Tonight just a round-up.
The appointment of Peter Cosgrove as Australian Governor General has been widely welcomed. However, New Matilda wonders (How Will Indonesia Take Cosgrove?) about the Indonesian reaction. John Menadue took a similar position - Is another Indonesia faux pas imminent?.
I must admit I did wonder about the wisdom at this point, given current sensitivities and General Cosgrove's role in East Timor. I suspect that he is well enough known as a person at official level that this will work its way through.
In NSW, the O'Farrell Government has gone the law and order route in trying to combat "alcohol and drug violence", effectively forced into it by campaigning in the main stream media. I quote just the first bullet point. You can find the full release here:
This tough and comprehensive package includes:
- Eight year mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted under new one punch laws where the offender is intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol, plus new mandatory minimum sentences for violent assaults where intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol;
This means that a sober bikie who king hits someone gets treated more leniently than a silly young person. Frankly, this is silly stuff of the type we have come to know and love from all NSW Governments (and other Australian governments of all political persuasions). They go the narrowly defined penalty route because they feel it's about all they can do and it's immediately popular. But it's also totally stupid.
Like many Australians, I am worried about alcohol fuelled violence. I was going to say a few years back, but it's more than that, oldest had an eighteenth birthday party. We did the right thing as defined. We hired security people. We had door checks. We let the police know. And then a few young drunken yobbo gate crashers actually damaged the venue where we were holding the party. It was a bit of a nightmare.
Much later, I thought that we had done the wrong thing and its partly connected with the way that we as a society have shifted responsibility. In the new society, eighteen has become the new fifteen or younger.
As parents, we wanted eldest to have a good time. We took responsibility for organising, worrying about rules and risks. That was arguably wrong. It wasn't our party.
What we should have done is hand over key responsibility to eldest and her key friends. This is H's party. You organise it. You control. We help. Could they do it? Of course they could. They know the people, they know the scene. We didn't.
The blood sport that is Australian politics leaves little room for either nuance or subtlety. Mr O'Farrell's sledgehammer is one example, Foreign Minister Bishop's comments on the Australian-US relations (We’re all the way with USA) appears to be a second. There are different ways of putting things, depending on your target audience. Did Ms Bishop intend to grab the headlines she did with their focus on the US vs China? I wonder. In any event, it wasn't helpful.
Mr Abbott's apparent spray against the ABC (Prime Minister Tony Abbott says ABC not on Australia's side in interview with 2GB) is grabbing today's Australian headlines. The similarity between Mr Abbott's and Ms Bishop's views on Edward Snowden and the timing suggests a collaborative approach.
I suppose I should declare my own biases here without arguments in support.
Do I think that the ABC should have run the Snowden material? No, I don't. Do I think that the ABC has a centre left bias? I don't know that the ABC itself does as an organisation. I do know that many of the reporters and commentators on the ABC do as measured by my own reaction to their stories and opinions. After all, one of my favourite ABC programs is Counterpoint. The very fact that the ABC has to have a single alternative view program is instructive.
Do I support Mr Abbott's spray against the ABC? I do not. I thought that it was actually un-prime-ministerial and also unwise. Later, I will come back to this and to a fundamental and, I think, insufficiently recognised shift in Australian political commentary and analysis that has changed the political dynamics. For the moment, I will defend my ABC!
Finishing with Indonesia, the Jakarta Globe reports (Indonesia Facing Populace Larger Than US Revives Birth Control) on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono desire to have families stop at two children to prevent a burgeoning population overwhelming schools and services. Indonesia's population is already 250 million and could double by 2060. That's a lot of people!
The article is worth reading for what it says about the dynamics of the situation in Indonesia. Australia has to manage those dynamics.