Showing posts with label Australian politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian politics. Show all posts

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Meme of the Week

Doing the rounds on Twitter is this group portrait 
of the Morrison Coalition Government

Tweets of the Week

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Tweets of the Week

Cartoon of the Week



Saturday, 1 June 2019

Quote of the Week

“Big corporations can’t operate in a world that remains tethered to the permanent present of  [Australian Resources Minister] Canavan’s imagining, they have to plan for the future, and the future is carbon constraint.” [Political Editor Katherine Murphy, The Guardian, 30 May 2019]

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Tweet of the Week

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Bypass the Murdoch press and read Labor's policy costings for yourself

Going on the behaviour of Murdoch's News Corp mastheads during the 2019 federal election campaign to date, by 6am the headlines will be misleading at best.

Scott Morrison & Co have already begun their scare campaign in response to the policy costings Labor released yesterday.

Therefore I invite readers to bypass political posturing by both the Coalition and a large section of the media and look at the policy document for yourselves.

It is your judgement that counts because the responsibility to elect the next Australian Government rests with you, not with an elderly U.S. billionaire who rarely visits this country.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

When old political enemies go two rounds on social media

The fighting is getting dirty during this federal election campaign.

I think that the former Member for New England Tony Windsor managed to floor the current Member for New England Barnaby Joyce in this round......

Joyce up off the canvas for another round.....

Oh dear. Jab went home and Joyce now sporting a cut lip.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Will Australian voters swallow Scott Morrison’s hypocritical volte-face?

In opposition or in government it didn't matter to Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, he happily hammered home the message that boat people, asylum seekers and Muslims migrants were or could be a threat to the nation and to every Australian. 

This self-confessed admirer of Donald Trump began his faux election campaign the day he took office shortly after the palace coup removed then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and, almost from the start there has been speculation that he was hoping that his rhetoric would goad someone into committing a violent act of terrorism.

These snapshots below are taken from 15 March 2019 televised remarks by Morrison barely hiding his glee that he finally had the pre-federal election terrorist attack he had been dog whistling for - even if the fact that this muderous attack was made on people at prayer in two New Zealand mosques allegedly at the hands of an Australian meant he had to do a 360 turn on who he could blame.

Snapshots by @sarah_jade_ 
 Mainstream media has noted the change the change of campaign tactics .......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2019:

Something the Prime Minister said on Friday has been gnawing at me. For the most part, his statements in the immediate aftermath of the obscenity in New Zealand were admirably clear. He identified the victims: those of Islamic faith. He also clearly labelled the attack for what it was, a “vicious and callous right-wing extremist attack”…..

But another of the Prime Minister’s comments warrants attention. Speaking of the Australian gunman, he said: “These people don't deserve names. Names imply some sort of humanity and I struggle to find how anyone who would engage in this sort of behaviour and violence … He’s not human. He doesn't deserve a name."

I can well understand Morrison’s reaction. Watching him respond, it was clear he was moved, and disgusted. And of course I share that disgust.

But think for a moment about the implications of such rhetoric. This man is not even human, the Prime Minister tells us. He is alien, almost literally another species, and therefore illegible to us, the humans. He is not like us.

Perhaps, at the moment he fired the gun, that became true. But what about just before that moment - was he human then, and inhuman afterwards? Did he go from being comprehensible to incomprehensible in the blink of an eye? Of course the implication of Morrison’s words is that he was always different: never one of us, always already separate.

But this is a fairytale – and like most fairytales, it is there to comfort, with its suggestion that such violence must have nothing to do with the rest of us. The Prime Minister meant well. But what he said was absolute rot.

The point has been made elsewhere that anti-Islamic sentiment is rife in our politics, and that violence is its logical endpoint. It is a crucial point, it can’t be made enough,…. But right now I want to briefly examine another dominant strand of Australian politics.

A few weeks ago, the political world was aflutter with a single question: was this Scott Morrison’s Tampa moment? And we know, because Morrison told us, that he wanted it to be: “Australians will be deciding once again - as they did in 2013, as they did in 2001 - about whether they want the stronger border protection policies of…” and you can guess the rest.

The phrase "strong borders" is heard often in our political debate, but much of the time, especially when you live on an island, borders are abstractions – imaginary lines drawn on literally shifting seas. The vague and nonsense phrase is of course a euphemism, meaning "we are very good at keeping people out". And when is this an important skill? When the people to be kept out pose some threat. The beauty of "strong borders" is that it says all of that in two words.

The same goes for "Tampa moment", which in fact includes three separate events: Tampa, then September 11, then children overboard. Howard’s election campaign blended these events into one overarching narrative. The demonisation of refugees as ruthless people who would kill their own children and who might kill you was not a side-effect of the strategy, it was the strategy.

Howard argues that he would have won without Tampa. But it doesn’t really matter, because the real damage was not done at that election. As people like Peter Brent have argued, the real damage is the lingering belief that this is how elections are won. Emphasise strong borders, emphasise the threat.

Morrison’s absorption of that lesson is there for anyone to see. It was there in his comments in 2012 that asylum seekers might cause a typhoid outbreak. It was there last week when he warned that asylum seekers might be paedophiles or murderers or rapists, and when he backed Peter Dutton’s assertion that they would take housing and hospital spots from Australians. And it was there in his recent security speech, when he introduced the section on terrorism with reference to just one, specific type: “radical extremist Islamist terrorism.”

If our political leaders remain intent on depicting a world in which people from other countries bring disease, hatred, and violence to our shores, can they really be so shocked when it turns out that is precisely the world some people believe in?
[my yellow highlighting]

The Guardian, 17 March 2019:

There’s been less reflection on the fact that any 28-year-old in Australia has grown up in a period when racism, xenophobia and a hostility to Muslims in particular, were quickly ratcheting up in the country’s public culture. 

In the period of the country’s enthusiastic participation in the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims have frequently been treated as public enemies, and hate speech against them has inexorably been normalised.

Australian racism did not of course begin in 2001. The country was settled by means of a genocidal frontier war, and commenced its independent existence with the exclusion of non-white migrants. White nationalism was practically Australia’s founding doctrine.

But a succession of events in the first year of the millennium led to Islamophobia being practically enshrined as public policy.

First, the so-called Tampa Affair saw a conservative government refuse to admit refugees who had been rescued at sea. It was a naked bid to win an election by whipping up xenophobia and border panic. It worked.

In the years since, despite its obvious brutality, and despite repeated condemnations from international bodies, the mandatory offshore detention of boat-borne refugees in third countries has become bipartisan policy. (The centre-left Labor party sacrificed principle in order to neutralise an issue that they thought was costing them elections.)

The majority of the refugees thus imprisoned have been Muslim. It has often been suggested by politicians that detaining them is a matter of safety – some of them might be terrorists.

Second, the 9/11 attacks drew Australia into the War on Terror in support of its closest ally, and geopolitical sponsor, the United States.

Australian troops spent long periods in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting and killing Muslims in their own countries. The consequences of this endless war have included the targeting of Australians in Jihadi terror attacks and plots, both at home and abroad.

The wars began with a deluge of propaganda. Later, the terror threat was leveraged to massively enhance surveillance by Australia’s national security state. Muslim Australians have frequently been defined by arms of their own government as a source of danger.

Two years after the war in Iraq commenced, the campaign of Islamophobia culminated in the country’s most serious modern race riots, on Cronulla Beach in December 2005, when young white men spent a summer afternoon beating and throwing bottles at whichever brown people they could find.

Cronulla was a milestone in the development of a more forthright, ugly public nationalism in Australia. Now young men wear flags as capes on Australia Day, a date which is seen as a calculated insult by many Indigenous people. Anzac Day, which commemorates a failed invasion of Turkey, was once a far more ambivalent occasion. In recent years it has moved closer to becoming an open celebration of militarism and imperialism.

Every step of the way, this process has not been hindered by outlets owned by News Corp, which dominates Australia’s media market in a way which citizens of other Anglophone democracies can find difficult to comprehend.

News Corp has the biggest-selling newspapers in the majority of metropolitan media markets, monopolies in many regional markets, the only general-readership national daily, and the only cable news channel. Its influence on the national news agenda remains decisive. And too often it has used this influence to demonise Muslims.

[my yellow highlighting]


The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2011:

SCOTT Morrison, the Liberal frontbencher who this week distinguished himself as the greatest grub in the federal Parliament, is the classic case of the politician who is so immersed in the game of politics that he has lost touch with the real world outside it…..

The point of this story? Morrison is a cheap populist, with form. On that occasion, he was being irresponsible with the national economy. For him it's just about clever lines.

Morrison was powerless to influence the bank, of course. John Howard and Peter Costello gave the Reserve Bank independence to free it from people like Morrison. 

The bank raised rates three days after Morrison's comment.

This week it was race. Morrison decided to see if he could win some political points by inflaming racism and resentment. More specifically, he zeroed in on some of the most vulnerable people in the country for political advantage. Indeed, is there anyone more vulnerable than a traumatised, orphaned child unable to speak English, held in detention on a remote island?

Morrison publicly raised objections to the government's decision to pay for air fares for some of the survivors of the Christmas Island boat wreck to travel to Sydney for the funerals of their relatives.

Some were Christian funerals, others were Muslim. But all of them were foreigners, all of them were boat people, all of them were dark-skinned, and to Morrison that made them all fair game. Unable to tell the difference between the Coalition mantra of "we will stop the boats" and his emerging position that "we will vindictively pursue boat people suffering tragedy" he went on radio.

As the survivors were gathering to mourn their dead, Morrison said that with the government paying for the 22 air fares, "I don't think it is reasonable. The government had the option of having these services on Christmas Island. If relatives of those who were involved wanted to go to Christmas Island, like any other Australian who wanted to attend a funeral service in another part of the country, they would have made their own arrangements to be there."
All of them were dark-skinned, and to Morrison that made them all fair game
Again, for Morrison it's just a tricky game of politics and clever lines. A former director of the NSW Liberal Party, he inhabits a world where consequences for himself and his political party are all that matter. There is no other reality. He didn't care about the boat people, and - being as charitable to him as possible - he mightn't even have stopped to think about the consequences.

And again, there is a national interest at stake. Forty-four per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas. Australia is an immigrant society. Australia is a multicultural country. That is a simple fact. To foment ethnic, racial or religious frictions or resentments is deeply harmful to the national interest.

Kevin Dunn, professor of geography and urban studies at the University of Western Sydney, who next week is to publish a study on racism in Australia, says: "Research has shown convincingly that geopolitical events, political events and political statements don't affect Australian attitudes on race very quickly, but they do affect behaviour. People with a grudge feel more empowered to act on it." Racist abuse and discrimination follow. So again, Morrison was toying with a deep national interest, but this time, his remarks could carry real force. The Reserve Bank governor knows his business and ignores Morrison, but the vindictive and the vicious may feel emboldened to act on their hurtful urges. Who does this help?....

Morrison next day conceded that his timing was insensitive, but didn't retract his complaint. He denied that he had been influenced by One Nation, even though One Nation had been busily emailing and lobbying politicians on the matter.
[my yellow highlighting]

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

First Newspoll of 2019 doesn't end Morrison Government's losing streak

SBS News, 29 January 2018:

The coalition's primary vote has risen in the first Newspoll of 2019, but Labor remains in front.

Support for Scott Morrison's government increased by two points, according the poll published by The Australian on Monday night.

The Newspoll shows Labor ahead in the two-party preferred vote 53-47.

The poll was conducted between January 24-27 and based on a survey of 1634 voters across Australia.

Graphics on Twitter, 29 January 2019
Scott Morrison remains preferred prime minister at 43 to Shorten’s 36 per cent in this latest Newspoll.

The last time the Coalition were ahead on a Newspoll Two Party Preferred (TPP) basis was on 2 July 2016 when the Turnbull Government stood at 50.5 per cent on the day of the 2016 federal election.

That represents a 30 month long losing streak for the Liberal-Nationals Coalition to date.

While the Coalition's easy dominance of the Newspoll Primary Vote had ended within five months of the last federal election and disappeared completely by 26 August 2018.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

What voters think of the main political parties in Australia

ABC News, 30 August 2018:
When asked by Essential to say which common statements fit the two major parties, the Liberals outranked Labor on almost every negative statement and were behind Labor on every positive statement…..

What voters think of the Liberals and Labor

Too close to the big corporate and financial interests

Out of touch with ordinary people

Looks after the interests of working people

Clear about what they stand for

Has a good team of leaders

Understands the problems facing Australia

Have a vision for the future



Have good policies

Will promise to do anything to win votes


Keeps its promises
The survey was conducted online from 24th to 26th August 2018 and is based on 1,035 respondents.

Essential Report, 28 August 2018:

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Political Cartoons of the Week

Cathy Wilcox

Marc Murphy

Fiona Katauskas

Quote of the Week

“This country would throw itself in the sea if it wasn't already girt by it.”  [Freelance journalist Andrew Stafford’s 17 August 2018 tweeted response to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s removal of a climate change target from the National Energy Guarantee,

"sitting on the lap of the member for Warringah [Abbott] like a really scary wooden puppet come to life. With the hand of the member for Warringah up his... back. Like Chucky."  [Labor MP for Sydney & Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek on the subject of Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton, Twitter,  21 August 2018]

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Is Philip Gaetjens the consummate public servant or in 2018 has he devolved into a right-wing ideological warrior?

On 31 July 2018 Philip Gaetjens will become Secretary to the Australian Treasury reporting to the Australian Treasurer.

Now from 2011 to 2015 he was head of the NSW Treasury under a Baird Coalition Government and before that did a stint at the SA Treasury in 1995 to 1997 spanning the terms of two Liberal premiers, so he will bring some experience to the position.

However, he has also been both chief of staff to former federal treasurer and Liberal MP Peter Costello during the Howard Coalition Government and chief of staff to current federal treasurer and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison in the Turnbull Coalition Government.

There is a question this curriculum vitae raises – “Is Philip Gaetjens the consummate public servant or in 2018 has he devolved into a right-wing ideological warrior?”

Will treasury advice still be seen as authoritative during his tenure?

With Treasury already gaining a reputation as an enabler of Scott Morrison’s worst partisan public pronouncements in election years will Gaetjens make the situation even more difficult for ordinary voters trying to decipher truth in the midst of relentless political spin?

In August Gaetjens will be joined in Treasury by Liberal Senator and Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann's chief of staff Simon Atkinson as Deputy Secretary of the Fiscal Group.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Quote of the Week

“The media’s main concern is to sell us politics as entertainment – “Oh, the pollies had a terrible set-to this week; the side that’s ahead the polls had a bad week, while the losers had a good one, it’s getting sooo exciting” – not to hold politicians to account when they make wrong or dubious claims. The media’s main concern is to sell us politics as entertainment – “Oh, the pollies had a terrible set-to this week; the side that’s ahead the polls had a bad week, while the losers had a good one, it’s getting sooo exciting” – not to hold politicians to account when they make wrong or dubious claims.”  [SMH economics editor Ross Gittens, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 2018]