Current Affairs Wrap: Russia, Revocation of citizenship for extremists, AWU

Michael Burrill’s #CurrentAffairsWrap covers Abbott’s backflip over proposed citizenship revocation powers, and the thawing of the Cold War.

This week, a white guy acting on an exclusionary and violent political philosophy killed nine black people in Charleston, South Carolina without, rather puzzlingly, the term “terrorist” being uttered by authorities once. In contrast, the word was thrown around quite liberally (no pun intended) here in Australia to describe…well…anyone the government so chose, whether they’ve committed an act of terrorism or not, as debate over proposed citizenship revocation powers continued.

Once again illustrating the calm nature in which such debate has been carried out, Tone claimed Labor wanted to “roll out the red carpet” for terrorists after they called for suspects to be tried and convicted before their citizenship can be revoked. Is that the same red carpet they’ve spinelessly rolled out for all of the Government’s previous “anti-terror” legislation? Either way, it seems a bit rich coming from someone who, due to his repeated alienation of the Muslim community and fondness for characterising IS as an unprecedented, almost supernatural “death cult”, could be described as one of Salafi Jihadism’s greatest Australian recruitment tools. T came under attack himself, as former Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Bret Walker SC, rubbished assertions that he proposed the immigration minister be granted the power to revoke citizenship without a criminal conviction. Walker was particularly perturbed at Tone’s contention he had “changed his mind”, saying, “His position is indefensible and he should apologise”. I can’t really blame Bret for being pissed off. He’s repeatedly and clearly stated the intended nature of his proposals, including three weeks ago on national television. In that same week, the Government suggested they would be releasing the details of the legislation “within a few days”. This week, those specifics are still yet to be released, with Banal Pete (Dutton) telling all of us “not to get bogged down in detail”. Is a man who is so hazy on details the kind of person who should be trusted with such serious powers?

Banal Pete dodged a protestors’ shoes this week, just as, despite mounting evidence, he continued to dodge questions over allegations the government paid people smugglers. Pete justified his rejection of Senate requests for related documents by suggesting it could “reasonably be expected to cause damage to national security, defence or international relations”. In a departure from his main tactic of repeating variations on “stop the boats” ad nauseam, Tone attempted to shift blame to the media, claiming they were “promoting discord” with Indonesia. After all that, Julie Bishop then confusingly seemed to promote discord with Indonesia (thus causing damage to national security and international relations) as she said, “The best way for Indonesia to resolve any concerns it has about Operation Sovereign Borders is for Indonesia to enforce sovereignty over its borders”. To add to the farce of it all, Labor’s initial bluster was blunted after it was revealed they also paid people smugglers while in government…

Turning one’s back on the vulnerable and enriching the morally questionable seems to be in vogue, as is illustrated by European nations’ moves to make a deal with the Eritrean Government, in order to stop the flow of refugees. Rather than implore the regime (a regime which last week was accused by a UN report, of systematic torture and human rights abuses) to treat it’s citizens better, it is suggested the potential deals will include monetary incentives for a toughening of border controls – controls which apparently have at times included a shoot to kill policy. That such measures are even being considered seems to further confirm findings by Amnesty International that “The refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century, but the response of the international community has been a shameful failure”.

From one shameful failure to another, self-styled prophet of the proletariat, Short William, has been implicated in unsavoury, possibly illegal dealings in his time at the AWU. Bill took money from construction companies on numerous occasions in the form of membership fees for their employees and then went on to negotiate collective bargaining agreements favourable to the aforementioned companies. The Government have unsurprisingly delighted in the allegations. When a party who were the architects of WorkChoices can reasonably question the leader of the Labor party’s commitment to workers’ rights, then surely the “working man’s paradise” as Australia was once known, is not only dead, but is having its corpse joyfully dragged through the corridors of power, shedding rotting appendages as it goes. With this in mind, I guess attempts by the Senate to bribe disabled people (paid around a dollar an hour) out of legal action, Baiada Chicken paying employees $11.50 an hour and welfare recipients under 30 essentially receiving a similar hourly rate for their 25 hours a week, and work for dole obligations, are all issues which should be seen as reflections of the status quo, rather than the aberrations the corpse draggers would have us believe they are.

The new cold war continued to thaw this week, as the US announced plans to station weapons in NATO countries which border Russia. The Russians were unsurprisingly less than thrilled about the plans, with General Yuri Yakubov saying, “Our hands are completely free to organise retaliatory steps to strengthen our Western frontiers”. In a reminder of just how high the stakes are, Vlad Putin announced the addition of 40 new missiles to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Speaking at the opening of the Patriot Park, a “military Disneyland”, Vlad claimed the missiles were “capable of overcoming even the most technically advanced missile defence systems”. Military Disneyland!? Just goes to show the kind of people we’re dealing with. Thank god we don’t engage in such unhealthy idolisation of the military in this country, just the philosophical military Disneyland that is Anzac Day…oh, and the army recruitment adverts on TV…aaaand the school trips to see warships at the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. But you know, apart from that…

Lastly this week, in US election news, Stretch Armstrong lookin’ mutherfucker Donald Trump announced he would be running for the Republican Presidential nomination. Some may be aware of the natural-born citizen clause in the US constitution which stipulates that only those entitled to citizenship at birth are eligible for the presidency. Trump and others have used the clause to question Barack Obama’s legitimacy , with the rubbery one repeatedly demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate. Personally I’d like to see Don’s birth certificate; I have suspicions he may have been born in a toy factory in China…


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