Rudd bordering on delusion
To personify the policy ineptitude, moral posturing, political expediency and traumatic failures of our border protection experience over the past decade and a half, look no further than Kevin Rudd. As opposition leader in 2007, he pledged to maintain John Howard’s maritime security regime. “You’d turn them back,” he said of the boats. Then, as prime minister, Mr Rudd ignored warnings and dismantled the Pacific solution, triggering perhaps the greatest public policy failure this nation has ever seen. Over the next five years people-smugglers launched 800 voyages delivering more than 50,000 asylum-seekers to Australia. At least 1200 people drowned at sea while detention centres were opened and filled in every state. Mr Rudd and his successor, Julia Gillard, claimed this was beyond their control, blaming so-called push factors and sticking to disastrous policies. After the desperate Malaysian people-swap was ruled out by the courts, they restarted offshore processing on the cusp of an election. And Mr Rudd said boat turnbacks would risk conflict with Indonesia.
The Coalition has proved Mr Rudd wrong, turning back boats, stopping the people-smugglers and closing 17 centres. Now, to urge further resettlements, it looks to legislate a lifetime ban Mr Rudd endorsed in his rhetoric — but he has sought the high moral ground and slammed the move. His changeability and opportunism are extraordinary. He should apologise for his tragic failures and never speak on the issue again.