Andrew Bolt accuses Kevin Rudd of having “lured” people to their deaths. It’s a Bolt column that draws on some of his common themes – just as he has denigrated the “benefits” and the privileged lifestyle given to people who identify as Aboriginal, he seems very resentful of the charmed life these asylum seekers receive at the hands of the Australian Government. He also seems down on the notions of due process and procedural fairness, which he sees as letting people cling to their wonderful life in immigration detention until the Government apparently gives up and lets them stay. And he again turns causal logic on its head so that current events are able to influence the rationale for earlier policies.
But as well as the major themes of suspicion and hate, Andrew inserts a string of little howlers:
So how nice is it to have now lured at least three people to their deaths? To have not one child overboard—oh, what a confected scandal that was …
Confected by whom, exactly?
The Rudd Government tried at first to deny and dodge, but West Australian Premier Colin Barnett let the mangy cat out of the bag—Defence sources had told him the explosion was caused when the boat people spread petrol around their vessel, clearly to prevent being turned away.
Taking a politician’s comment about Defence personnel reports as established fact before an investigation has been conducted? It’s “children overboard” all over again in at least one sense.
But if politicians must be blamed for boat people dying, then blame Rudd rather than Howard. It’s still unfair, yes, but far, far more justified.
How can a person acknowledge something is unfair and yet still claim it is justified? (Although, I suppose that is exactly what one must do to support the harsh policies of detention and holding threats over the heads of asylum seekers.)
Rudd and his ministers have tried to insist the sudden rise in arrivals has nothing to do with them going soft. It’s Afghans fleeing a country gone bad, they claim, as if Afghanistan hasn’t been a basket case for years.
Things can, unfortunately, go from bad to worse – as, for instance, in Afghanistan, where the rates of civilian and coalition troop deaths have risen, with the sharpest rise being in the past year or two. Perhaps that might explain the rise in people fleeing from that country?
But good news. Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus at last admitted yesterday that laws against people smuggling must be toughened, after all.
But here’s the sick joke. It’s Indonesia’s laws that are too soft, he claims, not our own.
A position that even Greg Sheridan agrees with.
Unfortunately, it seems that at least one of Bolt’s readers has taken the wrong message from his column:
I just don’t know how people react with such hate to Andrew’s virtuous call to preserve the welfare of asylum seekers. But unlike the Government, at least those among Bolt’s readers with such attitudes don’t need to worry about:
… how different is seeming good from actually achieving it.