The blind seem to be leading the blind here in Canberra, with both sides in danger of falling into a ditch. The special Liberal party room meeting today again elevates same-sex marriage to a dangerous level for the Prime Minister. Though perhaps the distraction isn’t entirely unwelcome.
The proposed amalgamation of various security agencies into a single Home Affairs department is something the government would rather the public forget. If the plan goes ahead the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would find himself elevated into the same position as Theresa May before she became British Prime Minister.
Malcolm Turnbull must have been truly delighted to be called a conservative and worse over this plan and the planned immigration reforms. Certain members of the press branded the proposal for new citizens to swear allegiance to Australia “retrograde” and “literally medieval”. If only the Prime Minister could get half the backbench to start equating him with retrograde crusaders (instead of the black death) his leadership problems might disappear.
The United Nations was among those appalled that new citizens might swear allegiance to Australia and be expected to demonstrate some kind of loyalty to their new country. Language proficiency and borders are indeed retrograde according to our friends in Geneva.
Unfortunately for the Coalition the week before Parliament resumed was dominated by same-sex nuptials and convict republics. Instilling basic English in new migrants, as opposed to Esperanto, and maintaining strong borders are probably among the Coalition’s most internally unifying and popular policies.
Security and immigration reform are being introduced at a time of heightened alert for the public, including a foiled plan to blow up a commercial flight out of Sydney. They are also coming amidst Senate resignations linked to dual citizenship. One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts is likely to be replaced by Pauline Hanson’s sister (assuming the Anglo-Indian doesn’t defect to the Raj first).
Unfortunately, every time a Liberal MP mentions the outrageously expensive cufflinks their gay lover bought them Mr Turnbull’s policies on security and borders are forgotten. Every time a Liberal MP needlessly mentions the rainbow republic the governments signature polices are again forgotten. It took the leak of a Trump-Turnbull phone transcript to remind the voting public of the Prime Ministers efforts.
Home Affairs might need to be buried in press releases but Australian border control remains a popular and unifying policy. It seems the Coalition is preparing to rip itself to ribbons over whether grown men should get wedding cakes or whether Bill Shorten would make a good president.
This week’s debates, and particularly the terrorist airport shutdowns, reminded me of Christopher Hitchens’ repeated prediction that the West would be too busy debating nonsense like LGBTQI policy when the Ayatollahs calmly pressed the big red button.
The United Nations is probably hammering away at its next verbal missile to the Australian Senate about our retrograde borders. The ABC is already popping the wedding champagne with Wilson & Co looking forward to harbourside invites once they leave Parliament. Perhaps the Tim Wilsons of the world should be called “Gala Conservatives”, invitations to Champaign Socialist parties seems more important to such people than winning the next election.
As Parliament prepares for another sitting period the Coalition seems ready to tear itself apart over an issue chosen by the opposition. That the issue relates to LGBTQI policy seems oddly ominous in context. Security and strong borders remain the Coalitions bread and butter. No conservative Prime Minister has ever won on a platform of gay weddings and pinko republics.
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