Liberal senior member Ian Macfarlane is a firm believer of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who has come under fire this week for apparently playing deaf and blind over the plight of boat people seeking refuge in Australia.
More than ninety of them drowned Thursday last week trying to reach Christmas Island, highlighting a problem that Aussie politicians have so far failed to tackle effectively as they opted to hold their ground on the nagging issue.
For Mr Abbott, Canberra needs only to implement the Nauru solution, tried and tested, he insisted, by the previous Coalition government then abandon its Malaysian solution.
He and Prime Minister Julia Gillard will only waste their time if the government will keep on pushing for its answer to the problem, which earlier this year has been rejected by the Australian High Court.
On public, Ms Gillard had declared that she's "open to further discussions," but the Liberal headliner is convinced that what's ahead of any talks with the Labor leader was for the government to ease over its dud deal.
Mr Abbott reiterated his unwavering stand that the Malaysian component of Ms Gillard's immigration policy was simply unacceptable.
"The best you could say of Malaysia was that it was a band-aid on a bullet wound," The Brisbane Times reported him as saying on Tuesday.
"It was completely inadequate to dealing with the scale of the problem. There were no human rights protections," Mr Abbott pointed out.
Besides, the Liberal leader added, even as Ms Gillard was pronouncing that "we should be working across the Parliament," he hasn't seen concrete initiatives coming from the Prime Minister.
He was just a phone call or email away, Mr Abbott said, but to date no formal invitation was sent to him by Ms Gillard.
Labor MPs, however, reminded the Opposition Leader that what's on the floor at this time was an open invitation coming directly from the Prime Minister and the way Mr Abbott has been reacting was stunning, considering that scores of people have died as the border protection issue remains in limbo for a definitive resolution.
"It's disgraceful the way in which (Mr Abbott) is approaching this ... and you're left to thinking that he sees political advantage in people dying," Parliamentary secretary Mark Dreyfus told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) on Tuesday.
By displaying his stubborn antics, Mr Abbott appears to favour the reintroduction to Australia of "barbarous policies," Mr Dreyfus added.
What the nation is seeing, according to Labor MP Richard Marles, is a political manoeuvrings that in the end would allow the Coalition to further delay viable answers to the boat people problem.
"They don't want a solution because they see political gain in this matter continuing to run," Mr Marles told reporters in Canberra today.
But Mr Macfarlane cried foul as he dodged attempts by the government to paint Mr Abbott as both callous and insensitive on the plight of desperate asylum seekers.
He insisted that "Tony Abbott is one of the most compassionate people I know."
"He is deeply concerned about the fact this government has failed to put in place proper deterrents to stop people attempting this very dangerous trip," the Liberal frontbencher told AAP in defending Mr Abbott.
Meanwhile as the government and the coalition bicker, Independent MP Tony Windsor took the initiative of gathering his fellow crossbenchers to draw ideas from them and possibly arrive at a solution with all sides fairly contributing.
But in an interview with ABC, Mr Windsor admitted that a quick policy resolution on the problem would be unrealistic, stressing "you can't rush this in that type of time span."
He hinted too that if only to lend urgency on the matter, he and his colleagues may have to continue their discussions well into the Parliament's winter break, a proposition that Rob Oakeshott, another independent MP, finds logical enough in the face of the lingering stalemate between Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott.
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