Tag Archives: Australia

Australian PM Charges Predecessor With Iraq Blunders

Australia’s recently elec ted prime minister, Keven Rudd, ripped into his predecessor for misleading the nation regarding the threat of Iraq to world peace. He accused John Howard of deliberately placing Australian troops at risk for listening to the words of President George Bush that WMD existed in Iraq. Rudd asked some basic questions. “Hav further terrorist attacks been preventred? No, they have not been. Has any evidence of a link between WMD and the former Iraqi regime and terrorists been found? No. Have the actions of rogue states like Iraq been moderatd? No. After five years has the humanitarian crisis in Iraq been removed. No, it has not.”

Whe House spokesperson Dana Perino, once again argued that “no one else in the world, no other government had different information and so we acted based on what was the threat that was presented to us.” The Bush administration still functions on the belief if one repeats endlessly the same idea, it eventually will be accepted as the truth. Has George Bush forgotten the UN in 2003 urged they been given additional time to check out the so-called WMD because they had yet to find evidence any such weapons existed?

Australian City Rejects Muslim School

The city of Camden in Australia rejected the application to build a Muslim school on “planning grounds” and insisted there was no prejudice intended. Former Sydney Lord Mayor said the rejection was strictly an example of prejudice.
“There’s a vocal group of local residents who are very opposed to this school because of the religious beliefs of the Australian citizens who want to establish the school. That’s not the Australian way and it’s not the Australian law, insisted Jeremy Bingham.” The Council had claimed lack of access to good transportation as the basis for their decision, but most experts note there are many schools in rural areas.

Cardinal George Pell, when asked about the situation responded: “We believe in religious schols. We don’t necessary believe they should be here or there or any other place, but we certainly believe in religious schools.” That is what is termed a ringing support of religious freedom!

Nation Building Builds Nation Building Nation!

It is all too common in examples in which nations undertake to build up another nation that, in the process, those extending benefits may well wind up with more benefits than the object of the benefit. Resentment is building in the Solomon Islands over efforts by Australia to assist in providing security to the population and ensure the Solomon Islands is able to attain higher standards of economic development. A report by the private organziation, AID/Watch, says the $1.3 billion operation by Australia has triggered rapid inflation and inflicted “aid trauma” on the islanders. The economic benefits accruing to aid workers, soldiers, police and contacted companies provides them with strong incentives to keep the process going of building up the Solomon Islands.

About 99% of those assisting in the operation are native born Australians which engenders feeling among the Solomon Islanders the entire operation is geared to ensure foreigners walk away with large economic benefits from aiding people on the islands. The report also notes, after an initial effort to spark development, time has witnessed an ever increasing decline in the clarity of what was the mission really all about. The “plan” never described when it would be completed and how the Australians would gracefully exist the Solomons.

The example of this exercise in futility for the Solomon Islands raises all too familiar similarities to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. If one doesn’t know how or when to exist, is there really a plan?

Australia Makes Offender Target, Not Complaintant

Race Commissioner Tom Calma is asking for changes in Australia’s laws dealing with racial discrimination. Up to this point, the burden of proof has fallen on the individual bringing charges, but he wants the focus to shift by placing responsbility on the shoulders of the person charged with discrimination. He believes the current process is too hard on the individual bringing charges. “It is a dfficult exercise to be able to get the evidence together and if the offending party doesn’t want to co-operate then you can’t progress it. We do get occasions were people don’t want to cooperate, and then we’re forced to terminate a case.”

This is a complex issue because two rights are in operation, the rights of those who claim discrimination and the rights of those being charged. There simply is no easy resolution of this process except to work hard at prevention.

Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras Overwhelms Sydney!

An enormous crowd of about 300,000 people thronged the streets of Sydney, Australia, to cheer on the 30th annual Gay and Lesbian Marids Gras. They watched as 10,000 people representing a wide variety of sexual beliefs marched through downtown Sydney to cheers of happy revelers. The march began in 1978 when a band of 1,500 homosexuals took to the streets to protest discrimination. Among those marching today were 186 members of the famous “78ers” who took part in the original demonstration. Diane Minis, from that group, said the march “makes gay, leslbian, transsexual, etc… very visible and that’s what we stll need.”

The march toward equality has proven to be on the right road, but there are still many examples of discrimination towards gays and lesbians in gaining equality in tax and pension benefits. It was also apparent the group had obtained support from many members of the Australian community including clerics who marched in the parade.

Australians Leaving Iraq This Year

The newly elected government of Kevin Rudd has announced a change in Australian policy regarding the Iraq war. Australian troops will begin withdrawing from that nation in the coming months. Former Prime Minister John Howard, a close ally of President Bush, repeatedly said the troops would stay until the job was done and criticised Labor’s plan to “cut and run” as galvanizing terrorists. Apparently, his party has decided to change this stance and the Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson, Andrew Robb, recanted the Howard position and announced support for troop withdrawal. He claimed Howard would have followed this policy if he had remained in office.

Last July, Prime Minister Howard denied a rumor that he had a secet plan to leave Iraq saying it was “absurd.” But, in politics, when the people speak with their vote, those who are defeated rethink what cost them the election. Prime Minister Rudd said he would leave it to the public to judge whether Howard would have changed course. The bottom line is that Australia’s troop commitment in Iraq will soon be concluded.

Be Positive Toward China Urges Australian Leader

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told visiting American Defense Secretary Robert Gates the United States should adopt a more positive attitude in its relationship with China. He also reassured the American diplomat that Australia’s increasingly close economic ties with China pose no threat to the United States. “We can have a very good econmic relationship with China whch doesn’t adversely impact upon our relationship with the United States. On the contray, we encourage the United States to havea good, positive, constructive dialogue with China..It can be win-win.”

China has become Australis’s largest trading partner and serves as a booming market for Aussie natural resource exports. American political and military leaders continue making reference to the need for a large US military force in Japan in order to be available against unnamed enemies. It is about time to end the charade that China poses some sort of military threat to the United States in Asia. The Chinese are too busy expanding their economic influence while the US spends billions on war.

Kevin Rudd: A New 21st Century Trend?

Kevin Rudd became Australia’s prime minister a scant three months ago, but he already has set in motions new policies which have shaken the nation and fortell the arrival of a brand of new politics in the world. According to a survey published yeterday, nearly 70% of voters approve what is happening in their country. There is a new mood in the nation, a sense of regneration and change, a feeling of a rebirth in the offering which will allow Australians to become 21st century citizens rather than slumber in past politics. Some say the discarded poltics of former Prime Minister John Howard made them feel ashamed of their nation.,

Within 10 days after assuming office, Rudd signed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming leaving the Bush administration as the last industralized nation still opposed to global warming. A week ago Rudd made his famous apology to Aboriginal people for past discrimination, an act approved by 69% of Australians. He appointed a woman of Asian background who is gay to serve in his Cabinet. Rudd is planning to hold “community Cabinet meetings” around the country in order to involve ordinary citizens in public discussion with the government concerning policies. He will hold an April summit meeting of 1,000 of Australia’s “best and brightest thinkers” in order to map out new directions for the nation.

Barack Obama in the United States might benefit from this Australian change since it might reflect a global shift in thinking. Has the new century sparked planetary changes in which humans are seeking new answers not merely to old issues, but new directions for the new century?

An Apology Is Owed-Quit Dodging Australia

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is pushing hard for an offiical apology by parliament regarding policies that lasted for generations in which Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their parents and given to others. Some members of the opposition are quibbling over wording, and Rudd told them, “you either support an apology or you don’t, and the language of it and how we approach it in overall terms should be clear as the week progresses. Members of the opposition party are divided and their indigenous affairs spokesperson, Tony Abbot, said there would be support if the wording “is reasonable” and wanted a balanced perspective to be presented. Abbot did not believe wording should ‘defame previous generations” or pretend nothing but “ill had come from policies of the past.”

The Abbot argument is akin to Nazi German supporters wanting the world to know Hitler constructed good roads and that should be cited in any evaluation of the horror of Nazi Germany. Previous generations of Australians behaved in ways that were, and are, reprehensible in terms of human rights.

Gay-Aboriginal Conflict In Australia

A series of attacks on gay men on Oxford Street in Canberra has sparked an unusual conflict about the issue of rights. The police will investiage the crimes after two years during which officers have refused to record anti-homosexual violence or investigate brashings. A gay barrrister, David Buchanan, says Oxford Street has become less safe due to the rose of heterosexual clubs and watering clubs on the strip. For many years the area was known as a gay friendly environment, but with the arrival of those not familiar or supportive of gay life, the situation has become dangerous. The bashing of Craig Gee two m onths ago by an Aboriginal has intensified hostility between the two groups. Anger was fueled by a poster that focused on “Reclaim the right to be who you are” that depicted a phalanx of whie men.

GAys feel physically threatened and Aboriginal residents feel insulted by the idea they are responsible as a group for the actions of a few. One Aboriginal told a reporter “the only abuse I’ve had (for being Aboriginal) is from a few white gay guys.” Craig Gee said it was clear from comments by his Aboriginal attackers they were coming after him because he was gay. These incidents and views are no unusual. In the history of racism and prejudice it is not uncommon for those subject to bigotry to find someone else on whom they can dump their anger, usually an indvidual who is also the object of hatred.