Dutton’s shadow

Coalition Home Affairs spokesperson James Paterson does his best Peter Dutton impression

It was no coincidence that shadow Home Affairs minister James Paterson chose this week to recommence his dog-whistling over visas for Palestinians, coming straight off the back of another Coalition meltdown over “boat arrivals”. After all, the last time Paterson tried this, back in November, it followed immediately on from the High Court–mandated release of immigration detainees, with a vengeful Opposition sensing the chance to double down on its fearmongering. On Tuesday, the shadow minister began expressing “concerns” about Palestinians to Sky News, questioning whether “adequate checks” had been conducted for the 2273 visas issued so far (only 334 of those recipients have made it to Australia). Speaking on RN this morning, Paterson sounded like a mini Peter Dutton as he cited concerns about “social cohesion”, suggesting Palestinians were inherently dangerous. Yet again, those claiming to be worried about “social cohesion” seem to be the ones most intent on destroying it, demonising desperate people in a bid to get closer to power.

It’s clear what the right is up to here, as the Coalition zeroes in on security ahead of the Dunkley byelection. Many are rightfully horrified at Advance Australia’s full-page ad in today’s Herald Sun, which demands to know “how many” of the 149 people released from indefinite detention (under a High Court ruling) are now in Dunkley. The government, however, is pushing back hard when it comes to the dog-whistling over Palestinians. “The Liberals and the Nationals want to whip up anger and fear in the Australian community because they think there’s votes in it for them,” said Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last night, saying it was more Pauline Hanson than John Howard (arguably, it is both). Prime Minister Anthony Albanese echoed those sentiments today, pointing out that the checks the Coalition is seemingly so concerned about are “exactly the same as what was in place under the former government”, with the added requirement that exiting Gaza requires Israel’s involvement.

Parts of the media are also pushing back, with RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas querying many of Paterson’s arguments. “Why don’t you trust our intelligence agencies to properly vet people being granted these visas?” Karvelas opened the interview with, later questioning how this process was different to the rushed visas granted by the Coalition government to those fleeing Afghanistan and Syria. (Far more visas were granted to those fleeing Afghanistan and Syria, as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Kon Karapanagiotidis points out.) As Guardian Australia’s Amy Remeikis notes, the current fearmongering also “completely ignores” the fact that “because of the regime imposed by Israel, Palestinians are among the most scrutinised people on earth”, with daily checks just to be able to move around Gaza. “There is nothing not already known about Palestinians living under occupation,” she added. “Everyone raising these ‘concerns’ knows it.”

Of course, Paterson’s arguments rapidly fall apart under such scrutiny, not that you’ll hear much of it on Sky News. But the shadow minister knows that’s where his audience is, as he picks up Dutton’s dog whistle and gives it a good, hard blow. Paterson’s job, as the Coalition Home Affairs spokesperson, is to shadow Labor’s Clare O’Neil. But it’s Peter Dutton he’s truly shadowing, and he is proving himself more than capable of living up to his uncompassionate predecessor’s reputation. 

“The current system of self-regulation is completely failing students and causing lasting harm to so many people. Universities are failing in both preventing sexual violence and in responding to it.”

Greens education spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi blasts a “culture of impunity and inaction”, after an Australian Human Rights Institute report found a third of universities don’t have mechanisms in place to tackle ongoing sexual violence on campuses.

“[The] lesson of Banducci’s crash out will have many others heeding the lessons about staying in their lane.”

Columnist Glenda Korporaal joins a chorus of conservatives suggesting that Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci resigned because he was too “woke”. In other supermarket news, Assistant Minister for Competition and Treasury Andrew Leigh says a lack of competition is driving up prices, but shot down the idea of a forced break-up of the major chains.

455

The number of GP clinics that switched from fully bulk-billing to a mix of bulk-billing and out-of-pocket fees over the past year. Speaking on RN, Royal Australasian College of GPs president Dr Nicole Higgins blamed the government, arguing that the Medicare rebate has “dropped significantly”.

FWC considering work-from-home rights

The Fair Work Commission is considering whether work-from-home rights should be incorporated into modern awards, under a review instigated by Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke. Speaking to reporters, the PM said it was important to look at where working from home could enhance workforce participation, while Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said it was important the government didn’t side with unions every time.

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