Is Kevin Rudd's flippy stance on asylum seekers a future-focused strategy to make him more popular? Or less?
Kevin Rudd, October 2006 :
"Another great challenge of our age is asylum seekers. The biblical injunction to care for the stranger in our midst is clear. The parable of the Good Samaritan is but one of many which deal with the matter of how we should respond to a vulnerable stranger in our midst.Kevin Rudd, October 2009 :
"We should never forget that the reason we have a UN convention on the protection of refugees is in large part because of the horror of the Holocaust, when the West (including Australia) turned its back on the Jewish people of Germany and the other occupied countries of Europe who sought asylum during the '30s."
"I make absolutely no apology whatsoever for taking a hard-line on illegal immigration to Australia".As Chris Ulhmann, on ABC OffAir, makes clear, in a crystal clear deconstruction of Rudd's religious politicism :
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"...this Government makes no apology whatsoever for the fact that we have a tough line on asylum seekers"
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"(The Liberal Party) is a party without one skerrick of moral compass when it comes to people smuggling", he said.
Rudd's moral compass on asylum seekers now appears to be spinning crazily, searching for the strongest attraction.
The Opposition's compass at least has the virtue of pointing, roughly, in one direction.
The Government has softened Australia's stance towards asylum seekers and it is determined to maintain strong border protection. These are not mutually exclusive propositions and there are defensible, reasons for doing both.But confronted with a rising tide of boat people it panicked because it was scared its policy changes would be blamed for the influx and the electorate would punish it.
But when RuddGov's poll numbers fall five or six points in the next few weeks, and the TurnOpp stages its biggest poll boost this year, will Kevin Rudd be upset?
I'm going with happy.
Rudd doesn't want to go into the 2010 federal elections with 70% of Australians favouring him as prime minister. Where's the challenge in that?
He'll be even happier when the heated protests by die-hard RuddLabor voters, appalled at his fliporama on asylum seekers, begin.
If they begin....