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Yet another ship carrying illegal immigrants sinks in the Indian Ocean.

Somehow this is Tony Abbott’s fault, or George Bush’s or John Howard’s, or something. Even though the boats had slowed to a stop under the Howard government.

Michelle Grattan gives a perfect demonstration of why the Age is in such a parlous state:

It’s time Abbott agrees to Labor’s deal on asylum seekers

Tony Abbott’s intransigence over asylum seeker policy looks more indefensible and irresponsible after the latest boat disaster.

This is the kind of flummoxing dullness that causes people looking for intellectual stimulus to walk past the Age and pick up Zoo magazine.

What has it got to do with Tony Abbott? Labor is in government.

Michelle? Hello? Michelle? Labor is in government. You know, Julia, Wayne, Kevin, that mob?

It is the opposition’s job to oppose. That is what they are meant to do. Oppose.

If the Labor party cannot govern, why are they still in power? If they cannot make and implement decisions about border security, how is that Tony Abbott’s fault?

Nonetheless, Tony Abbott has said he will agree to any deal that means illegal immigrants are processed in any country which is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention. Well done. That is reasonable and fair and sensible.

But there is no reason why he or the Liberal Party should need to agree to anything. It is the government’s job to govern.

It is the Labor Party which needs to be serious about acting to save lives, and that means making it absolutely, unmistakably clear to those who would come here that if they try to circumvent the rules, they will not set foot in Australia.

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