Bill Shorten has refused to rule out bringing the Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) in Regional Processing Centres on Nauru and Manus Island to Australia.
Mr Shorten is under pressure as a growing number of his MPs repudiate Labor’s policy adopted narrowly at Labor’s national conference just last year.
In a further sign that Labor and Mr Shorten’s commitment to the measures necessary to keep the boats stopped is weak, he refused to answer a direct question on what he would do about people in Regional Processing Centres.
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Mr Shorten’s response was evasive. All he could do was attack the Coalition Government’s policies, which ended the years of chaos and dysfunction under the previous Rudd and Gilla rd Labor Governments.
The Labor leader continually says he is on a “unity ticket” with the Coalition on border protection policies and that Labor supports regional processing, yet today he would not provide an answer to a direct question that goes to the core of the matter.
It is clear Mr Shorten’s policy position is fragile with five of his fellow Labor MP’s now opposing outright regional processing and wanting IMAs at Manus Island and Nauru brought to Australia – a move which would give the green light to people smugglers to start the flow of boats on the dangerous journey to Australia.
There are an estimated 14,000 people in Indonesia just awaiting such a signal.
Labor will talk tough before and election and backflip in government – just as Kevin Rudd did.
Labor will never keep the boats stopped.