A policy and politic special as Michael Burrill delivers TBS’ #currentaffairswrap, in a week of Sarah Hanson-Young, Joe Hockey, Pete Dutton and co dominating Australian news.
This week, Tone tried to play down revelations that Sarah Hanson-Young was spied on by Nauru detention centre security contractors, Wilson Security, claiming she was just being “looked after while she was there”. Not infantilising at all for a 33-year-old woman. Despite the claims being verified by the Immigration Department, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, stood by his assertions that Hanson-Young is an “embarrassment to the country” who “makes these allegations which are completely unfounded”. Pete even repeated the barbs on radio with Ray Hadley as they both laughed along to a parody song which labelled Hanson-Young “a half-wit”. Though it pays quite a lot (as real estate expert Joe Hockey’s four properties perfectly illustrate), personally I wouldn’t describe a political career as “good”. In fact, I generally view it with a level of contempt which allows me to comfortably describe Banal Pete as an “odious grey puddle of simpering malice”. My own feelings aside, some may suggest that Pete and Tone degrade the honour of their office by treating a Senator with valid concerns like a hysterical little girl.
Gillian Triggs queried the regional consequences of Australian immigration policy this week, asking “have we thought about what the consequences are of pushing people back to our neighbour Indonesia? Is it any wonder that Indonesia will not engage with us on other issues that we care about, like the death penalty?”. Dastardly Duttley in response continued to make the cows go bong with his political nonsense verse, describing the remarks as an “outrageous slur”, and going on to add, “Well, when you reduce the position to basically that of a political advocate, I think it is very difficult to continue on, and these are issues for Professor Triggs to contemplate”. The absolute temerity of Gillian Triggs, to think that it’s the president of the Human Rights Commission’s job to be a political advocate for human rights…what kind of latte smoking Marx brotherhood are we living in when the government of the day can’t torture some brown people without the bloody Human Rights Commission President inconveniently doing their job!? In worrying indications Indonesia may have some political advocates of their own, their foreign ministry, responding to reports Australian officials had paid people smugglers thousands of dollars to turn back into Indonesian waters, said “This is endangering life. They were in the middle of the sea, but were pushed back”. What an outrageous slur. In what could be interpreted as a tacit confirmation of the claims, Tone declared, “I am proud of the work our border protection agencies have done, I really am proud of the work that they’ve done and they’ve been incredibly creative in coming up with a whole range of strategies to break this evil trade”. When it comes to deterring people smugglers, offering them the opportunity of a cash bonus if they enter Australian waters could, I suppose be described, almost euphemistically, as an “incredibly creative strategy”.
Silma Ihram, a senior member of the Australian Muslim Women’s Association, indicated this week that she considers citizenship changes an “incredibly creative strategy” by Tone to win the next election. Ihram claimed “we could be the next lot shipped over to Cambodia”, compared the rhetoric being used with “reds under the beds” and said “the amount of money put into negative policing and punitive measures has really soured relations between Muslim community and ramped up the sense of fear and isolation in the community”. Former Liberal Immigration Minister and one of the original boatphobes, Amanda Vanstone, was similarly unimpressed with the proposed changes, saying “cutting down our democratic protections to get at the enemy is profoundly dumb” and bemoaning the lack of judicial review. Though Banal Pete has suggested the opportunity for judicial review will be included in the legislation, he also said, “The government’s not going to have the courts second-guessing ministerial decisions”. Elsewhere, Tone ignored the criticism and got back to the flag groping he enjoys so much. Hinting at an expansion of Australian military operations in Iraq, T once again obliged IS their end of days imagery, declaring “Daesh is coming, if it can, for every person and every government, with a simple message: submit or die”. Tone also claimed “American leadership is indispensable here, as in all the world’s trouble spots”. Isn’t American leadership the cause of many of the world’s trouble spots?
Angela Merkel illustrated her forgiveness for Barack Obama’s reading of her texts with a sausage and beer breakfast, as the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the US) met in Germany this week. On the final day of the summit, the G7 committed to phasing out fossil fuels by 2100, which is all well and good but may not arrest climate change at 2 degrees Celsius. To make matters worse, both Labor and Liberal governments have been purposefully overestimating emission forecasts for much of the last 20 years, thus meeting emissions reduction targets with very little real reduction. For those getting that slowly braised feeling again, cheer up, it might never happen! Some conspiracy theorists suggest civilisation will be destroyed by a giant asteroid in September, so watch out for that one! I’ll be listening in on talkback personally, in the hope of hearing “Now listen Ray, you know what gets me!? It’s these fucking asteroids coming to this planet and talking away the right of the people that live here to destroy their own civilisation. It’s fucking political correctness gone mad”.
Lastly this week, in Berlin, US presidential hopeful Jeb Bush attempted to sidestep his brother’s invasion of Iraq, instead invoking his father’s support for German reunification. This might be a slightly out there suggestion, but maybe people should judge him on his policies and his actions rather than his name? America, land of the free, must be so glad they threw off the shackles of one ruling family which handed down it’s power through hereditary. Now they have a few ruling families who hand down power through hereditary to choose from, it’s a triumph of the free market. Bring on another Clinton vs Bush election…