The Northern Territory news Tue 30 Jul 2013
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14 NT NEWS. Tuesday, July 30, 2013. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 3 0 -J U L -2 0 1 3 P A G E : 1 4 C O L O R : C M Y K PNGplan to slow the boats is already in stormywaters Asylum seekers are still arriving by boat, proving Kevin Rudds Papua New Guinea plan is a failure, says Andrew Bolt KEVIN Rudd banked everything on his Papua New Guinea deal slowing the boats before the election. Hes lost already. Boat people arrivals have actually jumped to about 150 a day, and Rudds small chance of an election win is unravelling fast. What seemed Rudds masterstroke 10 days ago a plan to send all new boat people to PNG is now dangerously close to a fiasco. I asked the PM several times on the Bolt Report whether voters would see his plan work before they went to the polls perhaps two or three months from now. Rudd refused to give that guarantee. Worse, he claimed it could take many months to see results. We would need to see the implementation of this policy over a period of time and its effect over many months, he declared. Rudd argues that asylum seekers who have already paid people smugglers are still coming because they have nothing to lose, but those still back in source countries wont now risk their money if theyll just land in PNG. Plausible in theory but Rudd does not have the time to prove it. Or, it seems, the capacity; his plan is so far being swamped by sheer weight of numbers. Some 1200 boat people have turned up since Rudd signed his unenforceable arrangement with PNG in exchange for giving that notoriously corrupt country more control over our $500 million a year in aid, and more uncosted handouts. But PNGs one detention centre, on Manus Island, has not 1200 places, but as few as 300. Yes, the Government promises to quickly expand the centre, but quickly in PNG time is not. Its already a year since the Gillard Government first announced it would build the Manus detention centre to house 600 inmates, but construction of permanent accommodation is still not likely to be finished before January, and is reportedly behind even that schedule. The army will have to create a tent city with sewerage and water facilities to hold the thousands expected to come before the election. Think that will happen fast and big enough to deter many boat people? Maybe Rudd will yet astonish us, but so far the only planes hes sent to Manus have been not to send boat people back, but bring back ones already there including six accused of raping another detainee. If the boats do not slow soon, attention will again focus not on Rudd solving the boat people crisis, but creating it. Rudd denies he made a mistake in 2008 in scrapping the Howard governments tough border laws that had cut boat arrivals to an average of just three a year. He claims his only possible mistake was in not reacting faster a year or two later when world circumstances then changed. Rudd means by that the last spasms of the Sri Lankan civil war, which had been raging for a quarter of a century, and he glosses over the fact that just 211 Sri Lankans arrived in 2010. He simply cannot accept that the real cause of our border crisis was not a Sri Lankan war in 2010, but Kevin Rudd in 2008. As I pointed out to him on my show, an Australian Federal Police report, prepared in late 2008 with help from Immigration Department officials, ASIO and the Border Protection Service, warned people smugglers were back in business because Rudd had weakened our laws. Reporting indicates that people smugglers will market recent changes to Australias immigration policy to entice potential illegal immigrants, it correctly noted. This may cause a rise in the number of attempted arrivals. That report, Strategic Intelligence Forecast: Transnational Criminal Trends and Threats to Australia, was sent to the Department of Prime Minister in March 2009. Rudd said he did not recall seeing it: I am not familiar with the one you have referred to nor would you expect me to be familiar with it if it went to my department. I wouldnt? Rudd also said he had not seen a warning in December 2008 from the International Organisation for Migration that people smugglers have clearly noted that there has been a change in policy and over the last year theres been a considerable kick-up. Said Rudd: Both of those would in fact have been part of a multitude of reports coming to the Government with different analyses. But the evidence suggests Rudd heard only advice he liked and ignored grim predictions that proved true. He bizarrely dismissed the two warnings from 2008 as just 20/20 vision in hindsight. Well, here is another warning: the PNG deal is in danger of collapse, Prime Minister. Whats Labors Plan G?