The New Regionalism

Thursday, 25 July 2013 

The High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to Australia, today warned Australian politicians to observe international protocols and courtesies when discussing relations with other friendly sovereign nations and not impugn the dignity of our leaders who are attempting to assist Australia in this very complex regional and international issue of Asylum Seekers.

The PNG High Commission 24 July 2013

OK. This is getting ridiculous. It was bad enough Indonesia intervening in Australia’s domestic affairs but Papua New Guinea?!? Didn’t we own these people not so long ago? If the intervention of the Indonesians was such a shock to the political system that it was ignored by both sides until the return of the Great Destabiliser, then PNG’s intervention risks making slapping down the Australian Right a deeply disturbing regional free-for-all.

Let’s start at the basics: the key difference with Rudd’s PNG solution is not the resettlement outside Australia. It’s been somewhat forgotten, but Howard’s Nauru Solution was meant to do the same thing. Howard didn’t stand up and say “we will decide who enters this country … for a while before letting them in anyway”, both Howard and Downer were frantically looking for countries to take those held in Nauru. Yet while the War on Terror helped in regional cooperation, especially Indonesia, it didn’t help in getting countries to take Australia’s refugees (indeed given Howard’s sly linking of refugees to terrorism at the time, it probably made it worse).

Nor should it be forgotten that resettlement elsewhere was also intended for those sent to Malaysia under Gillard’s Malaysian Agreement, which specifically provided for the Australian government to cover the cost of any resettlement to a third country. In the end, the Malaysian Solution was rejected by the High Court because Australia would not even be over-seeing the processing, but leaving it to Malaysia – the problem being that Malaysia was not a signatory of the Refugee Convention, apparently for good reasons.

It’s worth being reminded what the Malaysian Solution was about given the Greens’ outrage at the PNG Solution, but continued willingness to work with the Gillard government after a Solution that was even too much for Australia’s limited legal obligations. But then the Greens are not so much worked up about principle, but what has been a desperate search to differentiate from Labor and undo some of the damage to their outsider brand from their alliance with the Gillard government.

Nevertheless the Green’s realpolitik is at least preferable to the moralising that has come from other sections of the left. This often comes in the highly annoying “we are all racists” line summed up by David Marr in the Guardian who calls the PNG solution a typical new low for Australia, even against the White Australia Policy (really?).

Such a line is both hypocritical, and ineffectual for building opposition (if that indeed is its aim). It is hypocritical because when Marr says how racist Australians are, he doesn’t include himself, of course. But nor does it display much knowledge of anyone else. Those that push this line usually believe that toughening up will be hugely popular with the appalling Australian public, with suggestions from the “smart guys” that Rudd call an election on it straight away. They must have been surprised then by the latest Newspoll, which showed that while the public approved of Rudd’s solution as an improvement in Labor’s ability to deal with refugees, it didn’t translate to any increased support.

Such moralising is also ineffectual in creating an opposition, since calling someone who disagrees a “racist” is hardly an effective start to persuading them otherwise. But then this is more a means of making the converted feel good than converting anyone else. It is to allow the righteous to publicly distance themselves from the “racist bogans” and yet behind the guise of political “action” it is streaked through with resignation about doing anything about it.

The other problem with such moralising is that generally the state tends to do it better. It was interesting to see on last Monday’s Q&A, Bill Shorten, never the most forceful advocate for his cause in this blogger’s view, starting to get some traction against a hostile audience by upping the stakes with the moral imperative of preventing deaths at sea. Even more interesting was to see Arthur Sinodinos (Howard’s Chief of Staff during the children’s overboard affair, by the way) join in with some moral imperatives of his own, especially on behalf of those refugees without the dosh to be lucky enough to afford the Trans-Timor Sea cruise.

Q&A also saw a new line that has been increasingly pursued by left and right in recent days, that of the hellish conditions in PNG to which the resettled will be subjected. Yet at least for the left, the reality of the PNG solution may lead to this line having a different consequence than intended.

One of the criticisms of the Rudd deal has been to see it as a “quick fix” and subject to a change in the PNG government. This usually ignores how the last government changed, namely through a breakdown in the most key functions of state that saw two Prime Ministers and Governor Generals contesting for legitimacy. An interesting piece in The Age highlights the tribal land arrangements still in place in PNG that challenges the idea that resettled refugees will be joining a hell-hole as being more a problem they won’t join it at all but remain a transient population.

Such a system is also likely to be an important factor in the weakness of the PNG state, something that the Rudd plan will increase Australia’s involvement in. Far from being a “quick fix” the risk might be more the opposite, namely that Australia becomes forced to increasingly intervene in PNG affairs. Complaints from the left over PNG’s treatment of women and gays will simply add to the justification for such an intervention.

It is hard to avoid the feeling that the left-right tussle over asylum seekers is increasingly belonging to the past. The right took what was originally a sovereignty issue that claimed “we will decide” and eventually morphed it into simply a series of measures like TPVs and the Pacific Solution that were supposed to be punitive enough in a “suite” but were mysteriously never even helpful on their own. The left’s opposition shifted to became a moralising one accordingly.

In reality, border control was always about the region those borders were with. As Downer has helpfully reminded us, the Howard government was fully aware of the need for regional cooperation, but conducted it in secret for appearances’ sake. “We will decide” was a phoney bit of Australian unilateralism made possible at a time of that phoney bit of US unilateralism, the War on Terror. That is now over, and the Coalition can’t decide whether to deal with the region or verbal and insult them. They had better decide quick because Rudd is intent on hitting them over the head with regional realities regardless.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Thursday, 25 July 2013.

Filed under International relations, Tactics, The Australian state

Tags: , , ,


38 responses to “The New Regionalism”

  1. John on 25th July 2013 10:56 pm

    Abbott’s careless attitude to diplomacy by threatening a military’s response to the asylum issue is just another example of his immaturity as a person and why even intending Lib voters have turned away

  2. Riccardo on 25th July 2013 11:33 pm

    One WWII account of the ‘invasion’ of the Faroe Islands by Britain had it that the Fleet steamed north from the Orkneys, reached Torshavn, the captain disembarked, made his way to the Governors house, was welcomed in, no doubt shared some polite conversation and a brandy or two, and the islands were passed into British hands with not even a word, let alone a bullet, in opposition.

    Please Quentin, hand the keys to some other country and relieve us of our political madness, I’m sick of it.

  3. Riccardo on 25th July 2013 11:39 pm

    I don’t think Marr is trying to build opposition and why would you? Participation in the political system is no longer a given and it may be that disavowing any connection with it is the only practical response a sane person could make these days.

  4. Dianne on 26th July 2013 7:32 am

    I am happy to be a moraliser.

    I am neither left nor right. Besides those labels are meaningless on some issues, asylum seeker policy being one of those. I am happy to use those age-old tools Right and Wrong to help me navigate through all the political spin, or to use a more technical term, fibbing.

    Of course my Right may be your Wrong. So be it. I no longer care. I will let my conscience be my guide as the great philosopher Jiminimy Cricket once urged.

    Our politicians have whipped up fear about asylum seekers. That is not in doubt. They appeal to that hobgoblin by promising to enact harsher and harsher laws regarding asylum seekers who arrive by boat. The sick joke, however, is that they are only tying bigger and glitzier ribbons on everything that has been already been tried. And failed.

    What they should be telling the people of Australia, but they are too afeared, is that in a globalized world in which curtailments on labour and goods have been removed and/or loosened, it is inevitable that people movement will follow. It is already happening in Europe by and large. Tim Dunlop has written a good piece in recent days on this very issue.

    But they won’t tell us. The shock jocks of the airwaves and in print would pounce. Politicians are scared too. The Wizards of Oz cower behind curtains with their megaphones making lots of noise.

    And so increasingly I consult my old mates Right and Wrong. Fourteen years under the tutelage of Irish nuns have prepared me well.

  5. F on 26th July 2013 9:10 am

    I’m currently banished from the city to a regional centre so as to organise a function. I have literally spoken to hundreds of people and no one gives two shits about refugees one way or the other. No one is getting hot under the collar enough to vote on this except the extreme margins on both sides. Anecdotal yes. Probably a fair assessment of how the electorate feels? Very much so. Shrike is right when he(or she?) writes above how asylum seekers are used to bolster the claims of certain groups within Australian society to be ‘holier than though’. They don’t actually care, they just want something to give them purpose, besides planning their next intrepid O.S Lonely Planet suggested holiday (Burma is so hot right now!)

    Find something else to give you purpose. Maybe bake a cake for your local cat protection society.

  6. Bill on 26th July 2013 9:18 am

    Abbott’s military ‘solution’ looks to be a desperate measure to ‘up the ante’/look more ‘prime ministerial’/ recapture the initiative.

    No doubt, Rudd’s got him rattled. What WAS supposed to be a cakewalk. May the ‘dummy-spit’ LONG continue !

  7. Jay Buoy on 26th July 2013 9:18 am

    Abbott Bishop and Morrisson might not stop the boats but they have managed to set our relationship with the region back to the days of white Australia … is the term Jacky Jacky in the policy pamphlet..

  8. Cavitation on 26th July 2013 9:35 am

    It’s interesting that the “asylum seekers” aren’t being identified by either side of the argument. They are treated as a group of almost saints that are escaping unjustified persecution in their home countries. But the cost of getting people smugglers to carry you into Australian waters is a lot greater than the cost of buying a plane ticket, not even taking the physical risks into account. So why don’t these people buy the plane ticket and ask for asylum at Sydney airport instead?

    That’s probably because they can’t get a passport in their home country, nor a visa to get into Australia for whatever purpose. These people are from a disadvantaged class in their home countries, and will have few of the criteria that would otherwise get them on the list for emigration to Australia. Many of them are scraping by in their home countries, and don’t have the right background and connections to score a passport or to negotiate a tourist or work visa.

    They do have the right connections to get to people smugglers, and often to borrow the money to pay them. So for Australian authorities, it’s not so much a question of people flowing into Australia, since we have a long standing and large immigration program, it’s about the type of people we want to resettle here. The 19th century approach of letting anyone who wants to step off a plane or boat and settle here, has been overtaken by a managed approach, where the immigrants are screened and only the best get to stay, and only the better ones get a visa to even visit…

    It comes down to deciding if we should pick the type of people who get to stay here, or not. The critics do not examine this, but instead assume that anyone who is being persecuted by the authorities in their home country deserves help. But some of this discrimination might be justified, and just getting to make a case to the authorities might be enough to get them into the migrant intake, as the authorities must use evidence to deny refugee status, which is often hard to come by. This argument is about the kinds of people we are going to let into our country. Letting anyone in might work just as well, but since we mostly all agree that there should be limits on the numbers involved, the current system of vetting the immigrants will persist. The boat immigrants are trying to game the system in their direction, but they know that they otherwise will have little chance of getting in by the normal methods. So do we decide who gets to live here, or let in the ones who can game the system best?

  9. atomou on 26th July 2013 9:59 am

    “it’s about the type of people we want to resettle here.”

    No, Cavitation, it’s a lot more crass than that. It’s about politics and about crass politicians who think their constituents are also crass and stupid enough to watch this crass political theatre and be convinced that it is real, calamitous, life!

    Every election time we get this: Vote for me because I am tough! Tough on criminals! Or, tough on workers! Or, tough on welfare cheats! Or tough on the miners! Or tough on… the toughies! This time it’s tough on asylum seekers!

    No reasoning required, just a tearing of the shirt and the display of a hairy chest, even if that hair is a borrowed chest wig!

    It’s bullshit!

    Rudd behaves like a thug so Abbott mobilises the military!
    It’s a theatre of the absurd, getting more and more absurd as we approach the date of the election!

    The chorus of shock jocks clamours in and we cannot move our eyes or ears in any direction without the sounds and sights of this bad theatre invading our brains.

    The men, women and children who can do nothing about obtaining any of those shitty papers -but nothing!- will be used as Genghis Khan used the heads of his military victims. In a monstrous game of polo!

    It’s been thus for as long as I can remember and it has never failed to shock me: why is it these thugs cannot go to an election, promising the exact opposite. To not be thugs but sensible, civilised, visionary, humanitarian, human beings.

    Why is that? Why must they show chest hair and not brain power?

    Thoroughly baffles me this! Thoroughly!

  10. Dianne on 26th July 2013 10:37 am

    I am baffled too atomou. Real leaders bring out the best in others.

  11. atomou on 26th July 2013 11:37 am

    Quite so, Dianne.
    They should be fighting for the loftier sentiments of our humaneness; to force their political opponents and us, the voters, to climb higher on the ladder of virtue.
    They should lead, or guide each other and us to a place free of hatred and vilification.

    All of these shits are religious. Catholics, in the main, and no doubt talk to each other in pious terms about goodness and heaven and pleasing some lord or other. Well, shit! What happens outside that congregation that turns them into such bastards?

    Is hypocrisy so innate in the teachings of Catholicism? I mean, I know, there has to be some hypocrisy there but this much?

    I await Pope Francis to send a new Bull out, especially directed to politicians, ordering them not to be such bastards!
    I’m already impressed by his new debate on homosexuality and a couple of other issues on natural human behaviour, he began in South America, probably the most dumbed down, brainwashed devotees. Let’s see if he goes any further than that.

  12. Dianne on 26th July 2013 11:52 am

    I don’t really know what encyclicals the Vatican has been putting out.

    Now Atomou, Christians including Catholics, Jews, Muslims etc are just people, good, bad, weak, strong, self-serving and servants of others. Some of the finest people I have ever met have been religious and people of no faith. Some of the most tediously bigoted have been believers and non- believers.

    Now prescriptive fundamentalism is something else.

    Why do you and I get on to religion all the time? Anyone would think I was a prayerful person. That said, I would like to be a true believer. It would make life simpler and a whole lot harder.

  13. Senexx on 26th July 2013 12:39 pm

    More and more I find you presenting my view Shrike but putting it in far more pleasant words than I could.

  14. The Piping Shrike on 26th July 2013 4:57 pm

    Pleasant is my middle name.

    On the other comments, moral stances are a personal thing, but socially and politically, it just confuses things.

  15. Dianne on 26th July 2013 7:22 pm

    Or politics and society confuse moral stances.

  16. Guy on 26th July 2013 7:43 pm

    Those trying to squeeze all comers into the definition of refugee should be honest. If they want to let everyone in who lives in poor conditions, then don’t pretend that all those people are refugees. It undermines the legitimacy of refugees. If PNG is not good enough for refugees, does that mean everyone in PNG can claim refugee status?

  17. So-crates dude on 26th July 2013 10:16 pm

    Glad to see a correct distinction between the personal (morality) and the abstract (ethics)

    Shrike, would you say Rudd’s unspoken gambit for a new agenda (a la Keating’s regional play) is quietly to warp the ALP into the CDU? How else does one ground the Right in Australia, than to turn the legitimacy party rightwards? The more I think about the emphasis on Boenhoffer quotes back in 07, the more it seems apparent.

  18. The Piping Shrike on 26th July 2013 11:40 pm

    The German CDU? Not clear what you mean there. I’d always seen the CDU as a revival of the German Right on regional/religious lines as a means of cohesion when nationalism wouldn’t do.

    Like many technocrats, Rudd is always striving for a moral agenda but the Australian political environment doesn’t allow it (thankfully, clarity always breaks through).

    I’m sure he sees the PNG Solution more as a necessity to appease the NSW Right and keep them onside than something he might be necessarily comfortable with.

  19. So-crates dude on 27th July 2013 2:54 am

    Hi Shrike always a pleasure, such consistent insight from you. Yes that CDU. I’d see a desire existing on Rudd’s part to shift the apparatus of the vacant ALP towards a faux-Christian traditionalist social party as being a natural fit for him, given Trade Unions wont do. Different lack, similar response. Agreed he would find PNG approach distasteful but if I’m right he’s playing a longer game than the Right can fathom – Menzies length. Some seemingly disconnected aspects of his agenda – his moralising, willing embrace of antipolitics and pragmatism, selection and rapid promotion of fellow quiet Christian Garrett, tenacity in defeat (the specter of Billy Hughes’ descent into Gollumitude seeking The Precious one more time is a salutory warning he would have faced) – all might find roots in this Christian aspect of his identity. I’d not suggest he wants a precise CDU copy, as I don’t see him favoring left/right wing approaches, nor would the country buy an overt religious party, but I sense there’s a template in that kind of party’s voter-acceptable faith based direction he’s aiming for. As Keating was aiming for a redefinition, so is he, only he is keeping his cards to his chest a little more, and feels (rightly or wrongly) he has room to be expedient in pursuit of the last-man-standing authority that might get him his opportunity to stamp that template – of his own faith based value system – on the ALP shell. “Once the reasons for the ALP to seek its agenda are gone, what purpose are we left with beyond Christ?” would be the question he’d be asking privately. I suspect the anti politics and pragmatism is thus part of a longer game to make the ALP over into a saner and thus electable Family First, if you will accept the stretch. No guarantee it’d work of course, but that for me was the point of him talking up Boenhoffer – what else does he really have to drive him, beyond implementing his personal faith?

  20. No Crap App: fortnight beginning 15 Jul 2013 | No Crap App on 27th July 2013 10:23 am

    […] Piping Shrike: The New Regionalism […]

  21. atomou on 27th July 2013 11:01 am

    I also know lots of good people as well as bloody nasty bastards from all religions and in the ranks of atheists, agnostics, rationalists, Greens (even) but they are not very close to the keys of the Legislation Cabinet, like was that mob of DLP morons.

    Right now, they’re there and with trigger-itchy fingers, ready to shoot any good, progressive thinking, or introduce laws that will bring this nation back to the days of St Aquinas.

    The Rudd+Abbott combo, is, I daresay lethal for the freedom of thought and practice, for Democracy and for the broadening of the mind and the vision to see beyond the Cross, or the Burka or the Wailing Wall.

    For the common herd of people, take away their religion and if they were nasty before, they’d still be nasty -and vice versa; yet they still vote and they still influence our sectarian pollies to give them easier access and or subsidised access to their individual madrasa -be they christian, jewish or muslim.

    Some of my best friends are religious of one sort or other but, scratch their skin a bit and you’ll hear them say, “Shit, I hate puffs!” or “Those Muslims, or those jews are such bastards” or even, “I don’t think women should be out there taking men’s jobs!” (I heard that one only a few weeks ago!)

    There’s something unavoidably nasty about religion and, while it is hidden, it causes no harm. Give it a bit of airing and one’s blood freezes.

    No religion is religion unless it’s dogmatically and fundamentally so, whether it’s exhibited in a gathering (Sunday church, Saturday synagogue or Friday mosque) or not at all.

    And by far the vast majority of them haven’t read the writings upon which these religions are based, certainly not beyond a little selection given to them at Sunday school. Had they done the full reading, they’d either piss the whole thing off or construct, in the manner of Jesuits and other theologians, casuistry to dignify the gruesome passages with warped views of what is humane and what is pleasing to the fairy up there.

    One tolerates such people at one level, just as they tolerate one at another. The full linking of human-to-human won’t happen unless one side capitulates to the other -which will never happen, so I’ll stick to my side of the battle ground.

  22. atomou on 27th July 2013 11:11 am

    So-crates dude, I think I labor under the same fear as you. Political parties (or their leaders) need a mast to nail their colours on. If it ain’t gonna be, as you mention, Trade Unions, or Workers, or the Environment, it’s gonna have to be another, equally as fearsome, equally as spinnable and as accepting by the masses as possible; and there are only two possible contenders: Religion and the Military.
    Rudd has claimed the first, so Abbott who would rather be the claimant, claimed the second!
    We are stuck between these two mindless masts, our own flag -that of the Democracy of the informed- having being torn down and shredded beyond recognition and repair, a very long time ago.

    Santamaria has been resurrected and is ruling almost every aspect of our lives.

  23. Jay Buoy on 28th July 2013 9:11 am

    Might be easier to excise Rednekia from our voting zone..

  24. atomou on 28th July 2013 9:19 am

    Jay, it’d be lovely if we could excise Rednekia but, alas, it is now supported by Abbott’s military and Rudd’s unbeating heart! Mighty bulwarks of this ignorant herd, I’m afraid!

    Perhaps we need a thorough, Green Revolution!

  25. Avalon Dave on 28th July 2013 10:57 am

    The 50/50 Galaxy poll tomorrow that reports that Kevin Rudd is the better person to deal with asylum seekers, will produce coughing fits within the coalition and the News Ltd press. Expect Scott Morrison to be all red faced and outraged this week.

    But Shrike is correct. If it really was a vote moving issue, the polls would reflect it. The reality is that it is an issue only in the minds of the political class. People may have an opinion that we should be humane or bastards, but electors won’t base their decision on it.

    As usual, voters will go with the usual big 3 – economy & jobs, healthcare and education – in a Federal Election And in that order.

    Labor has education pretty much sewn up with the Gonski reforms. Rudd is now moving to the economy which is certainly not Abbott’s strong suit. And Hockey has seriously mis-stepped in rejecting Costello’s own charter of budget honesty measures. For God’s sake, they are now talking about using a friendly Coalition State Government do their budget costings.

    Rudd will go hard on the economy and argue that all the Coalition will be able to do, is slash and burn and play the job security angle. Now this is something that WILL move the polls.

    Expect some big Healthcare reform promise too.

  26. adamite on 28th July 2013 9:25 pm

    ‘In reality, border control was always about the region those borders were with. As Downer has helpfully reminded us, the Howard government was fully aware of the need for regional cooperation, but conducted it in secret for appearances’ sake.’

    PS – Not sure what you are saying here. I’d suggest that the reality of ‘border control’ was always, and continues to be,first and foremost, about the pragmatics of domestic political survival where ‘regionalism’ has served merely as part of a posthumous attempt to justify crass pragmatism. The Howard Government’s pacific solution was the classic example of this – a fraught attempt to rationalise an unsustainable populist claim to Australia’s sovereign invulnerability.

    Significantly, neither Rudd’s or Abbot’s latest proposals depart from the political pragmatics of the SI narrative which clearly resonates deeply with an electorally influential, if numerically limited, segment of the Australian electorate. At the same time, neither proposal resolves the inherent tension between these claims of SI and our sovereign commitment to treaties based on broader notions of universal human rights.

  27. The Piping Shrike on 29th July 2013 7:57 am

    Border control has never been about political survival, at least not in the way it is normally discussed. The latest polls show, yet again, it is not a vote changer.

    Any border control for a middling power is always a regional issue. It was Australia’s strange political set up that had pretended otherwise. That illusion has now ended, I think for good.

  28. Bill on 29th July 2013 11:34 am

    I’ve probably got too much time on my hands, but I can’t help sometimes wondering, just who IS ‘the piping shrike’ ?

    A guy ( I assume ..), probably based in South Australia, possibly retired (age group hard to guess) .. and for whatever reason, seems to prefer their anonymity, rather than possibly achieving wider celebrity (possible tv appearances/ a significant income ?)

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not itching to know, and in some ways, think it’s just fine the way it is/maybe preferable anyhow .. but can’t sometimes help that wondering.

    The way you write, is so objective, it is hard for me to decide which party (ultimately) you actually vote for, or tend to vote for. I suspect you tend to lean labor, but may have voted for the other side. On the other hand, I could entirely believe you vote for independent candidates.

    You don’t seem to be a big fan of either of the current mob led by Rudd/Abbott, but I suspect you see Labor as the lesser of the two evils, and Rudd as the more substantial leader (which I certainly do).

    Perhaps they will make a blockbuster movie one day ‘The Piping Shrike Unmasked’ ? My google search returned this:

    A coincidental name, no doubt/way too young .. and I just can’t see you playing that instrument. Could it be ?? (lol ! 🙂 )

  29. The Piping Shrike on 29th July 2013 12:09 pm

    I hate bagpipes. No, seriously. I hate bagpipes.

  30. atomou on 29th July 2013 1:37 pm

    Bill, stop wondering! I know who the shrike is and who he votes for.
    Are you ready?
    The Shrike’s real name is… Spartacus and he votes for the Anti-slavery Party!

    He used to vote for a party similar in name but totally different in nature, to the current ALP. Now, alas, he and I (I, too am Spartacus) are tied to the political crosses on the Appian Way. Crudd Crassus was a ruthless bastard but we’ve put up a good fight!

    Tony Curtis is mortally disturbed, poor little sod! (Daddy a philosopher, you know.)

  31. atomou on 29th July 2013 1:39 pm

    Bugger! I forgot!

    And he certainly hates cross-dressing, particularly those tartan numbers!

  32. adamite on 29th July 2013 8:30 pm

    ‘It was Australia’s strange political set up that had pretended otherwise. That illusion has now ended, I think for good.’

    Not sure what this means – if not that the fear of the foreign/outsider has always resonated powerfully in the Australian psyche -but, given the intense effort focussed on the AS issue by both parties I would suggest the illusion of SI has a lot of life in it yet

  33. The Piping Shrike on 29th July 2013 9:24 pm

    That its not possible to have a border policy that doesn’t explicitly acknowledge the need for regional cooperation.

  34. Riccardo on 29th July 2013 10:01 pm

    Can one of you soveriegnty enthusiasts please remind me why Australia even matters? Forgot the script. Kimbo was talking about punching above his considerable weight, while John Howard wanted to be Saudi Arabia or some such awful thing. Carr wants to be a ‘middle power’ as if being middle anything is something to aspire to.

    Let’em in. I’m sick of hearing about it.

  35. So-crates dude on 29th July 2013 10:32 pm

    Hey Atomou – the DLP!!! (smacks own head). Precisely the “CDU” matrix I could sense under Rudd. The ALP as an electable DLP-lite, shorn of its extremism and chasing the (most expedient) moral imperative of our time. After all, the original DLP could pull enough support through the moral imperative of Labor people voting against Communism to swing several elections to the Liberals. They tapped an anti political flavour of social values thinking in the ALP base that moralised incessantly. Pragmatic in the extreme, but died once Whitlam exposed (by his 72 win) that their true raison d’etre was bankrupted. Cue Pete Smith: “Here now is Point of View, an independent news commentary by Mr Bob Santamaria, on behalf of the National Civic Council”. Thank heavens everyone potentially has Bob’s reach into media now, so much harder to be as unaccountably influential as he was.

  36. Bill on 30th July 2013 12:30 am

    @Atamou … I can relate to ‘Spartacus’ / ‘I’m Spartacus’ .. that certainly came up in my life over the past years, when I was less than happy about big brother interfering with my day to day/ reporting to them as though I was/am a criminal (aagh!) …(I certainly felt non-cooperative/gave them that name ..)

    As for ‘Q&A’ which I’ve just started watching the recording of ……. who ARE these idiots (Liberal voters no doubt) shrieking ‘put us out of our misery/call an election’ .. (WHAT ‘misery’ .. the misery of that dummy spitting Abbott who is annoyed/worried he might miss out, and can’t stand the tension? Well, to ME it all seems just fine right now. So get ‘f*****’ ‘Mr’ Abbott !

  37. atomou on 30th July 2013 9:12 am

    Don’t be too hard on Abbott, Bill. He’s entitled to his quota of sex, just like everyone else. I just wish he’d do it with his own people and not with the whole pop’n of this country.

    I watch Q&A religiously, ever since its birth and saw developing, reasonably well, if that uncontrollable interrupter, Jones, didn’t stop the panelist halfway through their utterances!

    There’s a game of “me-smug-you-antsie” going on. The smug ones are the Rudd acolytes and the antsie ones are Abbott’s lot. The game has now moved from 2010, when Abbott began his three word slogans about elections (as well as stop the boats, stop the carbon tax, stop the NBN, stop this gvn’t).
    It has now become a psychological game, a bad political chess game, where the players are not playing chess but this new game of “freak out your opponent.”

    Nevermind. The election will take place and whether it’ll be Sep or Nov, makes no dif.

    I can’t see how anyone who’s been in Oz the last ten minutes hasn’t realised that both these thugs deserve political execution.

    The acolytes, of course, will not defer to my wisdom. They’ll do what acolytes do, firstly because they don’t want to be called apostates and secondly because they can’t see the possibilities of voting for everyone else before they give these two a number.
    And, in all honesty, in this election, and for the first ever time, I’d even go as far as to put mongrel Abbott ahead of brutal Rudd!

    Let the Anti-slavery party come in and perforate these two bastards of Santamaria!

  38. atomou on 30th July 2013 9:44 am

    So-crates dude, I’m in the process of translating Plato’s Symposium, where, you might know, Socrates gets up to speak about love… only to tell us that he knows bugger all about it and that what he knows was told to him by a woman… but I digress…

    Don’t be too surprised, Socrates, if this ALP -and this LNP- turn out to be not DLP lite but DLP Heavy, with a capital H!

    Santamaria used to infuriate me! At my young age (teens) I was tearing my hair out, perhaps because in sympathy with my father and wondered how on earth a creep like that ended up with his own show on Telly! (We had only just arrived in Oz a couple of years earlier).
    I used to hand out How To Vote cards for the ALP and I would often see Greeks picking up the DLP cards, which looked damned near identical to the ALP’s, read the word “Labor” (or Labour, in their case) loudly to their spouses or mates and then say, “this is it, the Labor party;” at which point I’d jump in and make the correction. Dad and I would stand at those booths all day, with a label we made up for our lapels, saying we spoke Greek.
    Zeus only knows how many people were tricked by that snakey tactic!

    These days, I’d lie to them and say, “yeah, that’s the Labor party all right!”
    Though, I must say, I am highly encouraged by the number of well aged Greeks who vote for the Greens. The young and the old!

    Pragmatism has now completely taken over this, once gorgeous party. You’ll need a metal detector to find any idealism, any compassion, any signs of a heart in that vast and barren land. Labor Party should rename itself: Pragmatia!

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