Prime Minister Rudd has pulled a clever swifty at the eleventh hour, just weeks before a general election. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must be furious that Rudd has found a solution that could possibly stop the boats. A landslide victory for the conservatives is now unlikely, unless they can come up with a better solution.
Kevin Rudd and PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill
Although it sounds like a stroke of genius - anyone arriving by boat will never be settled in Australia - it's early days and as usual, Rudd is great at making sensational announcements, but terrible at supplying details of how it will work.
Ads are appearing in newspapers across the country today, hoping to get through to people smugglers in Indonesia.
Anyone arriving by boat after last night's announcement will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment, and if found to be a genuine refugee, will be resettled there. Somehow I can't imagine middle-class economic migrants having much in common with the people of PNG and wouldn't be surprised if many re-apply for a passport from their country of origin, and go back to where they came from.
PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill signed the deal yesterday in Brisbane and I suspect that Rudd made him an offer he couldn't refuse. But although the citizens of PNG will ultimately benefit from the arrangement, we don't know how they will react to being inundated with strangers from the middle east and other cultures, and if things don't work out, PM O'Neill is likely to be voted out at the next election and we could be back to square one.
We have a genuine fondness for the people of PNG because of our history in WW2. Everyone knows about the Battle of Kokoda and how the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels helped our soldiers in their bloody fight against the Japanese. I hope this arrangement won't sour that good relationship. We will never forget what they did for us.
You have to hand it to Kevin Rudd, not only has he managed to resurrect himself as Prime Minister, but there's a good chance he could keep his job after the election.