Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Sniff sniff, “Tampa II”

Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 21, 2007

What do you do when you are a desperate regime facing electoral oblivion, the policy that’s driven most of the electoral angst continues to dominate the headlines in the final days of the campaign and you’ve launched a series of bungled attacks that keep blowing up in your face?

Well history suggests that this government keeps going back to what history suggests.

Let’s face it, the governments campaign has essentially been a “best of” exhibition of the Coalitions greatest hits from the museum of campaigns long past.

And what collection of greatest campaign hits from the Coalition would be complete without something to do with reffos in leaky boats?

I present to you, Tampa II

They are desperate, let’s see if they’re THAT desperate.


54 Responses to “Sniff sniff, “Tampa II””

  1. Pi said

    Clearly they were only picked up because they were throwing their children in the water.

  2. John V K said

    How outdated.

    This is so very two elections out of date.

    If it’s a tactic by the Liberals, wont be viewed well.

    I wont be rushing to comment, we need to know more a lot more.

    But impact this time probably squat, not thousands a boat. This election is really work choices. Personally I’d leave it with a statement just saying the immigration authorities will handle it. The people are safe and the Navy has done all that could be asked of them.

  3. Chatswood Statsman said

    Kevin’s too clever to be boxed in by this, but there is just enough time for a stuff up by Andrews, Nelson or Downer.

  4. Don Wigan said

    My God! Wonder if they’ll let Kevin Andrews out of the cupboard before polling day?

  5. sydgal said

    Andrews won’t comment according to the ABC and neither will Nelson.

    It seems everyone (Libs) are softly softly on this.

  6. Kina said

    What a perfect suicide position for Howard! It must be so tempting to want to try something yet, WE all know, that to play games with the situation this time will turn a landslide into a mascre, of the LNP. Tampa is too well known, Children Overboard lies too well known and Haneef too well known and other recent events. To touch this will only confirm the public’s opinion of Howard and his govt. I don’t think even a desperate Howard could be that stupid.

  7. CL de Footscray said

    Two things, really:

    If their anti-boat people policy is so effective, why are they still coming?

    Can they announce any new policy response (‘We will determine the people who drown in our territiorial waters, and the circumstances in which they drown’, for example) in caretaker mode?

    Beating this up has no advantage for the Libs – it only betrays the weakness of their argument. They may try to ship them all off to Nauru before Saturday but that would look even more desperate than Robb’s crapulous nonsense from yesterday.

    And do they really want to risk another Kevin Andrews debacle? I would have thought they want to keep him in the crypt along with Ruddock.

  8. Merri Creak said

    I’m not enough of a conspiracy theorist to think that the sinking boat was somehow prearranged, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Lib’s reaction to it reflects that they are trying to win in 2007 by using the tried and tested tactics that have worked in the past, something that has shown up all year.

    However, none of it – smearing Rudd, the fear campaign around the unions, the L-plates, the attempted wedges on the NT intervention, the Sudanese and on Dr. Hanif – has worked and neither will this. Perhaps it shows that you need new tricks to win an election, as well as luck. Howard has had no new tricks and no luck.

    I seem to remember a quote from George Orwell about Wellington’s comment that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. Perhaps it was true, commented Orwell, but the first battle of every subsequent war was lost there.

    If Labor wins I suspect a big part of the reason will be that most Australians no longer believe the Liberals anymore. As well as the fact that they haven’t presented a compelling reason to vote for them other than that the sky might fall in.

  9. Well, the media angle on this seems to be more “Navy rescues drowning children” rather than “Navy defends Australia against nasty dirty boat people”, and it’s hardly the headline story. Quickly forgotten.

  10. Rod said

    As it stands at present it probably helps Labor more than hinders. It reminds people of Tampa, of Children Overboard, of SIEV X etc. It reminds people that truthfulness is not a prominent Aussie “value” when it comes to the Libs at election time.

    Whatever the story, I’m sure we are all glad the people are safe, at least for the present. Lets all hope that they don’t have to suffer the same official abuse and prolonged life destroying incarceration that both major parties seem to be all too prepared to countenance, after the election.

    The suggestion that they are to be transferred to a larger vessel points to further implementation of the so-called “overseas solution”, I fear.

    Has anyone seen information indicating where they were actually rescued? “Off Western Australia” could mean just about anywhere east from Madagascar!

  11. Kymbos said

    I had a little shudder when I saw that article. Unlike most people, my loathing of this Government is based more on refugee policy than almost anything else. Sadly, if they try to wedge, Kevin will get around it by announcing a stance equally as draconian as the Governments.

  12. Trish McDonald said

    Up here in Darwin we’ve been taking bets on just what form the 2007 Election Invasion of the Boat People would take.
    Most of us speculated that Mr. Andrews and Mr Ruddick were up there in Indonesia or Timor looking for a small, leaky boat and some very skinny people. And yesterday, when we saw the surveilance aircraft taking off in numbers, we knew it was on!
    Now we’re taking bets on whether it will be ‘Saint Andrews’ dropping down from a helicopter with cream cakes and a title to land in Tourak, or the SAS Terrorist Unit that will be first to reach them! With so many children floating around in the water, I think this will be yet another ‘mea culpa’ from Mr. Howard, as he continues on his road to Damascus.
    You would think the Liberal Party machine would have learnt by now, wouldn’t you – especially after Mr. Howard’s well-rehearsed ‘escape’ from the smoke-filled airplane!

  13. Dinsdale Piranha said

    Nope. Won’t work. It isn’t prominent on the newspaper websites, which means it’s a non-starter. Look at the way yesterday’s efforts were squashed by the media. Even if it had legs, the “desperation” theme would be promulgated writ large.

  14. Return with Interest said

    Poss, Have a look at Roy Morgan’s poll of Perth marginals.

    Headline TTP of Liberal 50.5%, ALP 49.5%. But when you check out the table, I can’t understand the transfer of preferences. There is an increase in green vote and slight increase to the ALP but the ALP TTP goes backwards compared to 2004. WTF ?

  15. Sir Henry Casingbroke said

    Okay, thank you all for coming again today. Some of you will stay to do the envelopes and stack the how-to-vote cards but the rest of you please slip into these clothes that are in the plastic bags over there. Mary here will help with the make up. Now, when you are in costume, please go directly to the bus that will take you to the jetty where the vessel is waiting. One more thing, do not, I repeat, do not take the instruction sheet but leave it in the office with your IDs, valuables and any personal effects that could identify you, as we have discussed yesterday. On the bus you will be given a set of fake personal effects. Once on the boat, after the navy interception, Greg here will give the signal to jump into the water. It will be perfectly safe, shark repellent will have been spread in the area and divers will be underneath.

    Finally, I appreciate your volunteering for this. You all realise what is at stake and how important this is. Mr Howard has asked me to thank you personally. If the job you do is successful and we win on Saturday, we will all have a better future, including overseas postings, endorsements at a later date, and good jobs. Rest assured. Okay, let’s do it gang!

  16. George said

    Relax everyone, this is such a non-story.

  17. Michael said

    I’ve seen a few references to the Irish election by conservatives trying to find a parallel which might help them.

    Out of interest, does anyone know whether Ireland has compulsory voting? I expect not.

  18. Enemy Combatant said

    “April 4th,1984. Last night to the flicks….one very good one of a ship of refugees being bombed…… then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicopter hovering over it…..there was middle aged woman sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms…… screaming with fright hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself…..she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him……helicopter planted a bomb….terrific flash as boat turned to matchwood…..wonderful shot of a child’s arm going up into the air….and there was a lot of applause from The Party seats…….”

    Extract from Part 1 of Orwell’s masterwork, edited for brevity.

    Kevin Andrews, in textbook Doublethink, vililfies “The Other” in the course of his ministerial duties.
    Kevin Andrews then winds himself up on Sundays to pray for the salvation of their immortal souls.

  19. Warwick said

    This begs the questions: Where were the National surveillance people? Didn’t they observe this boat long before it made it’s way to the coast? Why was the boat allowed to get so close to our shores before we acted? Perhaps, just perhaps, the boat was ALLOWED to sail on in. After all, there is an election on .. right?

  20. JP said

    Sure it’s a non-story, but the Libs will try to make mileage anyway – but not as a wedge.

    Howard is a great re-writer of history, and this will provide him a chance to treat a dozen or so people humanely, and let that somewhat cancel out all the sins of the past (well, that’s according to Howard’s theory of “overall impressions”).

    It won’t work, because surely as most here have pointed out refugees/immigration is one of Rudd’s issues and the more attention it gets, the more people will remember Tampa, SievX, TPVs, 457s, Solon and Rau and be encouraged to vote Labor.

  21. Possum Comitatus said

    Return with Interest – When I look at those Morgan primaries, I end up with an ALP TPP vote of just over 51%, and that’s giving the Coalition a favourable preference distribution.

    It must be some of that magic Morgan dust to get a Coalition lead from those numbers.

  22. Callum said

    Don’t worry, even most of the marsupial population have turned off the election coverage and found other distractions.

  23. mick said

    I don’t think that this is going to be an issue. Especially when Mark Vaile starts dissing the only friends the Libs have left…

  24. moritz said

    Why is there such a lack of nuclear issues in the last week? Only votenuclearfree.net gives some information about the parties policies.

  25. B1 said

    moritz – my suspicion is that the ALP have kept the nuclear issue up their sleve a bit. I think the “reactors in your backyard” line was going to be used if needed but they haven’t needed it and so haven’t used it as it is not risk free.

  26. Rod said

    Warwick writes: “Why was the boat allowed to get so close to our shores”

    If this boat was found, as the Age on line article now suggests, somewhere near the Jabiru Oil field in the Timor sea, it was still a long, long way from the Australian coast, Warwick. May well have actually been closer to Timor than Oz, in fact.

  27. paul said

    Later today their identity will be confirmed as a disgruntled group of Liberal party Staffers fleeing an annihilation.

  28. steve_e said

    Technically until the rescued people from the sunk boat state that they seek “Asylum” they are just lucky rescuees from a bad boat trip and they will remain on Christmas Island. If they state that Asylum is their objective then they get to go to Nauru.

    Perhaps they can read the tea leaves and will hold off their decision on Asylum until Sunday when their options are likely to be a bit clearer.

    Until they state their position there will be no action.

  29. Mark said

    Moritz and B1, I am in Cook and they (ALP) are handing out flyers saying that a nuclear rector would most likely built at Towra Point (near Kurnell).

    Now lets see: one oil refinery…check; one desalination plant…check; one nuclear reactor…on order. All we need now is a pulp mill and we’ll have a royal flush!


  30. 2 tanners said

    OT, but Possum, as an electronic medium, do you get backed out along with TA and radio, or is it just advertisements? And in these days of infotainment and (ahem) ‘committed’ commentators, how does one tell the difference?

  31. Simon said

    You’re all totally insane if you think that boat was “planted” by Howard. I pity you all.

  32. Possum Comitatus said

    2 tanners,

    The only things that get blacked out are political advertising. Media, commentary analysis in any format continues on as usual. Interestingly, political advertising can still run online.

    How does one tell the difference – that is a very good question!

  33. B1 said

    Mark – that’s interesting; I guess it is being used in specific spots where it is likely/needed to have an impact.

  34. JP said

    Simon @31

    Of course it wasn’t planted by Howard.

    But if it had happened any other week, it would barely have made the news – so why is it on the front page of smh.com.au?

    The most logical explanation is that the media sniff a Tampa, because they’re not very bright. Still, there’s some copy in the parallels in timing, and everything else has been pretty dull.

    So now that it’s on the front pages, how will the Libs react? Let it through to the keeper I’d reckon, with a bit of spin about how well these people were treated by our brave, fine and true Navy.

    But in the context of a Liberal party clutching at straws with increased desperation, I think it’s fair to ask “what else might they do?”.

  35. Stephen T said

    Te He! Love it poss got em going that time. All over red rover. You and I know ain’t no one gonna give a shit. Goin Down Bro.

  36. Stephen T said

    Sorrrry that is cpital PPPP Poss Oops!

  37. Ed said

    Erm, Simon … I think all are joking.

    Mind you, no one would be surprised were it to be discovered to be true.

  38. Rog said

    It’s true that Bertie Ahern in Ireland was behind in the polls until the final week before coming through to win, but he wasn’t as far behind as Howard is now. Also, the polls in Ireland were vary variable: ours have been steady all year. Howard is toast – the Libs are kidding themselves and have nothing to cling to.

  39. Neocom said

    650 klm west of Darwin – is this Australian Territory?
    Maybe they were just a family out fishing off Timor and Nelson got the navy to grab ’em. Of course not I should slap myself for saying that!

    Anyone know what’s happened to ozforums?

  40. Kirribilli Removals said

    Rudd is the master! The greatest strategist in modern Australian politics!

    He’s organised some trained actors into a sinking boat and had the Australian Navy rescue them.

    Brilliant! Utter Masterstroke!!!

    Now, Johnny, tell us who will come and the manner etc, etc?

  41. Simon said

    JP, I have friends/contacts in the Navy – and I’m telling you again – you guys are nuts. You just can’t see how your paranoia and ideology is warping your judgement. Again, I pity you.

  42. Simon said

    JP, Ok, I’ll take some of that patronising back……but I must say I respect my friends in the Navy. And I am amazed by some on the Left if not you personally. There’s nothing to react to mate! It’s nothing like the Tampa. It might simply reinforce existing views for some. This isn’t just be a media attempt to live in the past – but from some of those on the Left of politics to. That’s all I’ve heard from the media this morning – ABC radio – hinting at a Tampa. It isn’t the Liberals who are doing it! Paradoxically they may be helping Howard – even if just hinting at it!

  43. Simon said

    Erm, fair enough. But I’m still hearing these commentaries on radio – and they aren’t joking! Some people are so paranoid about Howard’s “rabbit out of the hat” they’re prepared to believe anything.

  44. seajay said

    I know quite a few Navy folk and they wouldn’t be party to any funny business – too many good people were disgusted by the Children Overboard Incident to keep quiet again.
    I have posted elsewhere that i suspect there is a big move to Labor among defence personnel because of politicisation of the upper echelons of the Forces and absolutely awful materiel (supply) problems; especially with the Steyr rifle. It is no coincidence that there are a number of ex-ADF officers running as Labor candidates.
    Simon, i think people are having a laugh rather than accusing the Navy of doing bad things. Tampa II it ain’t; there is only one ship sinking and Captain Rodent has not had the sense to abandon ship – a rare case of a rat going down with a sinking ship.

  45. Simon said

    seajay, that’s alright, I understand. I just remember my university days not long ago when some of my “colleagues” were insinuating in their documentary that Australian Navy folk had been involved in ‘letting” people drown. First time I every yelled out in protest at a screening. It is a raw point for me is all. I’m not angry at anyone on this blog, &I understand the humour, I’m just frustrated that the media made an issue of it at all!

  46. Rod said

    Sounds increasingly strange. According to an ABC report the boat was carrying members of a single Vietnamese family, who had disappeared from an Indonesian camp. – see http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/21/2097104.htm If this is accurate it is most peculiar.

    Most Vietnamese who come to Australia these days simply immigrate, and I haven’t heard of any Vietnamese boat arrivals in Oz for many a year.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  47. john said

    The coalition is like a gambler playing Russian roulette on this issue but with every chamber loaded—do it do it!

  48. Simon said

    Maybe they came – not as some Howard conspiracy – but they heard there was going to be a Rudd Labor victory and they hope to get sent to Christmas Island instead of Nauru 😉

  49. Rod said

    I might say that one, very worrying, suggestion contained in some of the material relating to this episode is that it appears that civilian vessels were not prepared to rescue the people in the boat, because of Australian immigration laws and the events which ensued after the Tampa picked people up. Hence the prolonged wait until the Navy could get there.

  50. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said

    Amused to read about the laterst LNP smear against Newhouse in Wentworth today. Apparently they dug up some old student union article where his campaign manager had opposed the creation of a zionist state. I tell you these guys would sell their souls to stay in power. (oh no! was that horns I saw protruding from rodent’s head on last nights interview with Keza?)

  51. Rod said

    It is now looking as if the “boat people” might actually simply be a boatload of fishing families from Roti Island who’d got into strife.

    Nevertheless, it seems they are being whisked off to temporary incarceration on Christmas Island regardless. – see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22796072-601,00.html

  52. JP said

    Simon @ 41, 42, 43

    I think you need to take a nice bex and lie down 😉

    I actually agree with you, you know. Read my post again.

    I said the media would draw parallels because they’re not very bright.

    I said the Libs would attempt no wedge, but instead play up the fine qualities of the Navy and our sailors. I agree they are fine people. I suggested that the Libs would, if they did anything at all, go a bit over the top in pointing out how good our Navy was. My suggestion in no way reflects on the Navy, just the Liberal Party spin machine.

    Now go read your posts again (and again) until you realise just how stupid you look by calling anyone paranoid.

  53. Rod said

    So, we have sent two patrol boats to ‘rescue” a couple of Indonesian fishing families (who could have been helped out by the local shipping if it wasn’t for Kevin Andrews constraints). We are then using HMAS Tobruk , a 6000 ton ship, to transport these people hundreds of kilometres to Christmas Island (despite the fact that the Minister’s office says it doesn’t know if they are seeking asylum or not – it actually seems more likely that they are not), where they will be “processed” and have “health and character checks” undertaken!

    I wonder whether the Minister or the PM will announce the costs of this highly questionable operation before the election? I wonder what a ball park figure would be? A million or so, perhaps? . Running large ships doesn’t come cheap. What marvelous economic managers they are! -)

  54. cinyc said

    Well, Tampa II didn’t work – there’s only one more trick up their sleeves, and that has to wait until after the election – the ‘Mugabe Option’.

    The ‘inaccuracies’and ‘ineligibilities’ of (Labor) candidates applications, ‘tampering with ballot papers’ (by Labor, of course) (already trying that one on in the NT), and some clumsily choreographed ‘accidents’ during counting and scrutinising, will all be held up as the reason for Howard to continue as ‘Caretaker Prime Minister’ – and who will stop him?

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