OPINION: Abbott's the dolt in charge, what could go wrong?
DECENCY and force. What a peculiar promise from a Prime Minister now without clothes, exposed as a dolt in the rooms of our federal parliament.
As the world responded to a refugee crisis that has been building for at least the past two decades, Australia is re-arranging the deck chairs under a quota previously slashed by 6250 places to appease the bigots, racists and science deniers who delivered Tony Abbott his mandate.
Mr Abbott wants bombing Syria as part of any response, dragging Australia into the centre of a conflict in which we are better served to engage as honest broker and humanitarian angel.
Caught by the waves of compassion both inside his party and in the electorate he is increasingly a Prime Minister without friends except for those like Finance Minister Mathias Cormann willing to echo his illogical utterances.
In that parallel universe those who question a free trade agreement that opens the doors for foreign companies to bring in workers on lower pay, are racist liars.
The liars, or at least the miss-leaders, it is becoming increasingly clear, are those within the government - the Prime Minister and his Deputy included - who inferred an Australian cruise ship owner was not telling the truth when he said bureaucrats had told him to re-register his vessel off-shore and engage foreign workers on significantly lower wages.
What this parallel universe calls those who label asylum seekers as queue jumpers, not genuine, cowards, the Trojan horse of invading Islam and illegals is anyone's guess - but probably patriots.
On May 21, responding to questions about what Australia could do to ease an emerging South east Asian refugee crisis, Mr Abbott said "nope, nope, nope".
"I'm sorry,'' he spoke on behalf of all of us about Bangladeshi refugees trapped on boats going nowhere as typhoon season approached.
"If you want to start a new life, you come through the front door, not through the backdoor.''
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Sage advice for those with no choice and for whom no door exists.
Thankfully more levels heads like MP Craig Laudy, NSW Premier Mike Baird and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, all Liberals, have called for a Syrian resettlement program that outstrips whatever Abbott may settle on, or either Labor or the Greens have suggested. Mr Kennett has urged Mr Abbott to quit plans to bomb Syria and to stare down the bigots who oppose mass resettlement.
"Leadership should rise above bigotry,'' Kennett said.
Leadership would close Nauru and Manus detention centres and bring those poor souls out of the torture of uncertainty they are suffering on top of the physical and sexual abuse.
It would release from detention and into the community those held in captivity in Australia for doing no more than attempting to escape harm.
And leadership would allow to work the 30,000 already here but restricted to a future supported by a quarter of a Centrelink allowance.
Real leadership would have by now let go of the point scoring over balanced budgets and deficits.
It would be taking advantage of cheap money to deliver the nation-building infrastructure desperately needed by an immigration policy that allows of 200,000 lifestyle refugees in through the front door annually.
There are smarter ways to stop the boats than tow backs and prison islands, it is just that those that who are supposed to lead have failed to explore them. Instead - and this is true of both our major political parties - they chose to act tough to appease the ignorant rather than respond with a compassionate heart.
Australia will be forever poorer for that.