The wedge hath been planted! All must choose sides! As Howard says:
"These questions about who spoke to who when and whether it's going to happen in the next two hours or the next five days is really missing the point. The point is whether what we're doing is right or wrong, and what we're doing is clearly necessary and overwhelmingly needed given the scale of the problem."And yet, there are dissemblers who desist from this stark choice...
Malcolm Fraser, for one, is not impressed:
"There is an emergency but people have known of it 10 years, for every year of the life of the current government. One could ask 'why now?'," he told ABC radio.I agree with weez at Machine Gun Keyboard - this is Tampa 2007:
If you could reasonably (and constitutionally) shut off the booze and send in the Army to Vaucluse to stop their abuse problems, you should reasonably be able to do it to aboriginal people - but not before. HoWARd couldn’t get any traction demonising migrants, diseased or otherwise, so aboriginals are the Liberals’ election wedge for 2007.Rudd has taken the bait, however. Kim at Larvatus Prodeo highlight's Rudd's feeble response:
Rudd says a Labor Government would create a bi-partisan ‘war cabinet’ to deal with the national emergency in indigenous communities.Kim concludes that the Rudd Labor Party deserves to lose this election:
If it hadn’t been for WorkChoices, buddy, you couldn’t even count on a preference from me now. Wedge, meet target. Same dynamic as Tampa - the left deserts Labor, and swinging voters return to “strong leadership”. But, honestly, it took Beazley longer to cave, and he did it with more embarrassment. Mr Howard is a very clever politician. But Mr Rudd stands for nothing.Frank in the LP comments compares Rudd's response with that with WA Premier Alan Carpenter:
"This is not any plan from the prime minister, this is just a thought bubble that erupted when he needed something to run as an issue on for the federal election."Carpenter also says Howard's grog ban won't work:
Mr Carpenter queried the prime minister's commitment to the issue when he was cutting funding to programs in WA which deal with domestic violence, child abuse and alcoholism.
"Why is the federal government pulling funding out of programs right now, the funding will come to an end at the end of June, if he is serious about his intentions?"
The WA premier said if Mr Howard really wanted to stop pornography going into indigenous communities he should ban the sale of the material in Canberra.
"If Mr Howard is serious on the alcohol ban why is it only for six months? What's that going to achieve?" Mr Carpenter told the Nine Network.Here's the NT Government's original Wild-Anderson PDF report into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse (via Leftclick).
"Most of the big Aboriginal communities in Western Australia are dry communities, but these issues are still happening in those places so there are other things that you have to be looking at."
Do you think this wedge will have legs as an election-changing strategy? Seems to me that there is a very good chance that the draconian police deployment, along with other harshly authoritarian decisions, will provoke a violent backlash from some Aboriginals. And I think Howard is counting on exactly that. Get the TV cameras out into the outback, film some anti-police violence, cut to the poor kids quivering with fear in the background... Bingo! Then back to the studio for comments from our paternalistic PM.
PS: More about the rather interesting image above here.