Tag Archives: Bob Carr

The diversion of aid: Carr’s false comparisons

19 Dec

The Gillard government yesterday declared its intention to rob overseas aid of $375 million in order to help pay  the living expenses of asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat.

The money will allegedly go towards supporting the resettlement of asylum seekers who have been released into the community on bridging visas. These asylum seekers need financial support because the government will not allow them to work while their claims are being processed.

They have been condemned to a marginal existence, receiving some 85% of the already meagre Newstart allowance, for some five years, the time it is estimated it will take authorities to process their asylum claims.

It’s not known if the money will also be used to fund off-shore detention centres, particularly the construction of new facilities on Nauru and Manus Island.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr claims this is no big deal, and cites the United States, Canada, Sweden and France as countries that already use overseas aid money for domestic purposes. However, none of those countries have a policy of indefinite and mandatory detention for asylum seekers.

In Sweden it is preferred that asylum seekers work while awaiting a decision on refugee status. In the US the maximum period an asylum seeker must wait before being allowed to work is five months. In most rich countries including Canada, asylum seekers are permitted to work within a matter of months.

However the countries cited by Carr spend their overseas aid money domestically, it is not on supporting asylum seekers for years while they await decisions on their status and are forbidden to work. It is not spent on supporting asylum seekers living in indefinite off-shore mandatory detention. Carr’s comparison of Australia’s asylum seeker policies with those of other countries is entirely false. We have nothing in common with any peer country.

The diverted money is intended for overseas aid and development. If it is to be spent overseas, that will be in our off-shore detention centres. Quite what development will be achieved in that instance is unclear. It’s also unclear how any development might be achieved domestically in denying asylum seekers the right to work, and forcing them into marginal existence paid for by the government for up to five years.

The Opposition, via its mouthpiece Julie Bishop, continue to confidently bray that they will “stop the boats.” As the Gillard government has implemented the most severe conditions we have yet seen, and still the boats arrive, it is difficult to imagine just how Mr Abbott will achieve this goal.

A fit and proper halibut

3 May

Yesterday Philip Adams tweeted that Grahame Morris ought to be smacked about the head with a halibut for his comment that Julia Gillard “should be kicked to death.” There’s a great analysis of Morris’s comment and the media’s almost total silence about it here.

It wasn’t a great week for the PM as next Joe Hildebrand, in his analysis of where he thinks the government has gone wrong, included this gratuitous paragraph:

And, to be frank, the fact that Gillard has no children perhaps also limits her exposure to what’s happening in the world outside the rarefied corridors of Canberra or the Melbourne dinner party set. If the PM moved in broader circles or had better political instincts then this would not be an issue but it seems as though she needs every avenue to the outside world she can get and kids can be a great – if often unwelcome – conduit to what’s really going on. Having said that, this is of course a deeply personal matter and entirely one for her. It merely presents as one reason why she may be so insulated from popular opinion.

He was set upon by a small army of tweeps, including myself, for writing sexist claptrap that I won’t even begin to dignify with argument in this post. Overwhelmed by our aggression, Hildebrand asked us to stop. Of course we intensified out attack. Surely being employed by a boss declared not a fit and proper person to run a newspaper business must trickle down, even to hacks like Hildebrand? How come he wrote three paragraphs about new FM Bob Carr without any speculation as to how his child free state might insulate him from foreign affairs?

The mouthy Murdoch minion retired for a while, then reappeared to tweet that we should read his work properly before rushing to judgement, and he provided a link in case some of us wanted to revisit it. There’s a deconstruction of Hildebrand’s opinion piece here that’s worth a read.

It then occurred to me out of nowhere that a halibut would likely be a better PM than Tony Abbott. This fish is a flat one, and a member of the right-eyed flounders species. It’s also a bottom feeder. All in all, barely distinguishable from the LOTO. Bereft of the capacity for contemplation, the halibut is undisturbed by ethical considerations. Lacking a moral compass, it is not compelled to seek the good. Caught unawares it opens and closes its jaws while simultaneously releasing mouth farts. Yes. Bring on the fit and proper halibut. We’ll never know the difference.

Halibut

The King’s Tribune, The PM gives the msm the finger, and things you might like to read.

2 Mar

I don’t know if you’re familiar with The King’s Tribune, a monthly journal on politics, media and culture. It’s available in hard copy and online, and it’s the only journal our household reads cover to cover.

And this month I’m proud to be a contributor:

http://www.kingstribune.com/current-issue/1469-down-among-the-women

Journalist Jill Singer wrote a piece for the Herald Sun about the legal threats made against me by Melinda Tankard Reist a couple of months ago. I was enormously cheered by her perspective and it’s with some amazement that I hear she’s being replaced at the Herald Sun. Can it be true that her replacement is Lara Bingle?

As regulars know, I’m no great fan of Julia Gillard’s but driving home from my water ballet class this morning I laughed out loud when heard how she’s turned the tables on some prominent msm journalists with her announcement of Bob Carr as Foreign Minister. This follows a couple of days of unrelenting media criticism on the topic, from some who may now like to eat their words. Not that they will.

Even to my jaundiced eye, a “fairly unrelenting anti Gillard campaign” seems a realistic assessment of the last few months’ coverage by some journos, whose lack of objectivity remains inexplicable.

After the leadership question was settled the other day I firmly resolved to accept Ms Gillard, and focus all my critical faculties on Tony Abbott and his gang of thugs from now until the election. This is because I would rather have needles in my eyes than do anything that might assist those agents of Satan into government.

So please, PM, stay on track, continue to give the bastards hell in question time, and don’t do anything silly. I’m not in your electorate so I won’t be voting for you, but as I’m rather fond of my local federal member who works very hard for us, I can safely say the ALP has my vote, barring any unforseen and disagreeable event that might cause me to protest at the ballot box.

At Hoyden about town, there’s this piece on free speech that is worth reading.

At Liberty Victoria there’s the piece that sparked a Twitter exchange between myself, Sandi Logan and others, where Mr Logan displayed his mastery of Orwellian doublespeak, of which more later.

If you are interested in what’s happening in the US in the battle for the right to control what women do with our bodies, this piece from Salon is a must read.

And this little piece brought joy to my heart when I read it. As you might know, Optus took legal action in an effort to silence AFL boss Andrew Demetriou who’d accused them of stealing content and other nefarious practices. It was his personal opinion, the judge decided, and refused an injunction. At least we live in a country where we can still express personal opinions without being legally gagged. Hoo haa!


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