Michael Burrill’s Current Affairs Wrap: environment in 2090, world leaders to Saudi Arabia, Peter O’Neill on asylum seekers, Brandis on metadata and Rupert Murdoch on Twitter.
Despite world leaders condemning what UK PM David Cameron described as “the murderous barbarity” of IS’ beheading of Haruna Yukawa, they all fell over themselves to visit Saudi Arabia and pay their solemn respects to the murderous barbarity of the late King Abdullah. US President Barack O’Dronebomber in particular reaffirmed his strong commitment to human rights by travelling with a 27-person delegation. There are lessons for IS (who also claimed responsibility for an attack on a Libyan hotel which left nine dead) in the outpouring of grief by figures like Cameron, O’Dronebomber and French President Francois Hollande, who labelled the Saudi regime “a partner, both economic and political” (Je Suis Abdullah?). Like Saudi Arabia, IS possess oil, and if they follow the example of their fellow Salafists, dropping all this “Western infidel” business and reserving their murderous barbarity for the residents of their territory, they could probably be staunch Western allies soon enough.
As the hunger strike ended on Manus Island (with 58 asylum seekers arrested during the unrest still held without charge in cramped prison cells), PNG PM Peter O’Neill has thrown in his 2 cents (he’s got plenty to spare…allegedly). O’Neill claimed, “I think many of them are just after economic opportunities that Australia and other countries offer to them and that is why they are seeking refugee status.” While some may question the wisdom of Peter O’Neill’s prejudicial statements (despite any semblance of due process being long gone), he is at least an expert in economic opportunism – having not only agreed to the so called PNG solution for extra aid projects and potential job creation on an economically troubled island, but having also faced allegations of fraudulently funnelling off $31 million of public funds as part of a scheme which may have claimed up to $780 million. Unsurprisingly, Peter O’Neill had little time for due process then either, disbanding the task force investigating that fraud and firing its head from the police force.
George “The Brain” Brandis has been talking up the need for the government’s proposed mandatory metadata (despite probably still not being quite sure what that is) retention legislation again. Obviously dissatisfied with the response to his terrorism related attempts to drum up support for bill, Brandis has moved onto another reviled and feared group in society, pedophiles. He pointed to a case in which the investigation of claims made by an internet user relating to the planned sexual assault of baby were scrapped, due to the ISP wiping the metadata after a few days. While few would argue with the worrying nature of that case, it seems the “The Brain” is again trying to use scare tactics to conveniently sidestep (or “show jump” as a self-styled renaissance man such as himself may describe it) concerns about the two-year length of retention, the protection of metadata while being stored, and the lack of justification or review required for agencies to access it. These are concerns which were somewhat vindicated by the Inspector General of intelligence and security, Vivienne Thom, revealing that ASIO never destroy any data collected on Australians even if it is found to have no security relevance.
After the furore at Tone’s decision to appoint Prince Phillip a Knight of the Order of Australia, Rupert Murdoch has hit Twitter again, calling on Tone’s Chief of staff Peta Credlin to carry out her “patriotic duty” and resign. Rupert went on to add “Forget fairness” (which seems to be News Corp’s unofficial motto), “this change only way to recover team work and achieve so much possible for Australia. Leading involves cruel choices.” The tweets echo the statements of a number of his columnists, with one, Miranda Devine, actually suggesting the appointment of associate editor of The Australian, Chris Kenny (who has definitely never fucked a dog, whatever Stanky Johnny claims to have seen on the dark web) in Credlin’s place. It’s almost as though Darth Murdoch wants to outright dictate government policy instead of just heavily influencing it.
Lastly this week, as Labor ridiculed both Tone’s knighthood decision and his stance on climate change by claiming Abbott still lives in the 18th century, a study by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology has found that by 2090, average temperatures could increase by over five degrees celsius with heightened risk of bushfire and drought while sea levels may rise by up to 82 centimetres. A separate CSIRO study suggests that La Nina events (which cause flooding in Australia) will also increase in frequency due to global warming. If things keep going the way they are, the future for Australian children may be just no play instead of no hat, no play and less slip, slop, slap – more sizzle, smoke, swim…