Tag: Howard

Australia’s Rulers Know They Need American Imperialism to Dominate the Pacific

Yes they proved to be the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq

When it comes to foreign policy, Australia has long been in thrall to US interests. This isn’t because Australia is an American client state but because the Australian establishment knows that its own interests are best served by US empire.

Source: Australia’s Rulers Know They Need American Imperialism to Dominate the Pacific

Who are the war criminals? – Pearls and Irritations

Stacks of money and a tank in front of a globe

We can hope that history will judge them harshly.

By the standards now rightly being applied to Vladimir Putin, the American and Australian leaders who brought devastation to Iraq and Afghanistan, George W Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard should arguably appear in the dock, subject to the presumption of innocence. Justice also demands a reasonable effort be made to bring them before a court. That hasn’t happened and won’t until the public demand justice.

Source: Who are the war criminals? – Pearls and Irritations

People of Cook, you can make Josh the comeback kid – Michael West

Former prime minister John Howard campaigning with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong on Tuesday. Picture: Aaron Francis / The Australian

Fresh from the mortifying news that he was sharing the second highest post in government with his leader, former treasurer Josh Frydenberg is being spoken of as a Liberal saviour. Apparently Peter Dutton has not inspired the nation in his role as opposition leader.

As outrage swirls around Scott Morrison for running a secret parallel ministry, there is are some wistful musings about the prospect of Josh getting back into parliament, even by replacing ScoMo. The former PM has become an unwelcome presence on his own side, and few would be sorry to see his back. Perhaps only Labor really wants him to hang around.

People of Cook, you can make Josh the comeback kid – Michael West

Timor Spy Saga: Rex Patrick pushes Labor to unveil Australia’s dirty secret, end persecution of Bernard Collaery – Michael West

Politics of Persecution

In one of his last moves as a senator, Rex Patrick has advanced his battle against the National Archives to release important documents relating to John Howard and Alexander Downer’s undermining of Timor-Leste in the early 2000s. Callum Foote reports on the latest efforts to end the persecution and secret trials of whistleblower Bernard Collaery.

Timor Spy Saga: Rex Patrick pushes Labor to unveil Australia’s dirty secret, end persecution of Bernard Collaery – Michael West

John Howard and the ABC: desire for cuts came up against Liberal support for broadcaster | Cabinet papers | The Guardian

ABC sign in Ultimo, Sydney in Australia

It started with Howard but got far, far worse when Abbott arrived intent on fulfilling the IPA’s wish. Despite pre election promises of NO CUTS TO THE ABC Morrison ensured their ABC’s budget was brought back to 1984 levels. Meanwhile under his leadership government debt exploded by 200% to nearly $1 Trillion. Only  30% of that increase was due to the pandemic. Yet the government believed that its actions should remain unquestioned.

The ABC’s relationship with the Howard government was never easy, and the 2001 cabinet papers, released by the National Archives on Saturday, reveal tensions between the government’s desire for budget cuts and fear of alienating its supporters who valued the national broadcaster. Despite having promised during the 1996 election campaign that the ABC’s budget was safe, within four months of coming to office John Howard’s government cut it by 2% and announced a review of the role and scope of ABC services by Bob Mansfield, the founding chief executive of Optus. Howard’s senior adviser, Grahame Morris, characterised the ABC as “our enemy talking to our friends” and Howard himself had accused the broadcaster of being left-leaning.  But the dilemma for the Coalition was the ABC was valued by its supporters, particularly in the bush, and cuts to the ABC often played badly in the regions. The cabinet papers released by the National Archives provide more evidence of the uneasy relationship

Source: John Howard and the ABC: desire for cuts came up against Liberal support for broadcaster | Cabinet papers | The Guardian

Owning up: Australia must admit its involvement in Afghanistan has been an abject failure

Twenty years ago, Australian forces followed the US into Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks with a simple mission: to hunt down Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership and remove the Taliban government that had sheltered them. That mission has ended in abject failure. Its costs have been significant: 41 combat-related deaths, 260 wounded, more than 500 veteran suicides, thousands afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and around A$10 billion expended with precious little to show for it.

Source: Owning up: Australia must admit its involvement in Afghanistan has been an abject failure

Howard and Abbott’s abhorrent defence of Pell

When Howard describes Pell as of ‘exemplary character’, of ‘strength’, and ‘lacking in hypocrisy and cant’, the back story to those words must include Pell’s extreme and vociferous opposition to any progressive reform within the Catholic Church. It must especially include his stance in relation to gender equality, to contraception, to abortion and women’s rights in general, and including condemnation of homosexuality, gay and lesbian rights and same-sex marriage.

Writing of Pell’s “strength”, Howard would have known of the Ellis case — of Pell’s attempts to shield paedophile clergy from being accountable and treating victims with arrogant dismissal and scorn.

Abbott has likened what Pell has been convicted of as a “mistake”, saying:

“If I look back on my own life … I’ve made many mistakes, we all do.”

It is amazing to consider that we have a recent Prime Minister who regards paedophilia as insignificant rather than a serious crime.

Howard and Abbott’s abhorrent defence of Pell

The Liberal Party, riven by its wreckers, faces wholesale collapse



The base to which some appealed was confined to the tiny proportion of the population who are paid-up party members — some of whom, surveys suggest, indeed have views on issues such as crime, same-sex marriage and climate change that are at odds with majority opinion.

The broader constituency, however, Liberal Party supporters rather than activists, do not appear to respond to their concerns. Banks is likely more attuned to what drives this broader constituency in articulating a disgust with “the reactionary right-wing … coup … aided by many MPs trading their vote for a leadership change in exchange for an individual promotion, preselection endorsements or silence

“Their actions were undeniably for themselves, for their position in the party, their power, their personal ambition, not for the Australian people who we represent,” she said.

The Liberal Party is now so far adrift from majority opinion, and so hobbled by the most recent insurgency against Malcolm Turnbull, that a wholesale collapse appears to be inevitable.

via The Liberal Party, riven by its wreckers, faces wholesale collapse

South African farmers: we will decide | The Monthly


It may have taken almost 16 years, but finally the whirligig of time is bringing in its revenges.

Girt by Sea: Australia, the Refugees and the Politics of Fear.

In a chapter titled “What Dare Not Speak Its Name”, I asked the forbidden question: was our prime minister, and by extension his government, actually racist?

John Howard already had form: he had amended the Native Title Act to enact the Wik response that favoured farmers over Aboriginal traditional owners, he had called for a slowdown on Asian immigration, and the entire basis of his 2001 election campaign – “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” – was one of jingoism if not xenophobia.

But did it go the whole way to outright racism? I offered the observation: “It is hard to believe that, had those rescued by the Tampa been white Zimbabwean farmers fleeing the brutal regime of President Mugabe, they would have been treated as hostile invaders and denigrated as economic migrants, illegals, and finally potential terrorists.”

Then I waited for the government or one of its many media boosters to offer a rebuttal. Deafening silence – until at last, some 16 years later, the emergence of Peter Dutton, blatantly and shamelessly demanding that white South African farmers should be encouraged to jump the queue in favour of those already languishing in the various camps – including, of course, those sponsored by Australia in Nauru and Manus Island.

It is worth noting that while the South African farmers may feel discriminated against by legislation that may take away some or all of their property, thus qualifying them as economic migrants, it is a big stretch to claim that they, as a class, let alone a race (as Dutton seems to define them) are facing deliberate political persecution.

Certainly there have been murders in South Africa – far more black deaths than white, if that matters, which it obviously doesn’t to Dutton. But much of South Africa is a violent, though not a lawless, society. To declare that the 74 farm murders between 2016 and 2017, which Tony Abbott effortlessly ramps up to 400, were all political reeks more of propaganda than of evidence.

Dutton is more than dog whistling; he is quite overtly promoting his own version of White Australia, in which all but unquestioning preference is to be accorded to whites who want residence, and the rest can rot away in whichever gulags they can find – we will decide.

South African farmers: we will decide | The Monthly

How John Howard boosted migration and embraced foreign students, in five charts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Permanent IntakeChart showing large growth in permanent visas granted annually under Howard.

Student and 457 visas

Chart showing grown in student and 457 visas during the Howard government.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott wants Australia to cut its immigration intake to what it was under the Howard government.

He told an internet radio station on Tuesday afternoon that “we’ve got to get the numbers down, and get them down very significantly”.

Changes in Australia’s immigration sector were significant under Mr Howard, but not because his government kept the permanent intake — now at 190,000 visas per year — low.

However the latter years of Mr Howard’s prime ministership delivered significant increase to net overseas migration as a proportion of the population.
Migration intake
Chart showing large growth in permanent visas granted annually under Howard.

By the time of the 2007 election, his government had doubled the permanent intake.

via How John Howard boosted migration and embraced foreign students, in five charts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Truffles, Canavan, Kelly and McSween shine in Australia’s galah week of stupid

IT HAS BEEN a great week for ‘not-racists, but’ in Australian politics this week. In a widely-reported speech, former prime minister and unindicted war criminal John Howard praised the completely “not racist” Donald Trump and promised to eat a lump of coal to prove it’s good for humanity.

Source: Truffles, Canavan, Kelly and McSween shine in Australia’s galah week of stupid

Booing Howard and Abbott: The expression of an enthusiasm maintained

Some people seem to think the passionate reaction to Abbott and Howard by the crowd outside the Whitlam memorial yesterday was inappropriate; Judy Crozier says that’s ridiculous.

MY MOTHER WOULD HAVE SAID the crowd’s reactions at Gough Whitlam’s State Memorial service were beyond the pale.

But then, my mother, bless her, was a conservative born in 1918 who may never have voted Labor in her life. Or she may have once — who knows? She kept how she voted a secret.

She was not consumed by a passion for left politics that reforms the social infrastructure of whole nations; she didn’t spend her life in a tension of hope for social transformation.

But I have.

I’ve had a day or so to consider the meaning behind that crowd’s response at Gough Whitlam’s State Memorial Service.

I watched the service from my couch, with a box of tissues next to me. The tears, strangely, first sprang up when ex-PM Howard arrived at Sydney’s Town Hall and was roundly booed before entering to take his seat.

Odd, I thought to myself, dabbing my eyes. Why now?

Because, I responded, this is visceral.

And I realised that even through the screen and from another state, I felt a bond with these men and women of Australia — who felt as I do, who had worked and fought probably for decades as I had, who have never felt that politics was any kind of game, who have never felt politics was anything other than welded to the very real business of life.

They were, as I was with them, at one with the Whitlam of our youth, who said:

“Maintain your rage and your enthusiasm…”

We knew well enough what would have been his reaction to the passion of the day, to the cheering of the heroes and the booing of the villains. We hold our passions dear.

These men and women were making this occasion their own, and across the nation most of us – true believers, participators and witnesses – understood that this was the case. We were present at Gough’s memorial and it was ours, as he was ours and we (most of us) were the workers for the Party that made this country great.

Once again, he and we were present for the making of Australian history.

Others since then have argued that that level of participation, the way these men and women asserted themselves and made their passionate statements of approval or disapproval, was wrong, was bad manners. But this is an absurdity for anyone who has slogged through rain and sun to go letterboxing, who has argued for hours in branch meetings or at policy committees, organised or attended all of those fundraisers.

Don’t be ridiculous.

Gough Whitlam believed in the assertion of passion and belief, equally for all.

As Graham Freudenberg said:

“He believed profoundly in the Australian Labor Party as the mainstay of Australian democracy and equality.”

And there it was, his Party, represented that day inside and outside the hall — and vocal, dammit, as it always should be.

What we have is of no useful purpose. A frenzy of supposition that has divided us.

 The Cold War, and Vietnam were ASIO’s hay day they lied and made things up then. There is no reason to believe they won’t do it again coupled with the media what chance do we have in this illusion of democracy.


It should never have come to this

about recent incidents involving members of Australia’s Muslim communities. The media is not making any effort to minimise the hysteria that is developing.  To constantly speculate about aspects that have no foundation will cause great harm.

Publishing the wrong photo of the man who attacked two police officers in Melbourne’s South-East by the Fairfax media this week was disgraceful. The ramifications of such an error could have been enormous if any subsequent harm came to the innocent man concerned.

Prior to the 1990s, there was no issue in our country with Muslims. There may well have been an underlying, simmering degree of discontent in certain quarters.

dark sideThere are people among us who continually harbour a suspicion that those who are different and culturally unusual, are somehow a threat to our way of life.  Ignorance breeds contempt. Many in the community are already spooked enough.

A man paying too much attention to his iPad causes Sydney Airport’s Terminal 3 to go into lockdown. A Virgin Airlines low level fly over at the MCG on Saturday, caused an AFP officer to reach for his gun.

What has made our country so tolerant and so successful at peaceful integration in the past has much to do with our egalitarianism, the absence of a class structure and our layback approach.  Up until 1996, immigration was always managed on a bipartisan policy agreement.

It enabled a post-Vietnam War exodus of refugees to seek a safe haven here with not so much as a whimper of opposition. They came in their thousands and in a matter of a few years had established themselves as hard working, diligent members of society. It was just what we needed.Our already broad cosmopolitan make-up was richer for the experience.

hansonPrior to the 1996 election Pauline Hanson tapped a racial intensity of feeling in the electorate and won her seat even after the Liberal party disowned her.

When her One Nation Party had won over a large chunk of Liberal voters in a Queensland State election, that was the beginning of the end of immigration bipartisanship in Australian politics.

Just 5 years later, John Howard seized an opportunity to win an election with the Tampa incident by appealing to the same racially minded mentality. From that point on, to our national shame, the issue of immigration and management of refugees has become a game of political football.

But it wasn’t Asians that bore the brunt of this new degenerate attitude. Greatly assisted by our engagement in a falsely contrived war in Iraq, the fear of Muslims became a dark, festering disease covertly encouraged by certain sections of the media. Its nakedly, aggressive manner is a blight on a once welcoming nation and is covertly urged on by vested political interests.

morrisonIn 2011, Scott Morrison, as Opposition Immigration spokesman, “urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about “Muslim immigration”, “Muslims in Australia” and the “inability” of Muslim migrants to integrate.”

And, we know the mindset of Scott Morrison. We also know the mindset of Cory Bernadi. Who else in government thinks this way? By their actions, or lack of them, we will know them. How can we possibly begin to reverse this attitude when government members are so vocal?

Democracy does not serve us well when elected representatives act in a manner that creates division. It is counterproductive. It may suit the interests of some but in the long term, everyone pays.