G20 leaders’ private details leaked, Scott Morrison back to “help” human rights, sexual abuse at Nauru…the week’s events presented in Michael Burrill’s #currentaffairswrap
This week it was reported that staff from the immigration department accidentally revealed some of the private details of world leaders who visited for the G20 summit, a gaffe made worse by the fact they declined to inform the leaders of the breach. Shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles labelled the situation “a huge embarrassment for the Abbott government,” while dole constable Scott Morrison admitted it was “highly regrettable.” In a week where ASIO has sounded their pleasure at metadata retention legislation helped passed by both Morrison and Marles, it seems rather farcical both are now privacy advocates – particularly since not only do I doubt that any of these world leaders are at any risk of identity theft, but amongst their number are two men who oversaw (or perhaps more accurately, overlooked) extensive mass surveillance programs.
Possibly buoyed by his short foray into privacy advocacy, Morrison has turned his mucky hands back to human rights. Displaying much the same “huh?!? what human rights!?!?” attitude which characterised his stint as immigration minister, Morrison once again took aim at Human Rights Commission President, Gillian Triggs, describing her as “out of touch.” The criticism was based on a decision Triggs made to award a West Papuan refugee, John Basikbasik, $350,000 after he was detained without charge for eight years, despite having completed a seven-year sentence for manslaughter. Maybe I’m “out of touch” but detaining someone without charge after they have served their time seems to be against the supposed rules. I guess it should be no surprise that this government once again thinks the rules don’t apply to them. Elsewhere, past and present employees of the Nauru detention centre look set to inform a Senate inquiry that the government was aware of sexual violence within the camp long before the Moss review. There’s “out of touch” and then there is shrugging cruel indifference.
Lastly, I would cover the attack in Kenya by al-Shabaab, but instead I might take the advice of SBS management and go with something a bit lighter. In an attempt to retain viewers as the channel tries to make ends meet amid funding cuts, SBS World News staff were advised to go for “quirky” stories, rather than “turn-off” ones about the more distressing nature of the world. The obvious quirky story would be Jacqui Lambie’s move to register her own party (named the Jacqui Lambie Network), while PUP threatens to sue her for leaving; but I’m going to go with something else, a heartwarming yarn about an unlikely couple of friends. Ever since they met as babies, Irish Wolfhound, Fat Man, and Teacup Pig, Little Boy, have acted as though they were biologically related, despite being from two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPECIES! They spend their days frolicking around, grooming each other and appearing in YouTube videos and fluff news pieces – an inspiring lesson in harmony and acceptance we could all learn from – blissfully unaware that their owner named them after nuclear weapons and plans to potentially use them in experiments on the effects of radiation after the internet money dries up, due to his cynicism regarding the impending Iranian nuclear deal. In fact, with their warm damp noses and cute twirling tales, one need only look at Fat Man and Little Boy’s simplistic joyful existence, and forget about those horrible “turn off” stories; they have no concern for war, disease or climate change. Wouldn’t you love to be carefree like that Irish Wolfhound and Teacup Pig? It’s easier than you think, just keep watching “quirky” stories about friendly animals, celebrity scandals and whatever else. Not only will you largely avoid those depressing stories, but as you fizz along in dizzy indifference, thinking about how much better it would be if we could all just get along like that blind penguin and the lawnmower it thinks is its mother, the chance of becoming an unwitting experiment on the effects of radiation remains a distant but very real possibility for all of us.