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The #Letthemstay campaign has dominated headlines and opinion pieces for the past fortnight.
Are the public protests backing the Turnbull government into a corner? Would more be achieved by working quietly behind the scenes?
Politics is about perception. While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s style might be different from that of Tony Abbott, he has, so far, retained many of the policies put in place by the deposed leader. Abbott supporters within the Liberal Party cite the former PM’s tough stance on asylum seekers and his success in ‘Stopping the boats’ as a key achievement of his time as leader. If Turnbull were to publically back down now, he could been seen as ‘weak’ by members of his own party.
Writing last year in The Australian, Chris Kenny suggested that protesters do more harm than good for those they seek to help.
“Ideally, Australia would, again, gradually and quietly, resettle most of the refugees in Nauru and Manus Island on our shores. This would be compassionate and cost effective. And if no one made a song and dance about it, Operation Sovereign Borders wouldn’t be compromised. But in the present climate of confected hysteria, this can’t happen; the compassionistas have made it impossible.”
Is it time for all those who signed petitions, marched the streets, painted placards and declared defiance to take a deep breath and ask “are we making a difference?”
Are the public protests actually backing the Turnbull government into a corner? Would more be achieved by working quietly behind the scenes?