Wait, Gillard didn’t say what they’re saying she said

My understanding, from the media reporting of Gillard’s asylum seeker policy announced this week, was that she had promised to build a processing centre in East Timor and stupidly hadn’t even bothered to talk to the East Timorese government, which is now saying it doesn’t want any part of such a plan. I know! Crazy Labor. What a spectacular bungle!

Then I went to read for myself her original speech from which she’s supposedly backtracking (those incompetent Laborites!)…

…Only to be unable to locate where she actually said what they’re implying she said. I could find nothing more than this bit, which isn’t the same at all:

In recent days I have discussed with President Ramos Horta of East Timor the possibility of establishing a regional processing centre for the purpose of receiving and processing of the irregular entrants to the region…

President Ramos Horta told me that he welcomed the conversation about this possibility and I look forward to further consultation and dialogue on developing this initiative into a proposal that would advance the proper and consistent treatment of people arriving without authorisation in our region.

Is that it? It seems to be. There are some more words about how a regional processing solution that involves Australia, East Timor and New Zealand (signatories to the relevant convention) is worth pursuing, wherever it’s located, but I can’t see anywhere where she’s said anything more about East Timor other than that it is a possibility they want to discuss that hadn’t yet even reached the proposal stage.

How odd. It couldn’t be that Labor’s being shamelessly verballed by liars who are deliberately misrepresenting what the Prime Minister actually said in a desperate attempt to get Tony Abbott into the Lodge, could it? No, no. There must be some other explanation.


AND: Richard Di Natale’s take on dumping our refugee obligations on poor neighbours.

16 responses to “Wait, Gillard didn’t say what they’re saying she said

  1. Jeremy, I’m very disappointed with Gillard so far and am hard-pressed to find anyone I’ve spoken who hasn’t interpreted her speech as saying the processing centre will be in Timor Leste.

    Perhaps she needs a more competent speechwriter if everyone’s interpretation is so incorrect.

  2. baldrickjones

    I thought they hit the nail on this issue on Insiders this morning – Gillard left the impression that East Timor would be the location, then did nothing to counter this impression for at least two days. Bad media management or a continuation of the Rudd-era “thought bubble” way of policy making.

    ie. if you don’t have a developed plan, don’t put it out there. To be honest I think Gillard is doing a decent job of it – she just stumbled a couple of times since taking up the job.

    And it’s not about being swamped – its about having control over our migration policy and eliminating the profiteering cartels putting people’s lives at risk on crappy boats. Oh, and kick out visa overstayers who arrive by plane or any other means.

  3. Jeremy, Gillard and her staff crafted that speech very carefully. They knew what they were doing when they put the East Timor bit in there.

  4. I’m sure they did. But what they were doing was not what it’s been reported they were doing.

    Unless you can find such a part of her speech. I couldn’t.

    Baldrick – we already have the capacity to “control” our migration policy, with the caveat that we have the obligation to evaluate the claims of any asylum seekers who show up at our doorstep and plead for asylum. As does every other country that’s signatory to the convention.

    The alternative is leaving people who’ve begged us for help, to be persecuted and killed.

  5. Splatterbottom

    Wow! Bolt said she “promised to build a processing centre in East Timor”. Well, not in the link you gave us.

    Funnily enough your lie is one you had to tell to make your case. You might say that that is gist of what Bolt meant, even if he didn’t use the word “promise”. But you might equally say that Gillard deliberately specified East Timor to add meat to her inchoate policy.

    Hopefully Gillard now understands that as PM her words will be subject to more scrutiny and she will have to be more careful about the dissembling evasions that have thus far served her so well.

  6. I didn’t say Bolt used the word “promised”.

    This is what he claimed:

    On Tuesday the new Prime Minister said she’d ship all boat people to a new detention centre, which she flagged would be in East Timor.

    You find the part of her speech where she said that.

  7. Splatterbottom

    You used the word “promised”. You find the part of Bolt’s column where he said that.

    Hint: “flagged” doesn’t mean “promised”.

  8. The word “promised” was not in quotes. It was an accurate summary of that sentence.

    the new Prime Minister said she WOULD… would be in East Timor

    Just because Andrew abbreviated the first use of the word “would” to an apostrophe and a d doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. And when someone says something WOULD happen, that’s clearly a promise.

    The thing is, she didn’t say it WOULD be in East Timor at all.

    (The word “flagged” doesn’t cancel the word “would” in that sentence.)

    And it wasn’t just Bolt, his was just an example.

  9. PS isn’t “would” a weird- looking word when you examine it closely?

  10. Splatterbottom

    The word “promised” is the word you chose to highlight in blue as a link. It makes your case stronger, but it was an extravagant exaggeration. Also, the verb which precedes the words “East Timor” is “flagged”. This is an accurate description of Gillard’s reference to East Timor, and it doesn’t mean “promised”.

    In any event, the “policy thought bubble” critique of Gillard’s technique is valid. It highlights her tactic of releasing inchoate spin-driven policies, which was also one of Rudd’s major failings. Gillard is merely the new lipstick on the same old ALP pig.

  11. Splatterbottom

    “The word “flagged” doesn’t cancel the word “would” in that sentence.”

    The words “flagged” and “would” serve two different functions. “Flagged” means something like “hinted”. “Would be in East Timor” is a phrase describing what she hinted.

  12. Oh, come on. Throughout that article Bolt is lambasting her as if she’d broken a promise to send them to East Timor. The word “flagged” doesn’t contradict the clear meaning and message of his post.

    As you’re well aware, I am just as critical of Gillard as you are – but the media case against her having to “back down” etc is just wrong. She flagged that they wanted to talk about it with Dili – not that the asylum seekers would definitely be sent there.

  13. “PS isn’t “would” a weird- looking word when you examine it closely?”

    LOL – It’s in the eye of the beholder, I dunno about weird looking words but I do know about stupid sounding words and IMO ‘donkey’ is the silliest word in the English language. Don’t agree? Repeat it over and over.. /endthreadderail

  14. Splatterbottom

    Gillard later “clarified” what she meant: “We are not going to leave undisturbed the impression that I made an announcement about a specific location.” The incongruence of this with here previous mention of East Timor may be the cause of the reaction.

    By mentioning Timor she was trying to spin an inchoate policy as having some specificity and substance. She probably knows that the policy is wrong, and after the election she will be able to say that she tried to to have negotiations, but was unable to conclude them.

    Her statement was a direct response to polling information in the outer urban electorates which showed that the asylum seekers issue is hot. She is now a creature of the Labor Right factions, cynically singing their songs.

    Also “would” is a great word, especially if you try to spell it backwards.

  15. jordanrastrick

    Much of the media clearly distorted Gillard’s announcement; Gillard was foolish to publicly canvass the idea so quickly before it was a real policy, where it would vulnerable to such a reaction.

    She’s going too fast, because she feels pressured to quickly defuse Abbott so she can seek a popular mandate to vindicate the removal of Rudd. She managed it, politically, with the Mining Tax, but its blown up in her face on this issue, which is a shame because a regional processing centre (which really should be based in Australia but of course that’s never going to happen…) is not in itself a bad idea, but is now somewhat discredited.

  16. baldrickjones

    “The alternative is leaving people who’ve begged us for help, to be persecuted and killed.” And what countries in our region where they pass through is this happening? Evidence?

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