I have been a little slack about updating this site in the last few weeks, as life sometimes gets a little busy. That certainly hasn’t stopped or slowed the pace of events that draw our attention. Having been asked why I hadn’t made any comment on a few of these issues, my only answer was that I had got a bit busy. Not wanting to let a lot of it go without any comment at all, I thought I would wrap a few of these issues from the last week into a single post.
Firstly, I had no problem with the photo of Turnbull at the footy with a beer. As anyone that reads this site often would be aware, I’m not shy about criticising our PM. I actually think he is doing an absolutely dreadful job and the only good thing I can say about him is that he is not Tony Abbott or Peter Dutton. But if I criticise every action he makes, regardless of whether it is justified, just because I don’t like him; my criticism loses credibility and just becomes white noise. I made the same comment about recent criticism of the HCC.
I really felt like I have already written enough on this topic, but I can’t write about recent developments and not touch on the Marriage Equality debate either. I accept that to many Australians, (although not the ones primarily affected by it) this debate is not the most important issue facing them and that they may well be getting fatigued from the saturation coverage and analysis. But that doesn’t make it trivial either. I am certainly following it closely, but still yet to hear much attempt by the negative campaign to give an argument against equality that is actually to do with marriage. The deflections about the rights of children seems to have been largely discarded as it has been widely and rightfully ridiculed, but there is still plenty of talk about how voters may be driven to the negative campaign because YES campaigners are too zealous. As I said previously, I think this is also pretty childish as it’s not a vote on which campaign you like more it’s a vote on what is right and we should be able to trust adults to have the maturity and integrity to vote accordingly.
Somehow keeping a straight face, those against equality have also begun pushing a new narrative that this is not a vote about marriage at all, but a far more important vote about protecting religious freedom. Aside from the mental gymnastics required to construct such as argument and the discipline to state it without blushing with embarrassment at its blatant dishonesty, I was particularly interested to see it being spouted by the editor of The Australian. I have never noticed that paper being particularly concerned about protecting religious freedom whilst offering platforms to right wing extremists calling for Muslim immigration bans, attacking halal certification or restrictions on women wearing burkas. In fact their own columnists regularly do the same. It’s almost as if this concern about the paramount sanctity of religious freedom is a conveniently new revelation.
And sadly the shameful plebiscite goes on. My heart goes out to those in the LGBTI community who are having the validity of their existence debated in public. I can only hope the result of this unwanted process is an overwhelming show of support for them. I finally received my postal vote today (I was starting to suspect Eric Abetz had been raiding my mailbox) and it was completed- I’m voting YES obviously- and posted within 24 hours of writing this. If you haven’t voted yet, please do. Even if you think it doesn’t affect anyone you know, it probably does.
Hanson and Xenaphon proved once more that they are little better than Coalition stooges. Throw in a something cheap and shiny and is there any liberal policy they won’t back? The latest legislation to dismantle cross media ownership laws is a gift to their dark lord, Rupert Murdoch, Australia’s version of Emperor Palpatine (considering the pervasive effect he has had on Australian politics for years, this is not something we should take lightly). Hanson never takes much convincing, but offering her the chance to kick the ABC a few times just sweetened the deal for them. As for Xenaphon, I suspect he has done his brand little favours during this parliament. It will be interested to see if he continues to increase his support at the next election or begins to wane.
The continued genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar is another tragic event that has been in the news in the last few weeks, but it should be remembered it hasn’t just started. Admittedly the situation has been inflamed recently but the oppression of the Rohingya goes back decades. Aung San Suu Kyi’s initial response was as pathetic as it was predictable. She has shown no interest in the plight of these people up until now after all. Whether this is through a pragmatic decision to pick her battles with the country’s military or whether it is because she supports the policy I can’t really comment. But her choice of wording in defending the actions of her military jarred painfully. ‘Terrorism’ has become the favoured explanation for political leaders to justify actions that would otherwise worry us. Don’t tell me governments want to end terrorism. Whether it was Suu Kyi on this occasion, Putin justifying intervention in Chechnya, the US invasion of Afghanistan or Assad bombing his own people, it is always necessary because of terrorists. This should make us rightfully suspicious of any further power grabs or scare campaigns by this government on the grounds of ‘terrorism concerns.’
On another subject, why aren’t conservatives conservative about the planet (I mean apart from the obvious fact that they are owned by the Coal industry)? It is in their name for crying out loud. I ask the question because the energy debate seems to be getting a lot of press again and some of it is pretty bizarre. Let’s start with the unedifying spectacle of a Prime Minister who supposedly supports renewable energy begging energy company AGL to extend the life of coal energy power station they have described as commercially unviable. Admittedly, it is less bizarre considering the PM in question (Turnbull) is an ethical contortionist, but it seemed incongruous nonetheless. Meanwhile the conservatives are pushing for complete repudiation of their own chief scientist’s recommendation. Not all of that is surprising but some of the ‘alternative facts’ being presented are. I get that different agencies have different agendas and it is hard to sort the true comparative costs of renewable energy, but it seems inescapably obvious that if the coal industry was so much cheaper than renewable energy, we probably wouldn’t need to give them hundreds of billions in subsidies and tax breaks.