Heather du Plessis-Allan: Arguing over terrorist in Syria risks further trans-Tasman tension

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Feb 2021, 4:26PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Arguing over terrorist in Syria risks further trans-Tasman tension

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Feb 2021, 4:26PM

Our Prime Minister has launched the most extraordinary broadside at Scott Morrison over the Kiwi woman arrested trying to cross from Syria into turkey after being involved with the Islamic State

The woman held dual citizenship for Australia and New Zealand. She was born here but moved there when she was six.  Australia has cancelled her Australian citizenship so she can’t go back there, which means she’s our problem. 

This is what has prompted Jacinda Ardern to have a go at ScoMo, saying "Australia has abdicated its responsibilities” and the PM has “personally made that point to Prime Minister Morrison." 

Obviously we don’t want to be lumped with this woman just like we don’t want to be lumped with all the gang members Australia keeps deporting.

But put yourself in the Australians’ positon. They don’t want these people either.  And they’re clearly coming from the position that if you move to another country, you have an obligation to behave yourself.  They are clearly treating Australian citizenship as a privilege not a right. 

Now tell me that you don’t want us to treat New Zealand citizenship the same: as privilege, not a right. 

I cannot blame the Australians for taking a tough stance on these people. 

And in any case, there is no point in arguing with the Australians.  They’ve made their decision.  They are not showing any signs of changing their minds on this. 

Which begs the question: why is the Prime Minister bothering to kick up such a fuss about it? 

I’m guessing she must feel it’s going to play well domestically, to be seen to be standing up to the Australians, but tough talk only goes so far when it changes nothing. 

It’s a big risk to take, annoying the Australians. It’s becoming widely suspected that ScoMo has little time for Ardern after all her public rebukes of him.  First it was the refugees on Nauru, then it was the deportees, now it’s this woman in Syria. 

Is this why the Australians don’t have our backs at the moment?  Is this why they broke an apparent agreement and approved the vaccine before us?  Is this why they closed the border so quickly?  Because Scomo is annoyed at Ardern? 

 We might not like this call from the Aussies but I bet you we’d like our government to do the same if the situation was reversed.  Arguing about it is pointless.  We only risk creating further tension in what appears to be an already tense relationship.