Leading article Australia

In praise of the PM

24 November 2018

9:00 AM

24 November 2018

9:00 AM

Don’t sign! warned our editorial on this page last week. Our readership may not match that of the the daily newspapers in quantity, but it certainly does in quality and it appears at least one person in a position of authority was prepared to pay attention to our argument that Australia should at all costs avoid signing the insidious Global Compact on Migration, in order to avoid ‘putting at risk our precious sovereignty and hard-won border security.’ That someone, we are delighted to say, was Scott Morrison.

If there was a note of desperation in our editorial plea, it was because of the looming deadline of the United Nations meeting which will take place in Morocco on December 10 – 11. As we wrote: ‘If, as seems to be reliably reported as we go to print, the Morrison government has decided both to sign up next month to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), and to vote in the UN General Assembly (even as we write) to endorse its ‘twin’, the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), then… that government’s days are now irrevocably numbered.’

The editorial was expressly penned by regular Speccie columnist and former Head of Treasury and former National’s Senator John Stone. It followed two of Mr Stone’s regular ‘Dis-Con Notes’ that ran in our pages in October alerting readers to the imminent signing of the Compact.

In the first, on October 6, entitled ‘ScoMo’s (recommended) manifesto’, Mr Stone wrote of two critical tests facing the new Prime Minister – pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and refusing to sign the Compact: Paris, indeed, is one of two acid tests Morrison needs to pass in coming months. The other relates to immigration policies; and just as Paris finds its origins in the UN’s stealthy ambitions, so in the migration area those same ambitions are obtruding via the Global Compact for Migration.

Be in no doubt. If Australia signs up to this monstrous treaty – which those same Foreign Affairs bureaucrats have already had a significant role in drafting – we will have abandoned the most important element in any nation’s sovereignty – the right to determine, in John Howard’s words, ‘who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come’. 

Both Paris and this proposed migration treaty will shortly be the subject of major international meetings, in Poland (3-14 December) and Morocco (10-11 December), respectively. The Morocco meeting is intended to adopt the Global Compact on Migration, and the Poland meeting to turn a now legally non-binding set of ‘aspirations’ into a legally binding treaty – one that ties the membership into both targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and financial obligations for developed country members commencing (!) at US$100 billion per annum.

In both cases, Australia has only two sensible choices. One is simply to refuse to send a delegation to either meeting, saying unequivocally that it will not sign up to whatever they may produce. The other is to send delegations, hand-picked in each case personally by Morrison and with clear instructions to oppose every jot and comma of the UN-led processes involved.

Morrison’s decisions regarding these two meetings have the capacity to make or break his electoral prospects. The right decisions will reassure all those Dis-Cons without whose votes he cannot win next year’s election; the wrong ones will go a long way towards ensuring his failure.

In a follow-up piece, (Oct 20) entitled ‘The UN at work’, Mr Stone asked: How long will it be, should Morrison be so careless as to sign up, before the UN is expressing strong dissatisfaction with our detention policies, and our failure to ‘work towards alternatives’? And how long thereafter until the UN Commission on Human Rights (from which the US has withdrawn) is meeting to condemn us?

Intrepid and determined as he is, Mr Stone then set about trying to get information from the byzantine bureaucracy of DFAT regarding the vote at the UN General Assembly for the Global Compact on Refugees. On Sky News Outsiders, Mr Stone detailed the obstructive and obtuse nature of the responses to his inquiries – worthy of Yes, Minister. And then came a tweet claiming Immigration Minister David Coleman’s staff were saying Australia would be signing the Compact.

Hence the urgency of our editorial. This magazine is always quick to condemn politicians for what we perceive to be errors, betrayals or poorjudgment. But we are equally quick to praise. In this instance, full marks to the Prime Minister for stating unequivocally that Australia will join the US, Israel, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria by refusing to sign the Compact on Immigration. This is good news for the nation and hopefully proves to the Liberal party that electoral success and public acclaim will follow sound policy based on genuine conservative, mainstream values.

Now, while we have your attention Prime Minister, there are still those two small matters of the GCR and the Paris Agreement…

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