Michael Burrill

Current Affairs Wrap: Climate Change, Dyson Heydon, Jacqui Lambie

Michael Burrill’s Current Affairs Wrap features the climate change debate, the Dyson Heydon problem and the reasoning behind Jacqui Lambie’s bill.

In a week where polling suggested that we don’t really trust either party on climate policy, the Australian Government seemed to justify that distrust as they released their 2030 emissions reduction target of 26%. Chief executive of the Climate Institute, John Connor, described the target as “pathetically inadequate”. A claim that was backed by head of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben, who said “Australia is fundamentally out of step and this decision puts Australia among the ‘don’t cares’ of the international community”, adding: “Mr Abbott’s hubris is staggering”. While there is obviously some level of hypocrisy in a nations like the UK criticising Australia, when a country with stronger yet still inadequate climate policy is openly describing your policies as hubristic and out of touch, then you probably need to take a long hard look at your reflection in the rising waters. That being said, I expect voters to completely ignore it at the ballot box again, focusing on economics and national security, saving their ire for polls that have no real effect. Keep up the good work people…

On the topic of national security, the inquiry into the Government’s proposed citizenship legislation and immigration policy again indicated why people should be less trusting of both. The Australian Bar Association told the Joint Intelligence and Security Committee that it was likely the citizenship bill would be found unconstitutional and that either way, it would “erode cherished freedoms”.

The Government rejected any claims that the legislation would be struck down on constitutional grounds but refused to release the reasoning to justify this. All seems completely above board…When it came to the Nauru detention centre, a former Wilson Security employee’s footage of guards joking about shooting detainees and calling them “f___s” and “c___s” was released to the press, along with testimony confirming the surveillance operation carried out on Sarah Hanson-Young.

At Manus Island detention centre, it’s been revealed the immigration department banned “freedom” brand muesli bars. Wouldn’t want them to get any ideas eh? Kinda destroys all that humanitarian rhetoric Tone and Short William like to wear on their hip. One needs only to look at the comments of a politician being honest for once, UK foreign secretary, Phillip Hammond, (discussing the EU’s migrant crisis) to know what all this is really about. Hammond told the BBC “Now that is not a sustainable situation because Europe can’t protect itself, preserve its standard of living and social infrastructure if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa”. There you have it people, Fear and selfishness.

Continuing on the same theme, the Royal Commission into Union Corruption has been plagued by accusations of bias after the commissioner, Dyson Heydon, agreed to speak at a Liberal party function. Heydon’s office attempted to smooth tensions by pulling out of the event and releasing an email, apparently sent 10 minutes before the press contacted him about the function, illustrating that he said if it was billed as a Liberal party event he would be unable to attend. Tone rejected calls for the man with 2 surnames’ sacking, while Crispy Pyne described the reaction as the “greatest storm in the teacup in years” despite rather quizzically seeming to confirm there was something wrong with the situation by saying “Why he was invited in the first place is beyond me“. A particularly sad state of affairs. Whatever his attempts at mitigation, Dyson Heydon knowingly agreed to speak at an event organised by an arm of the Liberal party, and only pulled out after the press uncovered it. But this isn’t hearsay or misrepresentation, any semblance of impartiality has been obliterated. I bet Gillian Triggs is lapping this up… On the other hand, while this only seems to prove Labor’s claims the commission is a political attack (and it is), it doesn’t change the fact it has discovered dodgy dealings in the union executive, including some by Short William…

As the Coalition voted against a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, the issue began the fighting over which way was best to avoid taking any responsibility on the issue. The Abetz Brotherz comedy duo (this time it was Eric on the mic) struck again. In the party room meeting, Eric, fighting for “tradition”, told his colleagues “Lots of homosexuals don’t want to get married, Dolce & Gabbana never got married”. Now Eric, lots of heterosexuals don’t want to get married either, does that mean we should abolish marriage all together? One more thing Eric, despite what you may have been told at your WW2 re-enactments (just a guess), not all gay men are camp fashion designers…

Jacqui Lambie turned something very reasonable and very human into something very stupid this week. Speaking in opposition to a bill which would remove welfare from people in psychiatric facilities that have been charged with serious crimes but not convicted, Jac told the Senate “I’m going to take the hard road on this issue and vote against the government legislation. In this debate I think the government has forgotten that the people affected by this legislation have already been assessed by the courts and deemed to be very ill”. She then went on to outline a reveal a related personal struggle, revealing that her 21-year-old son is an ice addict.

While I’m obviously very sympathetic to her plight and it makes what she did next understandable, my sympathies ended as there as Jac proposed a bill which would allow parents to place their children in detox against their will. Since I’m fairly sure parents can already place their children in detox against their will if they’re minors, what she actually seems to be proposing is granting parents the ability to place their adult children in mandatory detox at their discretion. While I can obviously understand the helplessness Jac feels, it’s plain to see the basis of her proposal is problematic.

Not only that, but unless somebody has a serious desire to quit, throwing an unwilling addict into detox with a bunch of other unwilling addicts seems like a recipe for very little progress and a whole bunch more drug connections.


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