Michael Burrill’s Current Affairs Wrap, touches on Malcolm Turnbull’s doublespeak, Shorten’s proposal and his ability to predict the future.
Current Affairs Wrap begins this week with me gloating about the accuracy of a prediction made last week: “All we can really look forward to is a more articulate, charming explanation of why we should shrug our shoulders at detainees so traumatised they are willing to set themselves on fire.”
My triumph began with our new PM telling an interviewer “I have concerns about the situation of people on Manus and Nauru; this is an area that clearly is one that is controversial, that is a challenging one, it is certainly one that close attention is being paid to. I thank you for raising it, it is legitimate to raise it, but we are not going to make policy changes on the run.” Ha!
Perhaps it’s me, but much of the immigration policy from recent Labor and Liberal governments seems to have been made on the run. Whether be it Labor’s sudden about-face on offshore processing, paying $55 million for the resettlement of what has amounted to four refugees (one of whom wants to leave), the paying of people smugglers for various things or Tone deciding Australia did have more room for Syrian refugees after all…
I digress, at least Mal seemed to be signalling an openness to reconsider such policy, right? Peter Dutton (who somehow still has a job) put an end to any hope of that shortly after, saying “I saw the Prime Minister’s interview and I agree with him 100%, where we can get people out of Nauru to permanent arrangements elsewhere in the world, then we will do that.” Mal himself was forced to fall in line later, asserting “I know it sounds tough, but we cannot take a backward step on this issue, the people smugglers have to understand, we will not tolerate people smuggling.” That is, unless you need information or to turn back an inconvenient boat, then by all means put money in their pockets.
Anyway, you shouldn’t let the use of your tax dollars to torture desperate people distract from the real issue here: my ability to see into the future. If Nostradamus over here can predict an obvious political reality, then surely it’s time you all started worrying about the apocalyptic visions littered throughout the short history of this column, particularly the ones involving cannibalistic war tribes. For those who still doubt my powers, BEHOLD! I have gazed deeply into the bottom of a bottle and divined that it’s probable that at least one person will find at least one piece of this article disagreeable. SHAZAM!
Sticking with the Liberal party, claims about the “healing” properties of the leadership and cabinet reshuffle by new Cabinet Secretary, Arthur Sinodinos (himself miraculously healed of his involvement with dodgy dealings in NSW), seem to have been overly optimistic as tensions inside the party were on display for all to see this week. Conservative, Abbott loyalist and Natural Family Man Of the Year, Kevin Andrews (who was replaced in defence by Marise Payne, the first woman to hold the post) didn’t even wait for Mal’s announcement before attacking his removal from Cabinet, saying “I’m disappointed that Mr Turnbull did not accept my offer to work with him. Frankly my remaining in this job was not about me. It was all about the stability of our Defence Force in Australia and its leadership.”
Cory Bernardi had some choice words of his own for the new regime, claiming “I don’t think anyone has come out of this particularly well. I’ve used terms like treachery. I think there has been disloyalty, there’s no question about that.” He also warned that if the Libs take “the path of being more like Labor than like the traditional Liberal vision, which is a distinctly conservative vision, then who knows what will happen?”
Continuing the Liberal love-in, Tone (fresh from a surf and definitely not undermining or spoiling) disagreed with Treasury Hunter Scott Morrison’s version of events in the build up to the leadership spill. T said “I’m afraid Scott badly misled people” and defended his own questionable behaviour towards his deputy and treasurer by adding “Look, I was doing what I could to save the government. That’s what I was doing.”
Yeah, it’s everyone else’s fault…
He then deflected questions over whether he would stand at the next election, saying “The only question I’ve asked myself is how do I catch more waves.” Definitely no politics or sniping here, just hanging loose, catching some w’s and having chilled convos with NewsCorp journalists who coincidentally happen to be there…
Now onto the Labor party. At last, seemingly aware that the game has completely changed, Short William announced two ACTUAL policy positions this week (possibly more than he did during the whole Abbott Government). The first of those positions is an increase in tertiary funding and decrease in the price of degrees, along with increased oversight by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and other measures aimed at ensuring more students complete their degrees.
The second is known as the “Start Up Year” program, which would provide foreign uni students in their last year with support and an extra year of residency in Australia if they have a credible start-up idea. As much as I’d love to congratulate Bill on his sudden burst of vision, he still has to go. Not only is it too little, too late, but his dealings with the employers of workers he was meant to represent are more than enough to reasonably view the man as a charlatan and a crook. Personally, I’d suggest Melissa Parke as his replacement, but the spirits inform me it would probably be between Albo and Tanya Plibersek.
Back to Mal now, who made a big policy announcement of his own this week, as he outlined his response to domestic violence. Promoting the $100 million of funding to be spread across a number of initiatives, Mal said, “Violence against women begins with disrespecting women. And so this is a big cultural shift,” and added “Real men don’t hit women.” Here I was thinking it was real men hitting women with their real hands and causing real damage that was the problem.
At this point, I was gonna highlight the lack of reaction in the West to reports of both a sexual assault committed by a member of the Saudi royal family in the US and of a 21 old Saudi, arrested when he was 17, that has been sentenced to beheading and crucifixion. Then I was going to go on and contrast that lack of reaction with the response to IS doing much the same.
Instead, I’m gonna take the advice of a loyal Cwrapper (which I’ve decided is a cool, snappy way to describe my readers) and soften it up a bit by talking about trendy new products. The obvious one to discuss this week is the much anticipated iDoodle 5.76. The suave new design is sleek and streamlined liked a malnourished refugee, while improved WiFi connectivity and 247:365 HD definition means you can avoid other people’s eye contact and the world’s misery like never before!
The touch screen delivers a soothing vapour of Klonopin into your pores as you flick past depressing news stories, searching for those funny pictures of cats that look like al-Baghdadi (or is it King Salman? I always get them confused). Feeling like a hungry bird after all that giggling away like an easy breeze on a long weekend’s Sunday morning? You can continue the laughs by toasting those cats onto a sandwich with the USB attachment, the iJafflePrinter. Craving something more exotic? Use the iEat app to access the menu of your favourite ethnic restaurant (like say, Newtown’s popular Lebanese restaurant, Arabella) completely safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to engage in an awkward conversation with the proprietor about being targeted by racially motivated attacks.
That’s it for this week Cwrappers, I’ve got some of this strangely addictive touch screening to get back to. See you all next time.