People have a tendency to expect history to repeat itself. Of course, it often does, but that doesn’t suit the point I’m making, so I’ll pretend I’m Tony Abbott and just ignore history so that I can make my point.
Quite simply what people like one moment, can be unappealing later on. For example, when you first start a relationship, if the person texts you to say that they’re thinking about you and want to know what you’re doing and how you’re feeling, you may find it sweet, but after a couple of years, it just becomes an interruption to your day and you get mildly annoyed… Or, if the relationship is no longer current, it may lead to you needing a restraining order.
And so with asylum seekers. I thought of this great analogy:
The school principal is sick of latecomers, so he rounds up all the people as they walk in late and sends them to the detention room instead of class. He then locks the gates and announces that anyone arriving after the start of class won’t be allowed in. While some teachers and parents applaud his stance, others try to point out that often kids have legitimate reasons for being late. At the next staff meeting, he announces the great success of the policy, as they no longer have any latecomers. When one teacher points out that’s because they can’t get to the sign-in and register as late, the principal explodes and tells everyone, “I stopped lateness! Do you want kids dangerously attempting to cross the road after the crossing supervisor has knocked off?” There’s a bit of discussion about this and but it’s basically forgotten until some activists have managed to get the school council to ask why the students who were locked up on that first day haven’t been allowed to see the school nurse. (Yes, we’d all forgotten about them, hadn’t we!? “Letting them see the school nurse will lead to more latecomers!” thunders the principal. “Why,” someone asks, ‘when you lock the gates every day and there’s no way in.” The meeting ends with the principal announcing he’ll have to re-open the old detention room because of all the latecomers he’ll have to lock up…
Of course, I am aware that I’m doing exactly what Scott Morrison wants in talking about boat arrivals, when I should be talking about important things like whether Pauline Hanson had sexually harassed somebody and why James Ashby just happens to be around like he was with Peter Slipper. Anyway, while some in the media suggest that he’s winning over this, I can’t help but think that he’s got himself into a terrible mess with his mixed messages and I just couldn’t let it go without doing an interview with Fictional Scott Morrison…
Now, I know what you’re thinking: which one is Fictional Scott? Is it the shouty, parliamentary performer who tells Bill Shorten that he’s not fit to be PM? Or is it the gentler, folksy curry cooker who reminds us all of the dad we never had and makes us grateful for our own father whatever monstrosities he’s committed? Or is the man of God who talked about his faith in his maiden speech? I’m not knocking Morrison for his religion, even if he does seem to think that he’s on first name terms with Jesus. Nothing wrong with talking to someone who may or may not be there. Whatever floats your boat… or stops it if it contains refugees. It’s when you feel that you’re allowed to do whatever because you’re getting answers that we start to have problems.
Well, Fictional Scott is all of these and none of these. Fictional Scott is my creation and any resemblance between him and someone with lots of power over peoples lives is just coincidence… and pretty terrifying.
ME: Fictional Scott, why have you re-opened the Christmas Island detention centre?
Fictional Scott: I didn’t want to, it’s going to be an enormous expense, but you can thank Bill Shorten for that.
ME: Yes, but why do it now? I mean, I read suggestions that this was the thing sending a signal to people smugglers.
Fictional Scott: Thanks to Bill Shorten, we’re going to have thousands of asylum seekers drowning at sea, and Border Force is just turning round a boat as we speak.
ME: But, I thought you didn’t comment on Operational Matters.
Fictional Scott: No, it’s the Immigration Minister who doesn’t comment on Operational Matters.
ME: The Immigration Minister doesn’t comment on anything, but why open Christmas Island? Does that mean you won’t be sending new arrivals to Nauru and Manus?
Fictional Scott: We don’t have room on Nauru and Manus…
ME: But didn’t you tell us all the people on those islands would be coming to Australia thanks to the Medivac Bill?
Fictional Scott: No, it was the other Bill. Bill Shorten, that’s who’s to blame!
ME: But, according to you, Manus and Nauru were going to be emptied a few days ago, so why reopen Christmas Island?
Fictional Scott: We’ll need it for all the people needing medical attention after Bob Brown and DiNatale give them a certificate to come here…
ME: But that’s what the Bill allows and, besides, the medical facilities on Christmas Island wouldn’t be able to cope with people needing medical attention.
Fictional Scott: Look, if you keep asking difficult questions, I’ll just shout at you about how committed I am to keeping our borders safe and building the wall… Wait, I didn’t mean to turn into Fictional Donald.
ME: I’m sorry, Fictional Scott, it’s too late!
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