Gillard government – Not a time for political point-scoring but the sinking is all that mongrel Abbott’s fault for refusing to vote for our Malaysia Solution amendments.
Coalition – Scott Morrison says “the tragedy confirmed the Coalition’s worst fears” but restrains himself from expressly blaming Labor until tomorrow, when he’ll assert for the umpteenth that it would never have happened but for Labor’s abandonment of Saint John Howard’s Nauru and temporary protection visa policy. Morrison will embrace the safe bet that a supine media will fail to point out that consistent strong DIAC advice is that the Nauru Solution simply won’t work nor notice that the tiny island nation has had three different prime ministers in the last three weeks, the first of whom resigned after corruption allegations which are unsurprising to anyone who remembers that Nauru survived for some years after the guano ran out by turning itself into a tax haven and laundering billions plundered by the Russian Mafia.
Convulsive conspiracy theorist Tony Kevin instantly and despite a complete lack of evidence claims conspiracy and “cover-up” by ASIO and Kopassus to sink the boat deliberately to frighten and deter asylum seekers (viz re-run of his SIEV X conspiracy theories for which there was also no evidence). David Marr can be expected to launch into a prissily sanctimonious version of the same refrain in the next couple of days.
Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition and Sarah Hanson-Young of the Greens claim it’s both major parties’ fault for “demonising” people smugglers and failing to realise that the best policy would be to make it easier for them to use safe vessels. If only those heartless government bastards didn’t confiscate the smugglers’ boats and burn them, they’d be able to charter really big and seaworthy vessels (like old cruise liners for instance) and make even bigger profits transporting the yearning masses to Australia in thousands at a time.
Peter van Onselen makes the most sense on Twitter:
“Bottom line is the arguments of the simplistic left & right on this issue don’t provide answers & moralizing about deaths at sea won’t help.”
I still argue that some version of the Malaysia Solution with adequate assured human rights safeguards + an expanded Australian humanitarian migration target of 20,000 per year (now official Labor policy) would be the least bad ex tempore solution, but the chances of Malaysia agreeing to adequate safeguards (because it fears making itself a magnet for asylum seekers in the guise of waiting room for Oz migration) or Abbott voting to enable such an approach (despite urgings from even the Murdoch press) are remote. Merry Christmas?