Flat White

Who have we left behind, Dutton?

16 August 2021

2:34 PM

16 August 2021

2:34 PM

Just over four weeks ago, Defence Minister Peter Dutton told Sky News Australia of the importance of “getting the balance right” when it came to granting visas for Afghan workers who helped Australian soldiers.

He said there were “important points” to be made about the issue.

That’s public service speak for sharpening your pencils and getting them all lined up in a neat row before ducking out for a coffee and a smoke — inactivity, in other words. Masterful inactivity, to quote Yes, Minister.

Today, the reporting suggests utter panic:

Defence, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Home Affairs staff were working around the clock to support the operation, locating Australians and urgently processing paperwork for local support staff who were cleared to receive humanitarian visas. There are an unknown number of Australians in Afghanistan, including journalists, aid workers and security personnel.

Today, the question is how many people have we left to the mercy of the Taliban; how many people — in real-world, not public service speak — we have betrayed.

And today the Defence Minister might like to remember he’s not in immigration any more — and ponder how being an unreliable ally helps the nation’s security.

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