Barnaby Joyce endeavoured to undo the damage of his comments last night:
“What I was saying is there’s a direct correlation between shutting down the live cattle trade…and asylum seekers (my comment).
“I’m not saying that this caused the Indonesians to start sending people across. I never suggested that.”
This is great because Barnaby is clearly trying to make a distinction between direct correlations and causation.
Not stupid, just confused.
Unfortunately, I think he’s just confused rather than really understanding this distinction.
Nonetheless, the Indonesians have been typically quick to take offence. Former Indonesian former minister Dr Marty Natalegawa rejected the comments as as “shocking”. Dr Natalegawa responded strongly to Mr Joyce’s “patently false” remarks, telling Fairfax Media they represent “at best” an over-analysis of the subject.
“Worse still, it is shocking to suggest that the Indonesian government would risk the safety and lives of innocent asylum seekers in making the treacherous journey to Australia simply to make a point,” he said.