addressing the big picture ....
from politicoz ….
In the space of a few days, the Abbott government has articulated its first enemy: not workplace law or reproductive rights, as some feared, but information.
Gone is the commission charged with interpreting climate science for the public. Threatened with prosecution are the conservation and consumer groups that provide information leading to boycotts. Silenced is reporting on boat arrivals.
Australians will no longer be told about asylum-seeking vessels as they arrive. The government will not commit to reporting on rescues at sea. If boats are turned back – a central plank of the government’s election platform – the public may never know.
The minister for immigration, Scott Morrison, has been determined to make border security a military operation. The military has a great knack for secrecy. Morrison is “not getting into the tactical discussion of things that happen at sea”. But as the former Defence secretary, Paul Barratt, said on Twitter: “Anyone who cannot tell us what we need to know about boat arrivals without giving away significant operational information isn't trying.”
Michelle Grattan offers this morning’s most optimistic interpretation: secrecy may allow the government an escape clause for one of its most troubling policies. Not reporting the turning back of boats would mean it might not have to enact a policy loathed by the Navy and by Indonesia.
But something larger is at play. Abbott in power has worked to slow the tempo of debate. He has all but disappeared from television screens. He has made few significant announcements. The drumbeat of boat arrivals to which he set his victory march will stop now he is responsible for them. As Katharine Murphy writes in the Guardian: “Allegro benefits you in opposition, but it kills you in government.”