This week, somehow more so than previous weeks, has been a disaster for the Coalition. The party has been rocked by scandals, seen continued fallout from their indifference and neglect regarding the bushfires, and one of the most troubling Bills they’ve introduced got thrown back in the Senate. They may have a majority in the House, but true integrity can’t be deregistered.
While Lambie was an uncertainty (who did well this time), it was quite a shock to find out that One Nation voted with Labor and the Greens against the Ensuring Integrity Bill. It’s a shameful day in our nation’s politics when we have to rely on One Nation’s vote to retain the Union movement, and I almost feel dirty saying credit should be given to them for not selling out. The next test of their worth in Parliament will be the Medevac Bill, which the government is trying to get repealed.
Here the stance of One Nation will be obvious, but Lambie has thrown it into disarray, although not entirely positively. She believes in the Sovereign Borders policy, wishing to keep us all safe from those anxious and utterly demoralised refugees, but says that Medevac does still fall in line with that. She has indicated that she will help the government repeal the Bill on one condition – not the first time the Tasmanian Senator has issued an ultimatum for her vote.
While instantly bringing all of the refugees to Australia is the logical and moral choice, both on humanitarian and financial grounds, Lambie’s proposition is something the government has already rejected a number of times – third country resettlement with New Zealand. It has been rejected on the grounds that a lifelong ban on these refugees cannot be guaranteed, meaning that you can have a go unless your fleeing from a war-torn country we probably had our own go in.
Whether Medevac is kept in place or Lambie’s morally ambiguous ultimatum is implemented, it essentially (unless they can somehow pull off the ban) leaves the government unable to bar these people from entering the country if, in time, they wish to – or need to on medical grounds. The Coalition has tried everything to damage the Bill, including a wasteful pre-election spending spree on Christmas Island that fell through, so for them to lose their fight to repeal it would show just how incompetent they are at gambling the public’s money.
Whether it is Unions or refugees, fighting for the rights of people against the increasingly totalitarian government of the day is necessary. To see the crossbench in the Senate deny and delay the government two of their major policy points (for now) is encouraging. If only this fervour from them and the public was evident during the election campaign, we might have had a different government.
Liked this? Read Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs: A Reflection
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