I understand that our media has collapsed into knee jerk reactions in an effort to be first, and that we have to wait a couple of days for proper analysis but the rubbish being sprouted at the moment about the Houston panel’s recommendations beggars belief.
The more vocal among the “sky is falling crowd” are trying to credit this as an Abbott win which rather flies in the face of the detail.
In keeping with the chaos of the reporting, it’s nigh on impossible to find the actual 22 recommendations made by the panel even when trolling media web sites. I guess this means they are more interested in analysis than actual reporting of the data and this is a shame because I would like to see just how many of the recommendations can be claimed by Tony.
The 5 that are being shown, and I’m guessing they come straight from a table in the report, are
- Reopening Nauru
- Opening a new centre in PNG
- Implementing the Malaysia solution
- Increasing the intake by 6,250
- Allowing 4,000 more family reunions
So out of the top 5 how many can Tony claim? By my count it’s just 1. The first one. The missing 17, who can tell but I’m betting if Tony owned any of them they would be in the list.
And how good is that part of the plan? Not as good as the Malaysia option in my opinion and for several reasons.
Firstly cost. Nauru 1.2 to 1.4 billion. Malaysia 80 million. Nope. That’s not a typo. Just 80 million.
Secondly, deterrent. The Malaysia solution immediately sends the asylum seekers straight back. No chance for the People Smugglers to hide the fact. Tony’s solution of Nauru however gives the impression of some success in getting the applicants just that bit closer to Oz. Sort of a reward for effort. You can bet your house the People Smugglers present this as jumping up the queue wether it’s true or not.
Perhaps by the end of the week we might see some real analysis rather than Press releases from Tony’s office but it could take longer. After all Canberra does exist in it’s own reality and the reporters seem to live there too.
Overall though, it has been a great leap forward on a number of fronts.
- We finally have a chance to protect unaccompanied minors.
- The Greens have blown their cred by rejecting the recommendations even before they were released. Didn’t even bother to pretend they would examine the contents.
- There is half a chance we can undermine the folk offering the use of their leaky boats.
So the take home message from all the background noise is this. Things have stepped forward and Tony was a factor in one of the weakest recommendations. And the biggie, take the histrionics of the shock jocks and commentators with a grain of salt. Rather than get sucked into their lazy summary wait awhile or better still, read the data and have a bit of a think. More than likely your analysis will be stronger than the folk who need to build the drama.