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.