Its hard to feel any sympathy for Labor on the asylum seeker issue, in the first instance they created the rod that has been so effectively bruising them since Kevin Rudd decided that he could tinker with the successful regime that he inherited form John Howard. Now that Labor have nearly got back to where they started from they seem desperate to retain the poisoned chalice of the Malaysian solution, probably because they know that not being able to send 800 boat arrivals to Malaysia whiles still being obliged to take 4000 refugees form there is going to do a fine job of reminding the voters that this is an inept regime. Gillard has been trying to wedge Tony abbot on the issue but I think that result will be (if you can forgive the mixed metaphor) an “Own Wedgie”:
Tony Abbott is right to be reluctant to give Labor a blank cheque here because if he does then he has to take some ownership of the government policy success or more likely failure and the opposition position that they want the act amended so that the minister can only forward asylum seekers to offshore locations that are , like Australia, signatories to the refugee convention is far more ethically defensible than the blank cheque that Gillard is asking for here.
We shall see how this unfolds in the coming week, I’m hoping that Gillard et al see sense and accept something more qualified and sensible that the opposition will support because apart from deciding to go commando there seem to be no way that Gillard can escape some sort of widgie here its really just a question of just how painful she wants it to be.