Michael Burrill

Current Affairs Wrap: Dyson Heydon, Australian Border Force, IS

Image: AAP

Michael Burrill’s Current Affairs wrap this week covers Australia’s increased profile in Syria, the Australia Border Force fiasco and a potential cover-up from Manus Island.

This week somewhere in the multiverse, the citizens of a parallel Australia continued to publicly celebrate the introduction of a specially designed vacuum cleaner, The Dyson Heydon (named after it’s inventor Bricely Heydon, who also militarised the air blade), which promises to streamline the horrid lives of workers in the country’s largest industry.

Every since the Eurasian Federation took power, most of the anguished island’s residents have toiled in dangerous conditions making synthetic pigments for the robot coliseum. They will no longer have to handle and breathe in dangerous chemicals in order to separate the blue and red particles, as the Heydon miraculously sucks up the red particles and leaves the blue untouched. Back in our universe, our Dyson Heydon, also commissioned to hoover up troublesome red particles, continues to be panned for overlooking the blue particles that he’s caked in.

This week the ACTU suggested that Heydon may have only changed his stance on the Liberal fundraiser, which kicked off this drama after he was tipped off about media interest by a colleague. In response to this, DH once again pushed back making a decision on his own bias. So, we have a person who is accused of bias being left to “objectively” rule on the validity of those allegations…It’s pretty farcical really. Some might suggest that the best thing the Government could do now is scrap this commission and replace it with a new untarnished one that is able to refer to evidence collected in the previous.

Of course, Tone is having none of this.

Refusing to allow another one of his captain’s picks to end in disaster, he said, “the royal commission must and will go on”. I’ve got a little tip for T, the reason many of your captain’s picks have been so disastrous is the way you’ve ignored the issue until finally forced to reluctantly take action. After the Leadership spill, you indicated that you would learn from your mistakes yet, here we are again.

Conversely, Tone was perfectly happy to admit a mistake after the backlash against proposed random visa checks by crypto-fascist action figures, the Australian Border Force, in Melbourne. The operation was hastily cancelled after snap protests and general public outrage.

Despite Crispy Pyne initially wondering what all the fuss was about, claiming “these sort of visa checking arrangements go on all the time – it’s hardly a new thing”, the Government soon distanced itself and blamed a “low-level official”. T then directly contradicted Crispy, saying “It was over the top and wrong because we would never stop people randomly in the street demanding their visa details, we don’t do that sort of thing in Australia and it would never happen under this government”. The problem is, even if it was a unilateral mistake by a low-level official, the Government chose to maintain a siege mentality in regards to immigration and national security. The very reason for the formation of the Border Force was the supposed need for a stronger, more unified front against the foreign hordes. When consistently advancing such an attitude, is it really a surprise some may think random visa checks are perfectly acceptable, particularly when the Government can’t seem to decide themselves whether they are or not.

In a more harrowing example of the poisonous effect such attitudes can have if left unchecked, a PNG woman, allegedly raped by Australian guards at the Manus Island detention centre, accused the centre’s administrators, Transfield, of a cover-up. She asked, “Once you start hiding people and sending them away, what are you covering up for?”. Similar displeasure was expressed by the island’s MP, Ron Knight, who said “I’m not happy about it. It has dragged on too long and should have been handled right away”. While details are murky at this stage, turning a blind eye to violence and sexual abuse seems to be standard operating practice for Australian detention centres. No smart arse comment here, just another sad example of how indifference to inhumanity ripples out and slowly infects everything…

From one attitude to another, In Palmyra, Syria, IS blew up a temple built in 17AD due to its dedication to the deity Baal. I’m sure the billions of Baal worshippers out there have learnt their lesson…But anyway, I think amongst all the portrayals of IS as an elemental evil, we sometimes miss out on the fact they are bunch of petty hypocritical wankers. It seems ridiculous to act against false idols when you’re constantly taking photos of yourself trying to look mean and rugged in black, holding swords or contorting the features of a severed head into funny expressions, while claiming that you and yours exclusively represent god on earth. For those of you who are sick of seeing IS cause so much destruction and suffering in Syria, don’t worry Australia are considering joining bombing missions there shortly so we should be taking some of the work off their hands!

As Natural Family Man, Kevin Andrews, considered pilot safety (but not civilian) in relation to potential engagement in Syria, service people’s issues were a popular topic this week. In the run up to the Canning by-election, Liberal candidate and ex-SAS member, Andrew Hastie, claimed that “in Afghanistan, I did not feel that the then Labor government had our backs”. Which perhaps explains why his unit was investigated for getting the hands off dead enemies, they needed someone’s reassuring hand on their shoulders… In response, former Labor MP and soldier, Mike Kelly, claimed that “many in the defence community were disappointed by this comment”. Two politicians using their military service for their own ends doesn’t really seem to illustrate a healthy state of affairs on either side. In even more damning evidence, Jacqui Lambie condemned Greens supporters for clogging her office phones in opposition to proposed legislation targeting environmental groups. A spokesperson for Jac said “veterans’ lives could have been lost” as she is the “first port of call”. If Jacqui Lambie is the first or even last port of call for distressed ex-service people, then surely their services are in absolute disarray…

Lastly this week, Donald Trump, somehow still in the race for the Republican presidential nomination despite continuing open xenophobia and misogyny, gave the press a little taste of what the country would be like under him as he had Latino journalist Jorge Ramos removed from a press conference. In a perfect encapsulation of his puzzling continued political survival, one of his supporters suggested “he’s verbalizing what a lot of people think”. Why is it when people say “he’s just saying what everyone is thinking”, it’s always someone who is enabling and encouraging fear and ignorance. It’s never “Ah all that stuff about how we’re better off cooperating with each other and striving for the best world possible, it’s nice to hear, it’s what everyone believes deep down”, it’s always “That guy is a real straight shooter, he says what everyone is thinking, I knew I wasn’t unreasonable for wanting to fire all Mexicans back over the border out of a specially designed cannon”. Having your f__ed up opinion repeated back to you soothingly by a psychopath who knows exactly what you want to hear doesn’t really seem like thinking at all…



Related posts


  1. Michael Burrill said:

    Well he said himself he “overlooked” the fact it was a Liberal fundraiser, which seems to suggest carelessness(I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it was stupid or not). There is no story to buy, it’s a matter of fact he agreed to speak and was advertised as speaking at a Liberal event for months. Whether he quit the event because he was careless and realised his mistake(a chain of events which can’t quite seem to decide whether or not you agree with since he’s apparently above carelessness) or because he’d been rumbled is irrelevant. No matter what his previous record of conduct, he has been involved in an obvious display of political links to the Liberal party while in charge of a politically sensitive investigation. Unless you dispute this, I don’t see what your argument is. While I will admit my OPINION pieces are generally left leaning, suggesting that the unions should still continued to be investigated, but probably not by a person with genuine questions over bias hanging over them, is somehow one sided doesn’t really add up. In fact it seems to be a common sense solution that addresses concerns from both sides. You haven’t provided any facts, just ill defined accusations and questions about logistics. I’m sorry I couldn’t repeat your exact opinion back to you but not everything you disagree with is a lie…

  2. Keely said:

    If you think that Dyson Heydon stepped down from the event because of media whispers you are again being naive. Do you really think a man like him is that stupid or careless? Do you have any idea how events like this works in regards to how they are organised. The bias on your part is you defend or you accuse there seems to be no middle ground and it seems to always be the same story with different players. You seem to have bought the story on Dyson based on a particular side not taking into consideration the realties around his involvement in the royal commission and his involvement in the parties over the past 18 months or other cases. It is not black and white mate, and its a joke to suggest it is. I am not talking about the history of unions, I am talking about the recent events in regards to a specific type of miscalculation from the unions to distract. This is my last message because you seem hell bent on your position on Dyson despite the facts, you have listened to one story only and they got you good. There is some truth in your article but its not as black and white as you are trying to make it out to be, a left vs right lie.

  3. Michael Burrill said:

    What does the history of how unions have acted have to do with this? I think I’ve repeatedly said the investigation into them should continue. How exactly is it more complicated? You keep accusing me of missing this nuance but you seem unable to actually define what it is. The unions’ real or perceived misdeeds don’t suddenly absolve anyone else of responsibility. With Gillian Triggs there was only vague hearsay and mudslinging rather than concrete evidence of bias. Releasing a report around the election would be politically loaded and potentially affect the results. She the left some time for the Liberals to implement their own policy released a report which explored children in detention under both parties, 2 years away from an election. It doesn’t really add up as bias. When It comes to Dyson Heydon, it’s bang to rights, it’s on a printed flyer which has been in circulation for months. His continued involvement tarnishes any findings of the investigation into unions you seem to be so interested in protecting. For all your accusations of bias, you seem too blinded by own partisan bias to see what is right in front of your eyes.

  4. Keely said:

    It is more complicated than ‘he allowed himself to be advertised and then only pulled out when the media kicked up a fuss’ that is the most naive statement. Instead of attacking a reader who finds you too biased I am just asking you to look into the history of how the unions have generally during a time investigation. I think you have a double standard with the way you will defend many politicians unless they are Liberal. What is your stand on Triggs in that case? By your own admission you are saying she should have been gone also.

  5. Michael Burrill said:

    What double standard exactly have I displayed? Did Dyson Heydon agree to speak at a Liberal party function? Did he allow himself to be advertised as such for months, only pulling out when the media kicked up a fuss? Unless you disagree with that chain of events, it IS pretty black and white. It’s not about crucifying, it’s about the fact that any findings the commission releases with him still at the helm will be tarnished. That’s a domino effect that YOU should be thinking about. When it comes to removing him from the equation, there need be very little domino effect. It is my understanding a new royal commission can be called with a new commissioner that is able to make use of evidence from this one. Please tell me what exactly the grand fallout from that would be?

  6. Keely. said:

    That is not what I am suggesting at all, I am suggesting that instead of having double standards have a look at who you are crucifying and why. And what that crucifying actually means for a domino effect. The situation as you should well know is far less B&W than what you are suggesting it is.

  7. [email protected] said:

    His position is untenable, I’m all for continuing a royal commission into unions but it’s plain to see it can’t be lead by a person who for months was advertised as appearing at a Liberal party fundraiser. It cannot be a coincidence? So you’re suggesting that the Labor party and/or unions hypnotised him into agreeing to be the speaker at a Liberal party function and allowing himself to be advertised as such for months?

  8. Keely said:

    i think its a farce the way Heydon has been treated. You know this is the 4th time a ‘scandal’ has hit that has tried to halt a royal commission into the unions Michael? Look into it, cannot be a coincidence.

Comments are closed.

Share via