remember Julia Gillard rushed out the half-baked East Timor Solution BEFORE it had been fully discussed with East Timor. I think we all agreed that was shocking.

      - Gillard picked Chris Bowen, arguable one of Labors few talents, for the all important Immigration role, upon which she wanted to be judged. That was a waste of talent her Government desperately needed elsewhere.

      - We all saw Julia Gillard rush out the announcement of the“Malaysia Solution” even BEFORE that solution had been negotiated with Malaysia. Yes, it happened again.

      - We know Gillards Malaysian concentration camp solutions were knocked back not once, but TWICE by our highest legal bodies. Two goes at making this policy, two failures. Millions of your taxes wasted on the failed effort.

      - It was Julia Gillard who promoted the Malaysian concentration camps solution whilst the Malaysian Government was in the throws of a vicious HUMAN RIGHTS crackdown. So in conjunction with the NT policies and the “ethnic cleansing scandal, no one needs to take any moral high ground grandstanding from Gillard supporters.

      She set the objective by which her leadership should be judged.

      This is a debacle of her own making.

      There can be only one conclusion on this current Leadership and it’s Government…..

    • Christine says:

      09:51am | 24/11/12

      Just a minor point. This seems to be a quite an old photo judging by the unusual two handed hand shake from Ms Gillard (notice the hand underneath supporting the shake as she leans forward smiling towards Mr Abbott).  If it is that old surely it is misleading to use same to get a current point accross. Times do change and I am sure the photo does not reflect their current status.

      By the way “Time for Turnbull says”,  it was a senior Labor parliamentary member who stirred the AWU scandal up and the media, police and pollies followed on. Others are coming forward to perhaps clear their conscience. Parliament is requesting answers and one question we could perhaps ask ourselves is ‘Would Ms Gillar, a not so young lawyer,  have left Slater & Gordon, if she was not being faced with disapproval from the other partners about her involvement in the matter?’  Hopefully, we will all be enlightened on this and other matter as the investigation unfolds..

      Mr Abbott is the Leader of the Opposition and he has been doing his job well, in spite of the incredible and deliberate smear thrown at him by labour cohorts including the hand bag squad.

    • Anjuli says:

      09:57am | 24/11/12

      @ Achmed That has always been my argument you can be poor but clean. whenever I see aboriginal settlements on TV I ask myself why don’t they clean the place up ,also how have the houses got into such a state ,it is not because others have not repaired them it is because they were trashed in the first place.They can’t keep blaming the white fella as an excuse.

    • jacko says:

      11:37am | 24/11/12

      Some of those remote places lack regular rubbish disposal facilities. SOME. As for the housing provided, they are not well designed for the people who inhabit them.These people have a culture of accommodating their extended family, cousins, friends and blow ins ( often under duress) The housing should reflect as much. Build them from rammed earth, or similar - sturdy and cool in summer, warm in winter. Build them with large wrap around verandahs where the cuzzies can sleep in comfort on sweltering nights. Build safe outside cooking areas that can cater for big family feasts. Even the plumbing should be scrutinized. Some of these outfits have trouble with sediment from artesian bore water built up in pipes,taps and showerheads. Just an idea..

    • TracyH says:

      12:25pm | 24/11/12

      Agree Jacko - why does the givernment persist in impractical housing design ? Always wonder about that !!

    • ronny jonny says:

      02:13pm | 24/11/12

      Yep, Jacko, that’s a great idea and they can pay for and maintain them themselves, like everyone else.

    • John says:

      09:59am | 24/11/12

      Are we sure that picture hasn’t beeen Photoshopped?

    • Time For Turnbull says:

      10:05am | 24/11/12

      Tony Abbott is very worried about Malcolm Turnbull. He is only 1 bad poll away from getting dethroned. Gillard isn’t worried about Abbott. Tony is Labor’s best asset. Only a few die hard loyal worshippers are fighting for his cause now.  Are you one of them ??????

    • Lenny says:

      11:20am | 24/11/12

      More lines from the Labor spin machine. Try thinkning for yourself.

    • Christine says:

      11:25am | 24/11/12

      Yes I and many others support Mr Abbott as Leader of the Opposition - that does not make us worshippers. What a strange term you use on someone you do not know..  I do not worship any person, government or political leader, it is not my nature.  However, I am capable of seeing through the extremely negative and aggressive attack against Mr Abbott and that alone is enough to turn me against Labour.  He is a decent family man who did not deserve the rubbish thrown at him by the hand bag squad. Instead of responding withlsimilar childish and uncharitable behaviour, he turned the other cheek. That takes maturity and strength and I congratulate him for same.

      Why is Labour so frightened of Mr Abbott as Leader. Is it perhaps because Coalition took the lead in the polls under Mr Abbott’s leadership.  Labour is promoting Mr Turnbull as leader and if you think Ms Gillard is not worried about Mr Abbott, think again, - why else the strategy to demonise him.  Labour is desperate to be rid of Mr Abbott hence the push for Mr Turnbull I would suggest.  As Mr T recently said he will be part of the cabinet if the Coalition comes to power and he will I am sure make a worthy contribution.

    • Sprightly Bob says:

      10:29am | 24/11/12

      Obvious that Abbott supporters are not too welcome here given Mr Oakes left leanings.  It is my personal opinion that the Gillard Government is the worst in my lifetime (which has reached Biblical proportions).  They even stuffed up the large fishing boat deal let alone the enormous bungle the NBN is proving to be. Guess it comes from the background of most of Federal Cabinet who are used to the lack of rules in union hierarchies where the cash is always ready for a dash!!

    • JGA says:

      10:41am | 24/11/12

      It would be even worse for Gillard and Labor if the press turned it’s attention to Labor"s general immigration policy.  Labor has managed to trash what was seen as one of the best immigration systems in the world. A policy which was merit based and targeted equivalent or higher skill workers than Australians. We now have over 60 per cent of new arrivals as students and 457 low skilled non English speaking. Predominantly from the 3rd World. Federal Labor are so incompetent they have asked the Mining Industry and Universities to dictate immigration policy.

    • Kim says:

      10:43am | 24/11/12

      That there is even concern that this referendum might fail is a sad indictment on us all. In 1967 we believed in a fair go. Now it’s every b*stard for themselves, or worse,; irrational, bitter, downward envy.

    • stephen says:

      10:46am | 24/11/12

      Each should agree on leaving politics.
      And there’s something not quite right about Bill Shorten.

    • JGA says:

      12:59pm | 24/11/12

      Stephen that is a low comment. As much as I dislike what Labor are doing to this country. Your comment about Shorten is about as helpful as ALP immigration policy. Not good.

    • stephen says:

      06:10pm | 24/11/12

      ‘not quite right’ relates to his methods, and was not meant to slur his mind.
      If this does not satisfy you, then what were you thinking ?

    • Carol says:

      11:16am | 24/11/12

      Why didn’t the msm go hard after John Howard and Alexander downer over the awb scandal. I’m sure this story needed investigating. After all, it involved a lot more of tax payers money. Where was Andrew Bolt etc. Also, can we learn. More about Julie Bishop’s involvement in the Clayton Utz company representing big tobacco and asbestos companies trying to delay ill and dying Australians from getting compensation. I think that is far worse than the AWU story.

    • Ladyjane says:

      12:41pm | 24/11/12

      Whether you find the fact that Julie Bishop represented Clayton Utz to be repugnant or not, the fact is she was a lawyer doing the job she was employed to do by her client. Even the most heinous criminals have a right to a lawyer and that lawyer is entitled to use whatever tactics they might, within the law, to properly represent their client.  It is expected of them and they can be subject to punishment by the legal system if they do not. It doesn’t mean that they personally agree with their client or support what their client did and it’s about time people learned the difference.

      To compare Bishop’s representation of Clayton Utz to Gillard’s activites is chalk and cheese and frankly a nonsense.

    • Achmed says:

      01:25pm | 24/11/12

      @Carol - can’t do that!!  Thats dirty politics and would be seen as a smear campaign!!!
      And if people start asking questions about these deployable episodes under a Liberal govt and matters undertaken by a Liberal pollie it would destroy the credibility of some in the media and expose them for they are - Liberal Lackies

    • Christine says:

      03:42pm | 24/11/12

      Re the AWB Scandal, I believe the Board became a private company in July 1999. There was a Royal Commission into the AWB and an AFP investigation. To my knowledge neither Howard nor Downer were Directors on the Board.  Usually these types of Boards are funded from sales such as wheat or sugar, so one would presume it was the growers who were shortchanged not taxpayers. 

      I believe Ms Bishop promptly and adequately responded to the queries raised about her time as a lawyer and there is absolutely no comparison with the AWU story.  She was happy to respond having nothing to fear.

      Another red herring perhaps to divert attention from real issues.
      It would be great if people stuck to facts instead of letting their biases take control of what they write.

    • Kerr Avon says:

      11:44am | 24/11/12

      I think we need to define what constitutes an asylum seeker. An asylum seeker is one who enters seeking asylum WITHOUT transiting another “Safe” nation en route. Those that arrive via other nations are Country Shoppers looking for handouts rather than just sanctuary. Genuine asylum seekers arrive by plane have documents and should be processed. Those that arrive via a 3rd nation with no documentation should be immediately deported with no grounds for appeal to the closest UN facility to wait in line for legal resettlement.

    • marley says:

      12:21pm | 24/11/12

      @Kerr Avon - the term “asylum seeker” applies to anyone who, well, is seeking asylum.  The method of arrival, or how many countries have been transited en route, is irrelevant. 

      The UNHCR regularly publishes statistics on asylum trends in western countries.  The asylum seekers who get to Belgium and Sweden and the US and the UK almost never get there without transiting multiple countries;  further, they often lack proper documents.  Yet every one of the receiving countries that the UNHCR tracks will allow these people to make claims for asylum because every one of them believes the Convention requires them to do so.  I’m not sure why you think you have a better understanding of the Convention than the governments and courts of most of the western world.

      And you cannot “deport” someone to any country but his own.  There is no legal way to deport someone to a UNHCR camp in a country that isn’t his own because that country is under no obligation at all to take him unless he’s one of their citizens.

    • Tory Shepherd

      Tory Shepherd says:

      12:03pm | 24/11/12

      Hey folks! Just yet another friendly warning to please NOT defame anyone in the comments. I’m done with warning individuals and if certain people keep trying to sneak stuff through I’m going to get bad arse!

    • Michael says:

      12:27pm | 24/11/12

      Ban hammer them, Tory ! Back to the stone age !

      There was a time when perhaps the worst occupational hazard journalists had to deal with was nutjob “letters to the editor”. Now you poor buggers also have the thankless task of moderating online comments as well. Commiserations, and thanks.

    • Alex says:

      12:46pm | 24/11/12

      Good idea, Tory, too much of this stuff on blogs.  But you might need to sound a bit tougher - like ‘bad assed momma’ - that’ll bring ‘em into line!

    • Luke says:

      01:04pm | 24/11/12

      No worries Tory, it’s just so hard when we want to say something about the Prime Minister.

    • Faith Hope says:

      01:51pm | 24/11/12

      Tory Shepherd

      Too bad Julia Gillard is an atheist!

      Man, I just feel blessed… I was in a situation where the only way I could come out of it was by putting my faith in God. No matter how good my lawyers were, no matter how much celebrity I had, everything was just stacked up against me.
      Puff Daddy

    • JT says:

      02:14pm | 24/11/12

      Maybe its been deleted but where on earth is there defamation in the comments here?

    • Anjuli says:

      12:16pm | 24/11/12

      @ Tory——Too right ,i am so over people venting their hate on Punch debate by all means in a civil manner or is that too hard for some .

    • Ray Sanderson says:

      12:53pm | 24/11/12

      There is now no discernable difference between the Labor and Coalition treatment of asylum seekers. If Abbott was in office, he would have the same problems to deal with as Gillard has now. Temporay protection visas would make no difference. The difference in the situation between 2002 and now is that the ‘push’ factors are much greater with so much instability in middle Eastern countries.

    • Big Bob says:

      04:57pm | 24/11/12

      If Abbott was in government there would be no more boats, no boats means, no trade for the people’s smugglers, no asylum seekers to add to the 30,000 already here. Australia can then concentrate on processing quickly, the 30,000 already here. Send back any new comers that arrive by boat and tell the world that for every illegal that arrive by boat, Australia will take two from other refugee camps. While that is happening an Abbott government will receive its refugee quota of almost 15,000. This government is too soft with the Indonesian government.

      Labor wants and needs another term to work out a solution and Australia just can’t afford billions more dollars.

    • Richard says:

      02:46pm | 24/11/12

      Asylum Seekers I feel the best solution is to either leave the intake at current level until the labour debt is paid off or not accept any at all for the future. If this means withdrawing from the UN charter so be it.

      Liberal Leadership Julie Bishop should make a run for the position as she has been deputy leader for a number of leaders. Julie either make a challenge or step down for a younger member (Kellie O’Dywer or Josh Freydenberg excuse my spelling).

      Aboriginal Health The Army was sent in for the intervention, they have no say how they are deployed. I admit for the monies spent the outcomes should be better. Will tossing more money at the problem help or is there another way.

    • Jack says:

      03:05pm | 24/11/12

      I’ll say one thing about Abbott, he’s good for a laugh.

    • Jack says:

      03:05pm | 24/11/12

      I’ll say one thing about Abbott, he’s good for a laugh.

    • PJ says:

      04:35pm | 24/11/12

      “I am full of understanding of the perspective of the Australian people that they want strong management of our borders and I will provide it.”
      - Julia Gillard, June 24, 2010

      “.......I will provide it.”  And where the heck is it?

      Reading some of the comments above it seems people are quite happy for the Gillard Government to break their promises and not deliver.

      That means for the forthcoming election campaign the Gillard Government has a precedent set, a licence to, promise anything but deliver nothing later.

      Very dangerous

    • Berny says:

      05:53pm | 24/11/12

      PJ

      “That means for the forthcoming election campaign the Gillard Government has a precedent set, a licence to, promise anything but deliver nothing later.”

      Yes very dangerous, but Labor and their apologists wouldn’t care, remember one of their own said: ‘whatever it takes’ Just keep up the good work. Labor apologists will dance around in circles because that is what the Gillard government does. Dance around and make it up as they go.

    • Achmed says:

      06:34pm | 24/11/12

      And Abbott will only honour promises made in writing…or will he?...if he is so untrustworthy that we must get it in writing he is no better than Gillard.
      Abbott December 2009 “there will not be any new taxes as part of the Coalition’s policies”.
      March 2010 - announced his Paid Parental Leave scheme, which is to be funded by a 1.5% levy (tax) on businesses
      On the GFC - “I can’t say exactly what the deficit would have been under our policies”
      On Carbon Tax - “I also think that if you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax? Why not ask motorists to pay more, why not ask electricity consumers to pay more
      and again “I am wary of a system which creates new vested interests - which an ETS will do. I suspect that a straight carbon tax or charge could be more transparent and easier”
      Or this “Whyalla will be wiped off the map by Julia Gillard’s carbon tax. Whyalla risks becoming a ghost town, an economic wasteland, if this carbon tax goes ahead and that’s true not just of Whyalla, it’s also true of Port Pirie, it’s true of Gladstone, it’s true of communities in the Hunter Valley and the Illawarra in New South Wales, it’s true of Kwinana in Western Australia, it’s true of the La Trobe Valley, Portland, places like that in Victoria. There’s not a state and there’s hardly a region in this country that wouldn’t have major communities devastated by a carbon tax if this goes ahead”

      and so it goes on….....

    • Duncan of Doonan says:

      06:36pm | 24/11/12

      Apparently we must mind our manners if we insult our wonderful PM.Remember that her and Labor cease to exist very soon.I suspect that that is a point where my country starts to heal.Scroll down and note that Tony Abbotts name is mentioned in the first 3 sentences by about 70% of respondents.Well done mate you have them rattled.

    • Bill of Queensland says:

      05:15pm | 24/11/12

      Liberal and Labor representatives are in the process of hoodwinking the Australian people and foisting onto them what they very well know the rest of Australians would reject if given a voice at a referendum! This will be the thin edge of the wedge to further demands for a quota of Aboriginal representatives in the Parliament and the Senate! These representatives will have a disproportionate influence over Australian government and a choke hold over development! Loud vocal minority accurately describes Aboriginal activists who have a vested interest in maintaining a separate community thus perpetuating their role as bridges between society and their people. Minorities face three stark choices, integration, segregation or annihilation.  Leaders of minority groups have nothing in common with the group they allegedly represent and lead them into a dead end. This small group benefits from employment in one of the many bureaucracies set up to remedy the disadvantage, participation in government sponsored babblefests, as the obligatory invited speakers to address politically correct but irrelevant organisations and staging irrelevant theatre such as welcoming and smoke ceremonies. They benefit from participating in a never ending reconciliation process.  Aboriginals have to become part of mainstream society to enjoy the benefits it provides. Benefits packages perpetuate dependence by only changing from welfare.  Aboriginals are not marginalised by Australian society, they marginalise themselves! Aboriginals will not move forward while their leaders and lobby groups focus on the past! Immigrants who have assimilated have prospered in Australia. Aboriginal people already have the same voting rights as the rest of Australians. They are NOT ENTITLED to MORE!

    • jacko says:

      06:59pm | 24/11/12

      Well, well, well…
      Minorities face three stark choices, integration, segregation or annihilation.
      When wave after wave of convicts and their masters rolled into sight like an invasion of cane toads I’m sure the natives surely despaired.
      Those who tried to integrate found that the newcomers were not interested in sharing the bounty, but in taking the lot.
      Those who resisted were indeed annihilated, and the survivors insulted with segregation.
      I have witnessed ugly racism, and the worst of it is towards the indigenous who are still, by law not equal citizens in this, their country.

    • Bill of Queensland says:

      07:43am | 25/11/12

      Jacko, looking backward is the surest way of not going forward! The future of Aboriginal people is not in the dead end of self-imposed apartheid they are being led into by vested interests.

    • Paul Mason says:

      05:22pm | 24/11/12

      Could this be the start of the healing ?

    • Carol says:

      05:43pm | 24/11/12

      how cananyonecompare the two legal firms.Onerepresents workers,the other looks after companies that have products that kill people. Asbestos companies knew their product killed people but never informed their workers. Then tried to delay paying compensation. To me that’s worse.

      Also, why were John )Howard and Alexander Canaletto answer questions re AWB and what about those cables.

    • TW says:

      06:12pm | 24/11/12

      To all the Liberal maggots, weren’t your ancestors the original boat people?

    • nihonin says:

      09:13am | 25/11/12

      When you ‘say’ Liberal maggots, are you referring to Liberal acolytes or making a general sweeping statement against anybody who doesn’t believe Labor are doing a good job overall as government on most policy.

      By the way, not all people have ancestors who came here by ‘boa’t in 1788, some of us have ancestors (heritage) who were here when the ‘boats’ first arrived.  Your comment then is basically racist as it can be translated to mean, Aboriginals have no say in the governing of this country and thus our comments (there are some of who do have conservative leanings as well as progressive leanings (on that matter I do believe it is possible to find a middle ground between them)) and our votes are merely a feel good token.  Thank you TW for clearing that up.

    • Bill of Queensland says:

      07:47am | 25/11/12

      Do not muck about, CHUCK em out! Border security requires iron resolve! Tony Abbott has read the mood of Australian Taxpayers who are not deceived by the farrago of lies peddled by economic opportunists arriving at the Christmas Island visa factory. Tony is putting Australian battlers first! He is not abdicating Australian border security to the UN or providing open-ended budget for fraudsters whilst cutting back on life-saving therapy for Australian Cancer sufferers and slugging Taxpayers for private health insurance like LABOR is doing. LABOR GOVERNMENT failures necessitates far more drastic action to rectify than if LABOR had not dismantled the effective Liberal solution. Illegal arrivals will continue till the prospect of gaining entry is completely removed! Australia must rescind the 1951 UN Refugee convention to regain control of its borders. Illegal arrivals and those who have conned their way into Australia should be put on board a mothballed aircraft carrier under a flag of convenience staffed by foreign contractors and left in international waters till accepted by a third country and barred from entering Australia even after becoming citizens of a third country like NEW ZEALAND. Any country protesting this policy in the UN will be sent the whole lot!

    • Alex Mcdonnel says:

      10:36am | 25/11/12

      If Abbott and the coalition were in power today, they would e dealing with EXACTLY the same situation as Labor with asylum seekers. No one can ‘stop the boats’, There are very large numbers of asylum seekers on the move and many just buy a tourist visa and a plane ticket and fly in and disappear into the community. What is Abbott going to do about them?

    • Emma says:

      09:42am | 25/11/12

      Is it just me or do others think that none of the politicians are worth voting for? They talk rubbish, deliver nothing and don’t listen to voters. The majority of people want effective border control and immigration policy. They don’t want refugees country shopping and they certainly don’t want people getting refugee status because its easier to get here on a boat than apply through the proper channels.  The govt has the right idea sending back the economic refugees.
      As for the issues with the indigenous population… No amount of saying sorry or recognising their ancestors will make a difference until they as a group and individuals make an effort to move into the current century and take responsibility for their lives and actions.

 

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