Morrison, Dutton or Turnbull: Who is the cruellest minister of them all?

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Prime Minister Turnbull defended Scott Morrison's preventing refugees from ever obtaining visas (screen shot via abc.net.au).

Revelations that Scott Morrison deliberately delayed the processing of legitimate asylum seekers are just the latest in a long line of Turnbull Government cruelties. Deputy editor Michelle Pini reports.

IT'S EASY TO SLIP into a false sense of security and assume the Coalition Government isn't doing much.

Certainly, in terms of policymaking, this is largely true.

But so much of the detail flies under the radar of the mainstream media and the Labor Opposition that sometimes what transpires is a shock for even the most jaded onlookers.

Take the issue of immigration. We know, from a plethora of evidence, that the Government has tortured refugees. Indeed, the Coalition openly admits to not giving a toss about asylum seekers, and has even legislated seeking asylum by boat as "illegal". We have been fed this information so brazenly and for so long that this is no longer shocking.

Even this knowledge, however, could not prepare us for the calculated and wanton actions taken by current Treasurer Scott Morrison to ensure his record as Australia's cruellest immigration minister — although, admittedly, his actions preceded the rise of current Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, whose commitment to cruelty is truly inspired.

Not to worry, though — as long as any heinous crimes were committed over four years ago, it’s no longer an issue. This is the takeaway from the PM’s response to revelations, first reported by the ABC, that Morrison asked ASIO to delay security checks for 700 asylum seekers back in 2013. Cabinet documents obtained by the ABC evince Morrison first asked his department to advise how asylum seekers could be prevented from ever receiving asylum, before deciding to intervene in ASIO's security procedures.

And the PM’s response?

Here he is quoted in The Guardian today:

Malcolm Turnbull dismissed the leaked cabinet document on Monday, saying it was more than four years old.

“Can I just say that Scott Morrison is doing an outstanding job as treasurer,” he said.

“When he was the minister for immigration and border protection he stopped the boats. He did an outstanding job in securing our borders.

“We make no apologies for sending the clearest message to the people smugglers and to their would-be customers: You think you can come to Australia on a people smuggler’s boat? You’re wrong. You won’t.

“This is a long time ago and it’s a document I’ve never seen … I don’t know how it’s emerged from the ABC. I’d suggest, I think they’ve come across someone’s bottom drawer in Canberra it sounds like, given the date of all these papers.”

Not the slightest skerrick of shame that his Government has again flouted the rule of law for its own political gain — just more platitudes about Morrison's fine job as Minister for Cruelty and another backhanded insult to the ABC. 

Coming across vital information in someone's bottom drawer, it seems, constitutes amnesty according to Malcolm Turnbull.

Ever the consummate professional, Morrison towed the company line in this statement to the ABC:

'As minister for Immigration and Border Protection, it was my policy and practice to put Australia's national security interests first.'

Yes, because people who were already assessed as genuine refugees, pending final ASIO clearance, are obviously the biggest threats to Australia's national security. Feeling safer yet?

This, of course, is all in keeping with the Coalition’s policy of preventing people from drowning at sea and, instead, holding them hostage where they can die a slow agonising death, treated as miscreants.

Doing its bit to ensure an ongoing stream of refugees fleeing war-torn nations, the Turnbull Government today (30/1/18) also announced a $3.8 billion subsidy for the weapons industry, in a straight-faced bid to gain club entry into the top ten armament manufacturers in the world. 

To date, a possible connection between supplying arms to worn-torn nations from which people are fleeing and the necessity for people to seek asylum on our shores has never crossed the lips of a Turnbull Government Minister.

Finally, with ever insistent rumblings of a leadership spill and Minister-for-Everything Dutton's delusions of grandeur growing by the day, the latest intel highlighting Morrison's obvious shortcomings would seem rather convenient. 

You can follow deputy editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9

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