No hard questions for Gillard on Lateline

There was a time when John Howard was Prime Minister that going on “Lateline” for an interview with Tony Jones was something of a concern for government ministers.

These days, Rudd ministers must rub their hands together with glee.

On “Lateline” last night Tony Jones did little more than spend a long interview inviting Deputy PM and media darling Julia Gillard to launch a series of attacks on the Opposition.

After Gillard had spent the best part of a minute bagging the Opposition, Jones’ next question was “Let’s go to the Opposition …” which then invited another bagging of Tony Abbott and his “flip-flopping” – even though it is very clear that Rudd’s has done the flip-flopping by backing right away from his recent “belief in a big Australia.”

Jones then raised the issue of border security and asylum seekers but only by implying that the Opposition was wrong to link immigration levels with the current flood of illegal arrivals – “Are there dangers that you see in evoking that kind of analogy.”

Jones completely glossed over the asylum seeker crisis, failed to remind Gillard that more than 100 boats have arrived since Rudd became Prime Minister, and failed to point out that the Christmas Island detention centre was full to overflowing.

Jones then invited Gillard to make what was little more than a party political broadcast on workplace relations and the Building Education debacle and wrapped up with a lame question about the auditor-general.

All in a day’s work for the taxpayer funded broadcasting arm of the ALP.

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  1. Tony Jones and Julia Gillard are an ideal couple. His apoplectic red face goes well with her red hair. Her mindlessly smug, scoffing smile combined with her grating, flat monotone complements his persistent manner of persecutory questioning. Neither of them has the courtesy to listen properly to anyone with a different opinion.

    As for treating border security as a different 'issue' to immigration, this approach is typical of a government that strives to over-simplify matters that obviusly connect and compound in their ramifications. If border security is so poor that reaching Australian territorial waters merely involves a RAN ship meeting the SIEV and escorting it to some relatively salubrious and comfortable camp, it won't be long before hundreds of thousands of economic refugees set sail in their own boats. They will cut out the middle men, the wicked people smugglers, and flood en masse to the Australian coast.

    Besides, there is no certainty that many boat people have managed to reach the Australian shore undetected. If Gillard discounts a few thousand detected migrants, she may be as blase about another 20,000 or so that pierced the net. Of course, she would have to feign horrified shock if half a dozen of them died in the inland desert. She would need all her lame spin doctoring skills to find a scapegoat. But of course Tony would help Julia with the spinning.

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