Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Byelections have consequences

Over the weekend Australia held a byelection for former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's vacated seat - resulting in the government losing one of the safest seats in Australia on a record-breaking swing. More importantly, they lost their majority, meaning that things are going to get very difficult for them over the next few months. And one of the things they're getting difficult over is refugees. New MP Kerryn Phelps immediately declared that getting refugees off Nauru was her first priority - and suddenly, its happening. Overnight, the Australian government transferred eleven kids to Australia for medical care, and there's suddenly pressure in the Senate and the House for the government to take up New Zealand's offer to rescue the refugees. Part of this is sticking a lifetime ban on entering Australia on anyone they've imprisoned in their gulags, but if its what gets them out of there, that's acceptable - that particular piece of shittiness can always be overturned later. The priority is to save the kids from the concentration camps. Justice - including prosecuting those responsible for establishing and running those camps before the International Criminal Court in The Hague - can wait.

So, byelections have consequences. It would be good if people remembered that more often.