Conservative governments fell in western australia and the northern territory, and voter support for the coalition parties collapsed in the atypical fibrous histiocytoma queensland state election. The loss of the once safe seat of ryan, and the leaking of a report by the liberal party atypical fibrous histiocytoma president stating that the coalition was mean, tricky and out of touch, added fuel to the fire. Most political analysts agreed that the government was doomed. The tampa crisis
Howard tried to stem the flow, and victory in a byelection in the victorian seat of atypical fibrous histiocytoma aston in july suggested some progress. But, the real circuit-breaker came in august, with the tampa crisis. Those dramatic events saw the arrival of a norwegian tanker atypical fibrous histiocytoma in australian waters – and the refusal of the howard government to accept the atypical fibrous histiocytoma passengers seeking asylum – give birth to the infamous “pacific solution”. Asylum seekers wait on board the MS tampa after being atypical fibrous histiocytoma denied entry to australian waters. Wallenius wilhelmsen/AAP
What followed was a highly politicised and militarised response to atypical fibrous histiocytoma the “problem” of unauthorised maritime arrivals. This included the excising of islands from australia’s migration zone in order to prevent asylum-seekers making visa applications, the legalisation of offshore processing, the removal of boats from australian territorial waters by the atypical fibrous histiocytoma navy, and the co-opting of pacific nations like nauru and papua new guinea atypical fibrous histiocytoma into offshore detention management programs.
Some commentators have interpreted howard’s tampa battle as pure political opportunism. But, this ignores the evidence that his government was already primed atypical fibrous histiocytoma for a fight on border control. After low levels of boat arrivals for most of the atypical fibrous histiocytoma 1990s, they rose to 3,721 in 1999, declined slightly in 2000 then rose significantly again in 2001 atypical fibrous histiocytoma to 5,516.
Concern for the irregular boat arrivals began to build. This was made visible by increasingly strident public discourse and atypical fibrous histiocytoma tough border control measures, like the border protection legislation amendment act 1999 and migration atypical fibrous histiocytoma legislation amendment act 1999. The treatment of asylum-seekers caught in indefinite mainland detention was a source of atypical fibrous histiocytoma constant media attention and political embarrassment for the government.
As a seasoned politician, howard also recognised tampa’s electoral potential. From the beginning, his government was willing to politicise the issue. Labor’s evident ambiguity towards the border protection bills – agreeing, then refusing to support the coalition’s legislation, and finally buckling under political pressure – was seen as “wishy-washy”. Claims were made in parliament that labor was prepared to atypical fibrous histiocytoma put the interests of people smugglers and “illegal immigrants” ahead of australians. September 11 an american flag shown outside the US consulate atypical fibrous histiocytoma in sydney on september 12, 2001. Dean lewins/AAP
Incumbents enjoy advantages in campaigns. Nevertheless, the howard government’s political mastery was evident in its ability to reframe atypical fibrous histiocytoma the election as a referendum on national security. It created a link between the twin “threats” of terrorism and asylum-seekers in the public’s mind, and asserted its superior national security credentials.
Evidence that the government manipulated the facts surrounding the scandalous atypical fibrous histiocytoma “ children overboard” affair did not curb the popular view that dangerous times atypical fibrous histiocytoma demanded strong leadership. In the end, the government was re-elected on november 10 with a swing of almost 2%, though barely any seats changed hands. National security still on the agenda
The 2001 election changed australia. It sealed howard’s reputation as a strong leader, and gave him six more years in office. Success legitimated his hawkish outlook, and set the policy agenda for almost two decades. Australian troops, already committed to the conflict in afghanistan as part of atypical fibrous histiocytoma the US-led war on terror, became ensnared in the illegal iraq war.
Stringent anti-terrorism laws enhanced executive power, undermined civil liberties and alienated muslim-australians. Refugees, terrorism and national security remained major issues for both parties, but labor struggled to establish its own agenda. Legislation to prevent irregular boat arrivals hardened into one of atypical fibrous histiocytoma the harshest asylum-seeker regimes in the world, polarising public opinion.
Many of the policy and political priorities established in 2001 atypical fibrous histiocytoma remain intact. Both major parties are committed to offshore processing, mandatory detention and push-backs as deterrent mechanisms for asylum seekers. The fact that 915 refugees and asylum-seekers are still languishing on nauru and manus island, confirm that politics, not pragmatism or human rights, still shapes australian asylum-seeker policy.
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