As if Anthony Albanese didn’t have enough holes in the hull of his government, the torpedo that’s repeatedly sunk Labor before is racing towards his listing ship: border protection.

Stopping the boats has won the Coalition at least two elections and cost Labor even more. Even more than economic management, Australian voters are clear on one thing: the Coalition keeps stopping the boats, Labor keeps starting them up again. The only difference is whether voters see that as a good or bad thing.

Labor’s feral-left rank and file just love boats. Consequently, one of Albanese’s first acts as PM (once he was back in the country, anyway) was to override dozens of rulings and grant asylum to two former Tamil Tiger fakefugees and their anchor babies. The fallout from that decision — which effectively advertised to people smugglers that Australia was open for business again — has been slow in coming, but, combined with the double-whammy of a lunatic activist High Court ruling, looks to be coming back with a vengeance. In just the last few weeks, at least two boats (that we know of) have been either intercepted or made landfall.

With the High Court ruling, in particular, Labor has been exposed as dangerously weak and reluctant to act.

The government knew the High Court was likely to rule against the indefinite detention of a stateless person, a convicted child rapist known only as NZYQ, and initially sought to circumvent an adverse ruling by deporting him to a third country.

But when that didn’t work out, it failed to develop a plan B. As the furore grew over the release on to our streets of numerous foreign criminals who had no right to be here, including murderers, rapists and pedophiles, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil first falsely claimed the government was caught flat-footed because it had been advised it would win the case.

Then she said there was nothing that could be done because “you can’t out-legislate the High Court”. Then she introduced legislation that she claimed was the toughest and fastest ever, only to have to accept a series of opposition amendments to strengthen it, such as mandatory reporting requirements and ankle bracelets.

Even then, they screwed up. Labor has spent weeks delaying passing the opposition bill it claimed to accept.

While the government dithers, rapists and murderers are turned loose in the community. Some have disappeared after, astonishingly, they were allowed to abscond without ankle bracelets.

The upshot of all this is that the Albanese government has needlessly exposed the community to an unacceptable risk and lied about it. What has been abundantly on display is ministers who are out of their depth and a Prime Minister who won’t take charge.

And in politics, almost nothing is more obviously manufactured than bluster to mask the weakness and ineptitude that have been on display ever since this issue broke.

The Australian

Yet, astonishingly, that’s all the government apparently has. Under the delusion that attack is the best defence, Labor crawled into the gutter and launched a mind-boggling attack on the opposition leader.

The Albanese government has gone to the grubbiest of gutters in its latest, desperate and dangerous campaign to destroy Peter Dutton, accusing the Opposition Leader of protecting pedophiles over children and being an apologist for child sex offenders […]

Ironically, after capitulating to Dutton’s demands for tougher controls on the released criminals two weeks ago and needing his co-operation to pass even more crucial legislation next week, Labor’s tactic has been to attack him with vile personal accusations.

O’Neil told parliament on Wednesday that Dutton had voted “to protect pedophiles over children” and was an “apologist for child sex offenders”.

[Immigration Minister Andrew Giles] said “none of this would have happened” if Dutton, as minister, hadn’t “extended the visa” for the criminal who successfully appealed to the High Court (a criminal who had arrived illegally by boat under Labor and who was in jail at the time).

The Australian

This is possibly the lowest gutter politics heard in Australia since then-Nationals leader Ian Sinclair tried to blame the Hawke government for the deaths of babies in Queensland inadvertently given HIV-infected blood. That the Labor attack on Dutton was clearly co-ordinated means that at the very least the PM was aware of it, if not behind it.

The ugly attacks in tandem with growing border failures merely add to the government’s list of failures. The catastrophic failure of the Voice referendum, the monumental broken promise to cut power bills, an IR bill which is a too-obvious payback to unions in return for millions in campaign funds, and Labor’s obvious reluctance to tackle virulent anti-Semitism, in order to secure Muslim votes in Western Sydney.

The renewable energy crusade, with transmission lines through pristine bush and prime agricultural land, and ugly wind turbines off the coast disrupting whale migration and decimating bird life, is starting to alienate the conservation forces it’s supposed to please.

Then there’s the increased risk of blackouts this summer as coal-fired power stations age and there’s no gas back-up for intermittent wind and solar energy (because to buy off the Greens the ALP is now anti-gas, too).

Finally, there’s the government’s instinct to try to buy votes with cash from taxpayers – robbing Peter to pay Paul – on every perceived problem, such subsidised electricity bills, instead of address­ing the underlying cause, in this case unachievable targets on renewables that can’t be met, will cost us hundreds of billions, do virtually nothing about lowering emissions and just make us even more energy vulnerable as a nation.

The Australian

The unavoidable picture is of a government out of its depth, floundering, and trying to lash out to save itself. Labor’s only, slim, hope was that voters would simply dislike Peter Dutton too much to vote for him. These disgraceful attacks might play well with the hateful, feral left, but middle Australia has never liked grubby bullies who roll in the gutter.

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...