Malcolm Turnbull Runs the Country but Tony Abbott Rules the Waves

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Malcolm Turnbull Runs the Country but Tony Abbott Rules the Waves

Media Release
Saturday November 21, 2015 06:00am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"Yesterday's unexpected boat arrival at Christmas Island's Flying Fish Cove and the Prime Minister's subsequent refusal to elaborate to assembled reporters by engaging with the issue during his Darwin visit was the most convincing proof - if any was needed at all - that Malcolm Turnbull might well want to keep everyone under the illusion that he is running the country, but that the 'former Prime Minister in exile' Tony Abbott unquestionably Rules The Waves," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said today.

"Turnbull turned his repeated statements that he would run an 'open' and 'modern, 21st Century' government into a sick joke when he resorted to the manipulative statements of the Tony Abbott government, using former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's heinous secrecy spin by using the line that his government would not comment on 'on-water matters'. Mr Turnbull gave absolute proof to reporters that he is a prisoner of the extreme hard-right of the Liberal party's Abbott faction, implicitly delivering evidence that he is happy to destroy any illusion that he is a leader governing in his own right," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

"It's not just the Christmas Island boat arrival that is being kept secret by the 'ultra-modern, 21st Century, black leather-wearing smiling wealthy autocrat' Malcolm Turnbull. This week reports surfaced in the Jakarta Post, Channel News Asia [1], and reported locally on ABC Radio [2], suggesting that Australia is fully engaged with Indonesia about the offer to Australia of an Indonesian island, according to Channel News Asia, as a 'holding facility', and according to ABC-PM as a 'processing facility' for asylum seekers. It's high time that the Prime Minister starts talking to the Australian people what exactly is taking place. The Australian people foot an annual billion-dollar bill for the world's most heinous and destructive jailing policy for asylum seekers. It's time the Prime Minister starts informing the Australian people exactly how many more billions of dollars he plans to dispense with - and exactly for what purpose."

"The Prime Minister, commenting on the Christmas Island boat, took reporters - and thereby the Australian people - for idiots and fools by blatantly using Scott Morrison's past life's 'on water-secrecy' spin. For many thousands of Australians and refugee advocates it was a sickening and disgusting moment, reminding them that Tony Abbott and his extremist, refugee-hating friends have their thumbscrews fully dug into Malcolm Turnbull's fingers."

"Malcolm Turnbull needs to start talking to the Australian people about what exactly his plans are with an island in the Indonesian archipelago. For almost two decades many refugee advocates have supported a strategy of fully assessing, processing and speedily resettling in new countries the more than 10,000 refugees in Indonesia so nobody needs to resort to smugglers to sail them to Australia on dilapidated boats. If Turnbull has plans we need to be informed."

"If on the other hand, Malcolm Turnbull intends to sink many more of the billions of squandered taxpayer dollars that are destroying the lives and futures of asylum seekers with a new design on a forgotten Indonesian island, we will condemn him and frame his picture in the halls of Australian shame of Prime Ministers and Immigration Ministers, where he will hang as a human rights criminal alongside Paul Keating and Gerry Hand who first started jailing asylum seekers, to John Howard and Philip Ruddock, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and their respective Immigration Ministers, and Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison."

[1] - "Indonesia offers island for Australia to hold asylum seekers". Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel News Asia 20 Nov 2015.

[2] - "Suggestion Indonesia may offer island to Australia for processing of asylum seekers". Adam Harvey, ABC Radio Current Affairs - PM, Nov 20, 2015.

Jack H Smit
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