Friday, 24 January 2014

Gillard would never have brought Australia to the sorry pass Abbott has

If one looks back on the life history of the Federal Member for Warringah, Tony Abbott MP, it is obvious that he operates best as a belligerent. That he thrives on conflict.

Not being known as a creator of good public policy or a builder of lasting parliamentary consensus, he seeks to aggressively oppose as a substitute for effective political action.

No longer being able to oppose the Federal Government because he is now the head of that very government, one has to suspect that Abbott is now casting about for another political enemy – a ‘baddie’ to his own ‘goodie’ - to fight for the sake of being seen to be fighting.

I fear that he seeks to engage Indonesia as his new opponent and that he would not (given his obvious admiration of all things military) be averse to leading Australia into a physical skirmish with this close neighbour.

One senses that Abbott finds the idea of being a ‘wartime’ prime minister an attractive proposition, given his recent rhetoric about the enemy and war with regard to towing/turning back asylum seeker boats.

If the Liberal Party of Australia doesn't swiftly depose this mindless adrenalin junkie he will bring our country to its knees.

The situation thus far.......

The Jakarta Post 23 January 2013:

With Canberra pressing ahead with its hard-line policy of turning back asylum seekers to Indonesian waters, Jakarta told its neighbor on Wednesday the policy could lead to violations of Indonesia’s sovereignty and that it had increased security on its borders to prevent incursions. 

A number of Indonesian Navy warships have been deployed and four Air Force defense radars have been programmed to closely monitor the southern border, military officials told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. 

“We are watching four radars in Timika, Merauke [in Papua], Saumlaki [Maluku] and Buraen [East Nusa Tenggara], which all face Australia,” Air Force chief spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjahjanto said.

“If we notice any border violations, our air base in Makassar will be ready. Australia is reachable from there.” Hadi was referring to the Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in the South Sulawesi provincial capital, which is the base of the 11th squadron, consisting of 16 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flankers. 

The Flankers have a maximum range of some 3,000 kilometers. The sea border lies some 1,000 km from Makassar. At Mach 1, or the speed of sound, the Flankers would reach the border in little over an hour. 

Navy chief spokesman Commodore Untung Suropati confirmed that a number of warships had moved toward the Australian border. He said these included frigates, fast torpedo craft (KCT), fast missile craft (KCR) and corvettes as well as maritime patrol aircraft. He declined to reveal the precise number and location of the assets.

“All the ships are on the move, patrolling the waters,” he said.

Tension between the two neighbors reached a new height Wednesday after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that stopping the boats was “a matter of sovereignty” and Jakarta should understand Canberra was taking the issue seriously. 

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who suspended cooperation with Australia following allegations that it attempted to spy on him and members of his inner circle, skipped the Davos meeting to oversee the handling of recent nationwide flooding and the eruption of the Mount Sinabung volcano. 

Abbott’s statement came only days after Australia admitted that its naval ships had entered Indonesian waters. It later apologized to Indonesia for the incursion. 

Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said it was Australia that should respect Indonesia’s sovereignty, “which was violated by the Australian navy.” 

“Asylum seekers that have entered a country, including Australia, must be managed according to the UN Convention on Refugees,” he asserted in a written statement. 

Australia is a signatory to the convention. He added that the country concerned must also handle the problem in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Yudhoyono’s foreign affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said, “A violation of our national territory for any reason cannot be tolerated.”

“If Prime Minister Abbott asks President Yudhoyono and the Indonesian people to understand Australia’s seriousness with regards to its sovereignty, in the same vein, Indonesia also asks Australia to understand our firm commitment to our vital interests.”

Novan Iman Santosa contributed to the story.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s statement saying that Australia would continue to stop the boats carrying asylum seekers was a defiant stance against the 1951 Refugee Convention, an expert says.
“Abbott’s statement which used Australia’s sovereignty as the ground of his policies to turn back the boats is not in line with the convention. The asylum seekers were labeled as illegal immigrants without scrutiny first,” University of Indonesia international law expert Hikmahanto Juwana said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.....
Calling Abbott’s statement as “very unfriendly to Indonesia,” Hikmahanto also slammed Australia’s decision to unilaterally address the boat people issue using military forces.
“It is a pity that such a nation that as developed as Australia still has policy makers that tend to violate human rights. Traditionally, it is nations like Australia which are supposed to preach developing nations how to respect human rights,” he said....
Jakarta has recalled Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia since November and it is not yet known when he would be returned to Canberra.


The Sydney Morning Herald 15 January 2014:

Navy personnel carrying out border protection were quietly stripped of some workplace safety protections and obligations last month in an apparent preparation for dangerous operations such as turning back boats.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, used his powers under workplace safety laws shortly before Christmas to exempt Navy sailors from their obligation to take ''reasonable care'' to ensure their own safety and that of other sailors and asylum-seekers.
The change aims to give sailors legal protection, meaning they would ''not face individual criminal sanctions under the Act for giving effect to Government policy'', an explanatory statement issued by General Hurley states.
General Hurley acted in consultation with Employment Minister Eric Abetz to make the change, which effectively puts the sailors on a similar footing to military personnel fighting in battle.
The change, made on December 19, came as the government enacted its hardline election promise of turning back asylum-seeker boats, which critics have warned poses dangers to Navy personnel and asylum seekers. As many as six are believed to have been turned back to Indonesia in recent weeks.

1 comment:

sue said...

Personnel no longer covered by OH&S responsibilities & Obligations...Could that be the issue on burns? Under OH&S employees must NOT Behave in a way that put others at Risk,Report all injuries no matter how insignificant etc,etc