I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The words “little weasel” apply as well to John Howard as they do to Kevin Rudd.
Rudd’s outrageous comment that people traffickers are scum and the lowest form of life is either stupid or deliberate dog whistling identical to Howard. In either case it pushes Rudd further up the little weasel scale. What do we prefer, a stupid Prime Minister or a dog whistling one?
Stupid because there are “worse” types of people that a child could name. Dog whistling because Rudd is pandering to racism and fear as we saw Howard do in the Tampa case. A third possibility is that his childish emotions actually got the better of him and caused his outburst. Again, not a good look.
The simple truth is that millions of dollars spent on sea patrols for boat people are a massive waste of our taxes. Much more serious threats are posed to Australian borders than a few hundred boat people per year. Tiny numbers. Believing that people will risk their lives on overcrowded leaky boat to bypass normal immigration is ludicrous. There is no “normal” immigration for these people. There is no “queue”. They rot in refugee camps even after being declared refugees.
Rudd’s subtext is the same as the Conservative cruel queue jumper mantra. And he studiously avoids what he must know is the real threat via airports and normal travel routes. Dog whistling. The ALP has a proud tradition of it in Australian history.
The greatest number of illegal migrants in Australia are American and British tourists who overstay. They bump our population numbers much higher than boat people.
My feeling is that most Australians will be disgusted by Rudd’s crude behaviour. Somehow I don’t think he will put the environmental argument or point to US and UK overstayers as a greater problem than refugees with a well founded fear of persecution.