For many years, Australia has been trading with China, apparently in the belief that one can do business with a country for yonks without expecting the development of some sense of obligation. The attitude has been that China needs Australian resources and the relationship needs to go no further than the transfer of sand dug out of Australia and sent to China.
Those in Beijing, obviously, haven’t seen the exchange this way. There has been an expectation that there would be some obligation for the relationship to go further than just the impersonal exchange of goods for money. Australia, in true colonial fashion, has expected China to know its place and keep its distance.
This is similar to the attitude the Americans took when they pushed for China’s admission to the World Trade Organisation: all they wanted was a means of getting rid of their manufacturing so their industries could grow richer and an understanding that China would agree to go along with the American diktat to change as needed to keep the US on top of the trading world.
Continue reading “Managing a relationship is hard work”
Australia has been imposing hefty duties on Chinese steel, aluminium and chemical imports for more than six years, despite a letter from the Chinese side in 2014 saying that holding talks with Canberra on this would be of no use.
Recently, China said it would impose tariffs on Australian barley and also block beef imports from four Australian abattoirs. This latter story has become a big stamping ground for patriotic Australian journalists, a crowd who accuse Chinese scribes of being one-eyed, but act exactly the same way.
But the fact that Australia has been imposing huge tariffs? Only one journalist to date, Angus Grigg of the Australian Financial Review, has written about it.
Continue reading “In Australia-China spats, the media only gives one side of the picture”
When Scott Morrison led the Liberal-National Coalition to victory in the last federal election in May, he was greeted as some kind of superman, mainly because all the polls had predicted a Labor win, and by a substantial margin too.
All the political pundits crowed that this win gave the Australian Prime Minister complete authority to govern as he wished, and the chance to implement policies of his liking.
Nobody pointed out that after the dust had settled, Morrison still only had a majority of two, just one more than his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull enjoyed for much of his tenure.
Continue reading “With two-vote majority, Morrison still fears he will lose leadership”
Australian politicians are in the game for one thing: money. Most of them are so incompetent that they would not be paid even half of what they earn were they to try for jobs in the private sector.
That’s why former members of the Victorian state parliament, who were voted out at the last election in 2018, are struggling to find jobs.
Apparently, some have been told by recruitment agencies that they “don’t know where to fit you”, according to a news report from the Melbourne tabloid Herald Sun.
Continue reading “Australian politicians are in it for the money”
In the first three weeks of June last year, the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson presented a three-part saga on the channel’s Four Corners program, which the ABC claimed was the “story of the century”.
It was a rehashing of all the claims against US President Donald Trump, which the American TV stations had gone over with a fine-toothed comb but which Ferguson seemed convinced still had something hidden for her to uncover.
At the time, a special counsel, former FBI chief Robert Mueller, was conducting an investigation into claims that Trump colluded with Russia to win the presidential election.
Continue reading “Whatever happened to the ABC’s story of the century?”
The year that ends today was remarkable for one thing on the media front that has gone largely unnoticed: the fall from grace of one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s brightest stars who has long been a standard-setter at the country’s national broadcaster.
Sarah Ferguson was the journalist’s journalist, seemingly a woman of fierce integrity, and one who pandered to neither left nor right. When she sat in for Leigh Sales, the host of 7.30, the main current affairs programme, for six months while Sales was on a maternity leave break, the programme seemed to come to life as she attacked politicians with vigour and fearlessness.
There was bite in her speech, there was knowledge, there was surprise aplenty. Apart from the stint on 7.30, she brought depth and understanding to a long programme on the way the Labor Party tore itself to bits while in government for six years from 2007, a memorable TV saga.
Continue reading “All your gods have feet of clay: Sarah Ferguson’s fall from grace”
After British Prime Minster Theresa May called a snap election on April 18, many journalists have been at pains to suck up to her and paint what is, in fact, a move born of desperation as some kind of astute political gambit.
This, despite the fact that this kind of sucking up to politicians has been, in the main, the reason why newspapers and magazines have gradually lost readership over the last two decades to other more rough-edged publications that speak the unvarnished truth.
The next British election is due in 2020. By then, Britain would have completed negotiations to leave the European Union, a decision the people voted for in a referendum in 2016. Even if things are not completely sewn up, the general points of the deal would be clear by then.
Continue reading “Theresa May needs an election now. Else, she may lose even her own seat”
Right now, the whole of the US seems to be obsessed with Donald Trump, someone who was never considered likely to be a challenger for the Republican nomination for this year’s general election.
In the process, the US has forgotten that it claims to be a democracy. Trump may not be the best person to be a candidate for the presidency but then in a democratic system, the people’s choice is meant to prevail.
After the so-called Super Tuesday primaries, it became apparent that Trump would be a serious contender for the Republican nomination. With every subsequent contest, he has solidified his position and now looks a near certainty.
Continue reading “Democracy has its downsides, but it’s the best system we have”
When a prime minister has discovered that only one tactic — ratcheting up the fear factor — helps to boost his poll numbers, and his poll standing is desperately low, what does he do?
Tony Abbott has made a profession of demonising asylum-seekers and Muslims and pretending that the world faces an existential threat from the terrorist Islamic State group.
In recent times Abbott has gone back to similar tactics. First, he engineered a “request” from the US, for Australia to join in air strikes on Syria.
Continue reading “Abbott ratchets up the fear factor to boost poll standings”
They call them anti-terror raids, though one has to ask seriously whether they are stopping anything at all. An idle conversation where a man who is worked up blurts out, “I would like to shove a bomb up his arse” can always be interpreted by an over-zealous, dumb police officer as a terror threat.
The timing of the raids in Brisbane and Sydney was very neat – it all happened very close to September 11, the day that all people in the West associate with terrorism. It’s a good time to stage such raids and raise the fear factor.
Continue reading “Terror raids reprise one of the oldest games in politics”