Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

The New Pacific Solution

As Parliament resumes next week, the government should find plenty to distract them from Bananagate (today dissected by the always excellent Ross Gittins), but not all of it is likely to be desirable. In particular, the notorious Migration Amendment Bill will be up for debate.

This is the bill that was the subject of a very unflattering Senate report and has raised the ire of many a Coalition MP. It's also a bill provoked by a specific diplomatic incident - the granting of visas to Papuan asylum seekers (the last of whom was granted their Australian visa only yesterday). Now that the political imperative seems largely over, will the government still have so much enthusiasm for creating a back bench ruckus, especially amongst those in marginal seats? Surprisingly enough, the notion of keeping kids behind bars isn't as popular with the electorate as it was back in the days of Tampa.

In the long run, the passage of this bill (or - I hope - its defeat) may also be a test of whether the influence of the extreme Right that is already tearing the NSW Liberal Party asunder is also being felt in Canberra. It's already well known that senators such as Marise Payne are being pressured to toe the new party line or risk losing their preselection. Will the party demonstrate the oft-quoted `wide church' approach or will they ensure all dissenters go down in flames?

More info is available at ChilOut and A Just Australia.

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