"If we kept worrying about whether a policy would make people want to kill themselves, we'd never get anything done!"
Immigration Department Secretary Michael Pezzullo is sick of all your bleeding-heart wah-wah-what-about-the-children asylum seeker nonsense, Australia. Especially from you doctors and teachers who've worked with them and have horrific first-hand knowledge of their treatment, or you religious and political leaders inconveniently showing compassion and leadership.
Big Mike's bravely stood up to the "moral lecturing" on the subject of offshore detention, declaring that "It's getting to the point that there is advocacy parading as journalism that is actually deleterious to a sensible discussion about these matters." You hear that, public? It's all your fault.
And it's great to see the Pez dispensing more quality management of Border Force (or, as V from the S prefers to render it, BORDER FORCE!).
After all, last we saw him in the public sphere was when he was arguing that the hysterically bungled "Operation Fortitude" was merely a badly written press release, despite that press releasing being a) completely accurate in claiming that BF! officers would be questioning whoever they fancied on the streets of Melbourne as though they were the Stasi, and b) approved by his own department.
Still, his boss Peter Dutton must glad to have someone in his employ not confirming that there were 140-odd cases of self-harm among detainees last year and that the government is planning to return people with terminal diseases to die offshore.
Sure, those things are true - but pointing them out is just so mean!
Damn bleeding hearts
And while both PM Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten are still cool with the current plans, the premiers of Victoria, New South Wales (with some qualifications) and South Australia, as well as the Chief Minister of the ACT have all said they'll willingly resettle the people the Federal Government is determined to send back.
Oh, and there's the faith leaders who are willing to harbour asylum seekers in their churches - and, of course, the citizens who will be attending the nationwide Stand for Sanctuary rallies around the country this evening.
So, you know? Maybe some moral lecturing is well overdue.
The circle is now complete
Australia won't have Philip Ruddock to push around any more, as the veteran Liberal MP has announced that he won't contest his seat of Berowra at the next election.
It's perhaps not the greatest of surprises - after all, not only is the Father of the House the longest-serving current member of Australian parliament (and second-longest of all time), he was also Immigration Minister under John Howard and thus one of the architects of Australia's brilliant and sensitive asylum seeker policy that has caused zero problems for anyone since.
Ruddock was then made Attorney-General in 2003, and the following year he oversaw the changing of the Marriage Act to specifically rule out same-sex unions. Again: a great decision that's brought nothing but happiness and concord to Australians generally and the Turnbull government in particular.
You might recall that Ruddock was made Chief Whip when the government took power under Tony Abbott, until Abbott dumped him for failing to stop the attempted spill motion in February last year in accordance with the old saying, "always shoot the messenger".
What now for Phil? He'll now be Special Envoy for Human Rights, in whic… hold on, that can't be right, surely?
"Having been an inaugural member of the Parliamentary Amnesty Group some 40 years ago, that has driven my deep personal interest in these issues and allowed me to develop a network of those dedicated to the advancement of human rights internationally," Ruddock announced on Monday. "That passion remains unabated."
Ahhh, that'd be that same passion for human rights that saw Amnesty International told him to stop wearing their badge as they felt he was making a mockery of everything for which they stand, then.
Coal industry wants more free money, thanks
Meanwhile our government's continued deliberate inaction over renewable energy looks even more silly with the news that power giant AGL has decided it can't be bothered with CSG any more.
A statement from the company confirmed that "production of natural gas assets will no longer be a core business for the company", thanks to the plummeting price of oil and gas. And the Queensland mining industry is responding by… um, asking for free government money.
Sure, the Australian taxpayer already subsidises the industry with a staggering $3 billion a year, but enough with the pocket change: it's time to get serious with propping up a dying industry, feds!
"It's really time for government to sit down with the industry and see what we can do to hang on to the jobs we've got," the Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche barefacedly told ABC radio on Thursday, presumably because he hadn't heard about what happened to the motor industry in SA and Victoria. "We would like government to think about what we need to do to protect the remaining 60,000 jobs in the Queensland resources sector."
In Roche's defence, at least he didn't add "You've got some luvverly marginal electorates 'ere, Mal - be a real shame if anyfink was to 'appen to 'em."
The cocktail hour: cute!
Again, let's try to remove the stench of all the news that came before with an adorable Australian animal - like the Gilbert's potoroo, a dear little marsupial who eats fungi, is largely nocturnal, has the cutest little snout and… um, of which there are about 40 left in the wild, all centred around Albany in Western Australia. Man, why is there no good news?
Maybe a drink will help - and see you at the Stand for Sanctuary rally, friends. Cheers!
Andrew P Street's book The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott is out now and available from Booktopia.
The top stories on smh.com.au on Monday:
- Chinese New Year 206 - Year of the Monkey's dos and don'ts
- Restaurant partially collapses into Lake Macquarie
- Australians bet their home on their grand business idea
- Fury over payment by Melbourne men to avoid rape trial in Croatia
- NSW Police question Sydney restaurant 10 William Street over its wine list