SIX WEEKS AGO, on 27 May, Tony Abbott announced that the Coalition would revive the Pacific Solution and reintroduce temporary protection visas if it wins this year’s federal election. His plan dramatically sharpened the differences between the government and opposition on an issue that most commentators believe to be among the top worries in the minds of many voters. Now there could be no mistake: the federal Coalition was in favour of tough measures against boat people; Labor was equivocating.
Over the next couple of weeks Mr Abbott and his advisors no doubt turned eagerly to the polls for confirmation that the tactic had worked. The last cluster of surveys by the main polling companies – ACNielsen, Newspoll, Morgan, Essential and Galaxy – in early to mid May had showed Labor and the Coalition tied on 50 per ..