JOHN MENADUE. Scott Morrison did not stop the boats.

 The myth  is repeated time and time again that  Scott Morrison ,the Coalition and Operation Sovereign Borders stopped the boats. They did not. But if you tell a lie time and time again people will believe it. It is a marketing trick that Scott Morrison has  learned well.

 I expect that many in the media will continue the myth about the stopping of the boats. Perhaps being careless in the first place the media finds it embarrassing to now admit error.  

Sorry if I keep repeating myself but facts are facts. As a US Senator put it ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinions but no one is entitled to their own facts’

Peter Hughes and I posted two blogs in September 2015 (‘Slogans versus facts on boat arrivals’ Part 1 and Part 2) that pointed out first, that Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison kept the door open for tens of thousands of boat people arrivals by opposing legislation that would have enabled implementation of the Malaysia Arrangement of September 2011. Secondly, we pointed out that Tony Abbott’s and Scott Morrison’s role in ‘stopping the boats’ was at the margins and vastly overstated.

Since then Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and others have continued their spin about how they stopped the boats. Unfortunately, our mainstream media were duped in the first place by uncritically accepting the Coalition’s line in the confused period of the changeover of governments and in the drama and secrecy surrounding a small number of turnbacks.

Our main conclusion in those posts was that:

By the time Operation Sovereign Borders geared up for its first boat turn backs on 19 December 2013, the number of boat arrivals was down from 48 in July 2013 to only seven in December 2013. OSB applied only to the tail end of the boat drama. The ‘game-changer’ was Kevin Rudd’s announcement in July 2013 that people arriving by boat after that time would not be settled in Australia.

Arguably boat turn backs would not have been successful at all without the July 2013 decision. For example, the Navy and Customs were able to turn back three boats in December 2013 after the introduction of OSB. It’s hard to believe that it would have been physically possible to turn back 48 boats if they had continued at the monthly rate that occurred in July 2013 and that Indonesia would have quietly acquiesced.

Furthermore Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison in Opposition gave the green light to people smugglers by opposing the implementation of the Malaysia Arrangement in September 2011.  Following the defeat in the Parliament of legislation to give effect to the Malaysian Arrangement there was a dramatic increase in boat arrivals. Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison gave the green light to people smugglers to really step up their activities

Scott Morrison and his hero Tony Abbott did not stop the boats. Yet the myth persists that they did.

And to top off all this we  know that asylum seekers are now pouring into Australia in record numbers. Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton are failing comprehensively to protect our borders. If only they would stop the political scare mongering and do the job of looking after the nation’s interest.

Their behaviour  is a striking illustration of their view that if you keep repeating a lie long enough some people will believe it, including the media.

For Scott Morrison then and now the guiding political view was that ‘the more boats that come the better’. Advertising the re opening  of Christmas Island is a not very subtle invitation to people smugglers to have a go. He is desperate and would politically welcome boar arrivals.

Is this the behaviour we want from a Prime Minister?


John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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4 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. Scott Morrison did not stop the boats.

  1. Avatar Malcolm Whyte says:

    The ‘myth’ that Morrison and Abbott stopped the boats is persistently repeated by the Coalition party and that under Labor boating, deaths at sea and ‘illegal’ arrivals by boat would increase, enormously. This, and no contradiction, is what voters keep hearing as a key item in the scare campaign leading towards the Federal election.

    I hope determined attempts are being made to get simple, factual accounts of the truth demolishing the myth to be prominently displayed where the general public will see them. Editorials, specific articles, letters in newspapers; as an item in TV programs and raised in interviews; etc, etc.

  2. Avatar Mark Freeman says:

    Thank you for this concise summary John. Rudd’s 2013 announcement changed the game. The Malaysia plan was the only viable offshore solution ever offered and its scuttling proved once and for all to me that the matter was pure politics not national security. Meanwhile nary a word about the thousands of asylum seekers flying in and jamming up processing. We must have a Royal Conmission into Home Affairs ASAP.

  3. Avatar Ian Robinson says:

    It was good to see, during the MediVac debate, Tony Bourke at least making some reference to role of Abbot and Morrison in starting the flood of refugees by blocking the Malaysia Solution, but both the opposition and the (allegedly) critical media need to make much more of the facts and not let the misrepresentation persist.

    Have Phelps, Sharkey, Banks et al been given this information?

  4. Avatar Waynew McMillan says:

    Yes John you are right and why can’t the rest of Australia see this, it stands out like a sore thumb? Unfortunately many Australians have been duped by fear mongers of the right who continue to peddle some sort of dystopian refugee invasion. Maybe its time for a national debate on population and immigration and put all the issues on the table, that way we can deal with the elephant in the room.

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