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…



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