Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Notes

Like many, I watched events unfold on Manus Island with a degree of horror. Like many, I found the idea of China lecturing Australia on its human rights record a little ludicrous. Like many, I felt a little sad at the loss of Australian moral authority that made such a lecture possible.

Over on My Observations, AC's Judy Cassab explores aspects of life and art. I always enjoy her Thursday posts with their special idiosyncratic style. On a less pleasant matter, Caracas Chronicles'  The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch records another chapter in the increasingly troubled Venezuela.The shortage of Venezuelan toilet paper made global news, but not other developments it seems. Hat tip to Neil Whitfield via Facebook for this one.

At his place. Neil's Icon gone, and some sadder and more frustrating things records the end of Wollongong's iconic stack, with some references to the refugee question.

With the High Court ordering Western Australia back to the polls for a new Senate election, Ed Killesteyn has resigned as Commonwealth Electoral Commissioner, as has AEC WA state manager Peter Kramer. That was kind of inevitable, I guess. Nobody knows just which way voters will go. I suspect that Mr Abbott wishes that he lived in less interesting times. The difficulty with his no surprises mantra lies in the surprises suffered by the Government.

Expect an expensive election campaign. Both Labor and Liberal will spend big, as will Mr Palmer. The Palmer United Party wants that final seat.

The G20 Finance Ministers are in town, allowing Commonwealth Treasurer Hockey a place on the international stage. Apart from the need to close tax loopholes, something that most governments appear to be able to agree on, the emerging core focus is the need (or not) to kick start global growth. Interesting that the International Monetary Fund, once the driest of the drys, should become so wet.

It seems that the Australian Federal Police suffered from a word processing error as part of their Schapelle Corby raids on Channel Seven. Oh dear, I had to laugh, but I was actually sympathetic. How could I not be as someone who transposes digits and just doesn't see the error?! I also remember the sad case in an aerospace tender when a secretary faxing key financial bid data to Defence hit the wrong button and sent it to the competitor firm. Ouch.

Staying with legal matters, down in Canberra the inquiry into the conviction of David Eastman for the murder of Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester continues. The murder and subsequent conviction were a major national story, but the inquiry is just being covered in the Canberra Times. So things go.

I am watching this one with interest and I really shouldn't comment. David and I worked together in the same small section in the Commonwealth Treasury and I knew him quite well. Yes, he could be difficult, but the unfolding evidence is making me a little uncomfortable.

Well, that's all tonight folks. More tomorrow. 


The Venezuelan troubles have finally made the news in Australia.    


Anonymous said...

We have never had any moral authority, we just pompously lecture the rest of the world on how they ought to do things, and we are quite rightly laughed out of the room. This posturing has occurred under both parties' watch. I am so proud of the Indonesian regime for refusing to be pushed around like in the old days and long may it remain so.

Jim Belshaw said...

I am not sure, anon, that we were ever very successful in pushing Indonesia around! I agree with you that the posturing has occurred under both parties' watch. Indonesia is perfectly entitled to push back against the displayed domestically driven insensitivity.

My very early complaint against the Government's approach on refugees was that, regardless of whether you agreed with the approach or not, They went about it in such a ham fisted and insensitive way. Who would have thought that foreign policy would have become such a mess for them.

I do think that Australia did have some moral authority, although both the concept of moral authority and Australia's moral authority are suspect. This gave the country a small, limited, freedom to move on particular issues. That's gone, now. Whatever capital there was has been spent.

Anonymous said...

I was warning six months before the election that foreign policy would be a disaster and nobody listened. Key figures in this regime attend prayer breakfasts at which they are told it's their sacred duty to defy and oppose the Muslims by whatever means necessary.