Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Tampa … and the loss of Labor’s soul

Can it really be that long ago. Ten years. Tampa time … that shameful moment in Australian history when then Prime Minister John Howrd declared:

‘We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.’

It was August 26, 2001 … as this ABC Timeline (HERE) reveals:

The turning point came on 26 August 2001 with the arrival of the Tampa.

The Tampa went at Australia’s request to the aid of a struggling fishing boat. The Norwegians pulled not a handful of fishermen, but more than 400 refugees out of the little boat. The refugees promptly confronted their rescuers and demanded to be taken to Christmas Island, or they told the Captain, they would go crazy. When he changed course, the Australians radioed and threatened to seize his ship and throw him in prison. The order had come from the very top: this ship would not be allowed to land.

This began a long stand-off as the Tampa hovered off Christmas Island, and Australia continued to refuse entry.

When the medical condition of those on board deteriorated and no help or solution came, Tampa’s Captain Arne Rinnan, sent out a May Day signal. With still no help coming, Rinnan, in consultation with his shipping line defied the Australian Government’s orders and sailed into Australian Territorial Waters.

A couple of months later, I’m on a Philip Adams’ Late Night Live panel in Hobart with Christine Milne, Greg Barns, and Bruce Felmingham (HERE).

I remember it vividly because my own personal anger and sense of injustice was directed not so much at John Howard – for his premeditated response was utterly predictable – but at then Labor Opposition Leader Kim Beazley for his pathetic backing for misjudged pragmatic political reasons of Howard’s brutish response.

At that moment, I believed, the Labor Party lost whatever soul it still retained.

I still believe that.

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  1. Robert LePage

    August 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Lindsey you are right on. But labor has been on the slide now for a long time. I had the misfortune to be in WA at the time of WA Inc and saw the corruption of a feted labor government under Burke; quite a few of them went to jail.
    Labor party? They would not know a worker if they fell over one.
    And it has continued to get worse since then. They all work on the “what do I need to do to be elected”?
    Not what needs doing to improve the Country?
    An example going on right now is the nonsense that the Gillard Government is committed to with the “boat people”.
    We are in a bad financial state but millions are being wasted playing political games with Abbott. The answer is so simple it makes you want to cry.
    1 Build processing camps near all the main cities.
    2 Take all refugees there and process them.
    3 Any that do not pass muster, would be returned to their original country or another country of their choice.
    4 Take the total number of retained refugees off the total of migrants that are being brought in for that year.

    This would save huge amounts of money, make work here in Australia not in various overseas countries.
    The question that should be asked is:
    What is the difference between a boat refugee and someone who jumped the Berlin wall?
    Would the anti boat people have the German refugees tossed back over the wall?

    I wonder what the founders of the Labor party would make of the mob that are running it now?

  2. melbourne64

    August 23, 2011 at 2:08 am

    As I remember it the issue split the Liberal Party here in Tasmania when Greg Barns lost his endorsement for a state seat because he stood up to Howard over Tampa

  3. Trevor K

    August 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    This boy from the bog Irish working class finally gave up on the ALP then as well. But of course the reality was that anything that could be called a Labor party had been evaporating before our very eyes for some time – so it’s truer to say the ALP gave up on us.

  4. William Boeder

    August 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

    let’s not forget the win at all costs strategies developed by Howard and his team, nor must we forget Howard’s predilection to sending the Australia’s mothers sons into the various conflicts and wars during his time at the helm of the Australian Liberal Party until even his own electorate booted him out of his Prime Ministers office.
    As is the Liberal Party of today, the employment of stealth and various forms of mental assault upon the Australian people, was the chosen formula to push the Liberal Party over the line to become the Ruling Party of the day in becoming the then Federal Government.
    This time by the habit of Abbott to scaremonger and howl down all issues and events that befall our Nation, our Australian people.
    Again we see that the major issue is centred around Asylum Seekers, only this time a once policy of the same Liberal Party has now been expanded upon and is now being argued against by said Liberal Party Leader, this notorious poll-driven Abbott, who is now following through on the heels of another “once Liberal Party policy,” Global-warming and carbon emission issues.

    Where should we go from here Lindsay, one set of spinners and cut-throats to the other party of spinners and cut-throats?
    Of course the only real answer in my view is to seek and elect an across the board blend of many independent minister hopefuls to stand as candidates come the next Federal Election.

  5. John Alford

    August 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Absolutely, Lindsay. Any surprise that those with a social conscience moved their support from the Labor Party to the Greens and progressive independents? Howard was right in his assessment of Beazley; no ticker.

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