Tag Archives: Coalition

Fasten your seat belts: turbulence ahead

25 Jun

It was with a certain contempt that I watched footage of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott piously declaring that he would hold his forked tongue for twenty four hours while the bodies of drowned asylum seekers were recovered and taken to a makeshift morgue on Christmas Island.

And I noted the absence of any comment, pious or otherwise, from Shadow Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison. Perhaps they’ve put the muzzle on in case he comes out with observations somebody might construe as racist.

However, it seems inevitable that all gloves will be off when Parliament resumes today, and we will be subjected to the self-interested politicising of the plight of asylum seekers that began with John Howard and hasn’t stopped since.

No doubt the government will attempt a revival of its Malaysia plan. This surely will necessitate re-negotiations with that country, as the initial agreement covered only 800 boat arrivals, after which, presumably, we went back to how things always were.

Mr Abbott will no doubt adhere to his demands that the government re-open his beloved Nauru detention facilities, because, he will argue, when they were operative they stopped the boats. Quite how the Nauru option will stop the boats is unclear to me, after all, practically everyone who got to Nauru was found to be a refugee and resettled. Hardly seems like a disincentive.

What both major parties apparently fail to grasp is the desperation of people who undertake these journeys. The dangers they face are no deterrent. They risk their lives to have a life. An inability to comprehend desperation is fairly typical of most politicians. They lack the imagination, and are far too occupied with saving their own arses than they are with the plight of human beings in dire circumstances, at home and abroad. Lack of political will is responsible for some of the most obscene travesties on the planet.

What we urgently need is a regional approach to managing people movements. This will require a degree of co-operation between the government, the Coalition and the Greens. This possibility looks as likely as Gina Rinehart funding care and housing for homeless children.

What we will get is yet another extended brawl that will achieve nothing. Then there will be another catastrophe in which more lives are lost. Then we will have another extended brawl that achieves nothing. Then there will be another catastrophe in which more lives are lost.

As well as the asylum seekers, you know who I feel sorry for? The good people of Christmas Island who have to deal with the stark reality of these events in their back yards.

This piece from the Castan Centre unpacks the complexities with clarity. The author addresses the notion of saving lives by deterring asylum seekers from embarking in the first place. Perhaps, if our objective really is to save lives, we would supply safer boats?  Or is the saving of life a cover for deeper concerns about border protection and just stopping the boats?

Thus far our politicians have proved themselves entirely inadequate on this matter. It isn’t good enough. Refugees are not going away. The numbers seeking resettlement here are miniscule compared with many other countries. It is a regional problem, but how can Australia take a responsible role in addressing it at this level when our politicians continue to domestically exploit widespread human misery to further their own interests?

Coalition moral high horse is nothing but a braying donkey

22 Apr

Before Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his braying band of born to rule big mouths get too comfortable up on their freshly saddled moral high horses, they might do well to consider this: Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper has a history. The LNP is aware that this history includes, according to this account, alleged sexual harassment and sexual behaviour that some of their number found unacceptable enough to complain about:

According to the court documents, the Howard government was aware of Mr Slipper’s sexual relationship with another young male adviser – and other allegations of sexual harassment – as early as 2003.

Megan Hobson, a former adviser to Mr Slipper, approached John Howard’s then senior adviser Tony Nutt after she – and two other women – had viewed a video featuring the Speaker and the young male adviser.

According to the court documents, the video included footage of Mr Slipper lying on a bed with the male adviser and hugging him in “an intimate fashion”.

After hearing her concerns about the video, Mr Nutt allegedly told Ms Hobson to “forget all about it”.

The Coalition has overnight moved from “forget all about it” to “he must step down these are serious allegations.”

While the staffers Slipper allegedly harassed are adults, the Howard government’s attitude reminds me of the church officials who, when informed of the sexual predilections of some of their priests, simply shuffled them around from parish to parish, rather than call them to account and deal with the damage done to children in their care.

Sexually harassing an adult in your employ is an abuse of power. It’s against the law. It can cause a great deal of distress, sometimes long-term, for the unwilling recipient. It’s not a situation anyone should have to deal with when they arrive at their workplace every day. What the Howard government did, and what the Coalition has continued to do ever since, is cover-up serious allegations made against Slipper because it was expedient for them to do so, in spite of these alleged actions being against the law.

It’s a given that sexual abuse of all kinds perpetrated on  both adults and children can only continue to the extent that it does with the collusion of others. Institutions look the other way, or actively cover up  and repress allegations. It’s a given that we aren’t going to make big inroads into sexually abusive behaviours until institutions cease to enable the alleged perpetrators by protecting them from scrutiny. This is everyone’s problem. Politicians need to be leaders in this. They need to take action and be seen to take action when allegations of this kind are made against one of their number.

The Coalition doesn’t have a leg to stand on in the Slipper scandal. The way the situation was initially handled by them is disgraceful. They covered up allegations of a crime. They told complainants to “forget all about it.”  They showed utter disregard for staffers who had allegedly suffered sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is sickening. No less sickening are those who hold positions of power that permit them to do something about it, and instead choose to cover it up for their own gains. Get off your moral high horse Mr Abbott. It’s really just a braying donkey.

Why KRudd MP better not attempt a come back

12 Dec

I don’t believe KRudd MP is going to make a play for the leadership in the first half of next year, and so convinced am I of my rightness that I’ve bet all my Christmas presents on Twitter.

Think about it. He doesn’t have enough support and never has had even when he was PM, otherwise he wouldn’t have found himself lying in the gutter looking at the stars with his left testicle by his side, cruelly severed without benefit of anaesthetic by several faceless men and a faced woman all wielding long knives.

While it would be sweet revenge for KRudd MP to re-assume party leadership and his abruptly terminated Prime Ministership, consigning his mortal enemies to the dustbin of the vanquished in the process, that kind of stuff doesn’t happen in real life. It’s the stuff of Jacobean revenge plays and Shakespearean drama. Admittedly so was the original coup, but they can’t pull it off twice in four years, especially since it was only ever accidentally in those high cultural realms in the first place.

So I’m calling bollocks on the MSM’s fevered speculation about a Rudd/Gillard rift as the precursor to a leadership challenge in the new year. Of course there’s a bloody rift. They’re never going to be best friends, and they never were in the first place. They don’t have to be. Are we to believe everyone in the government gets along?

But what did interest me on Twitter this morning were the tweets about finishing the job on Kev’s nuts if he so much as causes a destabilising rumour. That I find bizarre. IMO the federal ALP destabilised itself when it threw him out, and they’ve been paying for it ever since. The PM has contributed to the destabilising process with a variety of peculiar, unthought through and ultimately highly mockable “decisions” which I won’t detail here because it’s holiday time and everybody knows anyway.

So it seems a bit rough to turn round and blame the victim, but that is what bullies usually do. No matter what you think of Kevin, he did get rumbled, and it’s pretty normal after being rumbled for a human being to indulge in fantasies of revenge. Of course, thoughts and actions are very different things, but I’m betting that KRudd MP is not daft enough to launch into a leadership tilt that will most likely see him right back in the gutter again, sans both testicles this time, and sans his much-loved job as Foreign Minister. I mean, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

However, sense and politics are not always or even sometimes bedfellows, I grant that.

I don’t want KRudd MP as PM again. That ship has sailed. There may well be a leadership change next year, but it better not be back to Rudd because that will turn the government into a total laughing-stock, and they really cannot afford that.

The MSM is whipping up trouble, as is its wont. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re all rooting for the Noalition. In the media what isn’t said is as influential as what is, and I’m flabbergasted that the MSM has maintained a studied silence on the Coalition costings black hole scandal. Well, it isn’t a scandal, actually, and it should be. These people are attempting to sell themselves as an alternative government and they are to all intents and purposes a bunch of financially incompetent drongos. Yet is the MSM ridiculing them? Is it hell.

Given that the Gillard government has, in spite of everything, achieved a great deal since taking office, why in the name of all that is reasonable would anyone want to replace them with a gang of ageing shrivelled charlatans led by a deeply conflicted homophobic misogynist? Why, I ask you. Why, why, why?

I have never really recovered from the shock of WHAT THEY DID WHEN THEY TOOK OUT MY PM WITHOUT TELLING ME. But it’s time to let old hurts and resentments go. IT WAS SOOOO DASTARDLY. But that was then. This is now. IT WAS SOOOO UNSPEAKABLE. But we have to work together to make the very best of what we’ve got. AND NO MATTER HOW PISSED I AM AT YOU COWARDLY BASTARDS FOR WHAT YOU DID, you are still by far the better option.

So, please, everyone in government, do your very best to stabilise yourselves. Look at the big picture, consider the greater good, and those of you who want revenge, dig deep into your inner stores of goodness and find it in yourselves to forgo that desire in the interests of this nation, and of our future. I’m begging you. On my knees. Please do not make us have this:

Politicians’ racist refugee policies revealed yet again.

28 Feb

by Pigeon Poo via flickr

 

In his interview on ABC radio’s Counterpoint on February 28, former immigration minister Philip Ruddock unintentionally revealed the racist platform on which the coalition’s asylum seeker policies, like the government’s, uneasily sit.

When asked why asylum seekers who arrive by plane are not held in detention, he explained that they usually have a place to stay, and so there’s no need to go to the expense of detaining them while their claims are being processed.

The Counterpoint interviewer didn’t point out that there are boat arrivals who have family already in the community, and could very easily stay with them while their refugee claims are being processed. Just like the plane people.

Instead, they are held in indefinite mandatory detention. There is no mandatory detention for the airborne.

What is the difference between the waterborne asylum seekers and airborne? Most of the waterborne come from the Middle East.

The Coalition’s refugee policies are allegedly built on giving preference to deserving as opposed to undeserving asylum seekers, that is, they allegedly favour accepting those who are in most need.

This doesn’t include boat people because they have enough money to pay their way, and they take refugees places from those without the means to do that.

Ruddock doesn’t have the same attitude to asylum seekers who arrive by plane. Unlike boat arrivals they have visas, he says, and have been “vetted.”

However, they still take places from those refugees without the means to get visas, and without the means to pay airfares.

The Counterpoint interviewer neglected to point that out, as well.

There is no apparent reason  to treat waterborne and airborne asylum seekers differently. As the former are without visas, it is sensible to detain them for an appropriate period while they undergo health and identity checks. They can then be released into the community, as are the plane arrivals.

The punitive criminalizing of boat arrivals makes no sense in any terms other than racist. It’s very likely that they have fled more difficult circumstances than those who arrived by plane, from countries where it is still possible to obtain visas and engage in regular travel.

Indeed, plane arrivals are more likely to be making immigration choices, as opposed to seeking asylum.

Circumstances in Iraq, for example, are horrific. SBS Dateline, Sunday February 27 ran a piece called Nation of Tears that eloquently portrayed the life Iraqis have to live.

As a member of the Coalition of the Willing who illegally invaded that country, we bear our share of responsibility for the on going chaos and death. Yet we imprison those who flee that nightmare, while allowing those who arrive from functioning countries,with visas, to live free while their refugee claims are assessed.

This hardly sounds like a policy of attending to the most in need.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the coalition and the government to deny their inherent racism. No matter how hard they try it keeps on erupting, as it will when it’s so deeply ingrained.

If Chris Bowen and Scott Morrison have an explanation as to why there is such on going discrimination between asylum seekers arriving by boat and plane, why don’t they reveal it, and put paid to the inevitable allegations of racism against themselves and their parties?

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