Andrew Bolt has more fortitude that I do. Since he left Insiders and began the Bolt Report I have been blessed with the most excellent starts to my Sundays, which will be extended to an hour this year. But this quizzing of Scott Morrison on illegal migrants is astonishing, even taking into account the previous standards set by the National Broadcaster. These are just the questions:
BARRIE CASSIDY: How many Australian naval ships entered Indonesian territorial waters in December and January?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you know the answer to the question?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Why can’t you tell us now?
BARRIE CASSIDY: But why would that piece of information be in any way, why would it compromise the Government’s position?
BARRIE CASSIDY: How much of that report then will be released?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Will it explain how it happened and why it happened?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And it will explain how it happened?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Will the unclassified section of that report explain to the Australian people how this happened, why it happened and why it won’t happen again?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And then we can back that judgment. The Indonesian Navy report argued the incursions may have been intentional, said in this era, navigation equipment is very sophisticated.
BARRIE CASSIDY: What’s false about that?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And what satisfied you of that?
BARRIE CASSIDY: There is a suspicion clearly in Indonesia that it was intentional. How will you disabuse them of that notion?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And do you think based on what you already know they will be satisfied with what you have to say, that without question, it was not intentional?
BARRIE CASSIDY: The Indonesian Navy report that I referred to had a photograph of burn wounds on a hand and it said, and this is the quote, “Resulting from being forced to hold onto the ship’s engine by the Australian Navy.” Does it concern you that an official Indonesian Navy report would make such an assertion?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Can you though dismiss just as lightly a report from the Indonesian Navy as you can a report from an asylum seeker?
BARRIE CASSIDY: How again will you disabuse the Indonesian Navy of their notion?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And you’ve established the facts, of course, without speaking to the person who made the allegations?
BARRIE CASSIDY: But you describe it as a normal process, wouldn’t a normal process, as part of that wouldn’t you talk to the person making the allegations?
BARRIE CASSIDY: What are the factors at work there? Clearly it’s the monsoon season, that’s one factor. How much credit would you give to the previous Government over its PNG (Papua New Guinea) solution?
BARRIE CASSIDY: But the PNG solution wasn’t in place this time last year.
BARRIE CASSIDY: The Indonesian Foreign Minister has, talking about the turn-back strategy, quote, “It threatens the negotiation of a code of conduct designed to repair the relationship.” Clearly he’s offended by the policy.
BARRIE CASSIDY: You are being true to yourself and true to your policy, as you say, but nevertheless it does seem to be offending the Indonesians, to the point where they’re now going to raise this issue with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.
BARRIE CASSIDY: What do you think John Kerry would do about it anyway, even if he does regard it as a global issue?
BARRIE CASSIDY: And the other issue that they seem to displease them is the lifeboats issue and they say that that’s more severe than towing back boats; “We strongly protest.”
BARRIE CASSIDY: So you will go on utilising these lifeboats?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Well we’ve seen a video of those lifeboats.
BARRIE CASSIDY: Three days ago an Indian student took his own life at a detention centre in Melbourne. He was in that centre because he overstayed his visa. Could that have been avoided?
BARRIE CASSIDY: Is there a better way to deal with a student who overstays his visa?
BARRIE CASSIDY: So you’re saying there are factors at work here that go beyond the sort of conditions and stresses that come with being in a detention centre?
BARRIE CASSIDY: OK. Now on Friday at a Senate hearing there were 16 denominations, churches, who talked about the Government’s position on the migration act. You want to change it to give you more discretionary powers. Now they said, they say that would allow you to play God.
BARRIE CASSIDY: A former minister though, Chris Evans, said that it gave him too much power, the workload was too great and the churches are saying the taskforce, that if the minister gets it wrong there could be dire consequences for the individual.
BARRIE CASSIDY: Now just finally a report in The Australian yesterday, the Government is considering spending $3 billion to buy giant unmanned drones to patrol the borders that would be used, at least in part, to track asylum seekers and illegal fishermen. Is that under consideration?
BARRIE CASSIDY: If you were to invest that sort of money though in unmanned drones that would suggest you’d think this problem is going to be around for a long time yet?
Who, other than people smugglers, are interested in knowing the answers to any of these question?