Archive for the ‘Politics: Immigration’ Category

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Monday Night Q&A Panelist Evaluation (March 21st, 2011)

In Politics: Environment,Politics: Genral,Politics: Immigration,Q&A Evaluations on March 21, 2011 by mjwill91

Topics: Libyan Crisis, Christmas Island Riots, Julia Gillard’s ‘hypocrisy’, The Future of Rudd, Carbon Price, Tax Cuts

 

I got on #qanda again – yep. just that cool.

@mjwill90: a Libyan Ground War with Western troops is totally inevitable now Q&A

Check it!

 

Jason Clare – The Minister for Defence Materiel

Rather ineffectual panelist. Somewhat disappointing. Does anyone remember anything that he said? I think not. Rating: 3/10. Winner: ‘Worst Panelist of the Week’

Miranda Devine – Conservative Columnist

The Female Pyne. Rating: 4.6/10 (get’s .1 more than Pyne because she’s something to look at at least. sort of)

Lachlan Harris – Kevin Rudd’s former press secretary

Clearly the crowd favourite, Lachlan Harris is the sort of person that many would want to see as a socially liberal Prime Minister. Asked many ‘titillating’ questions re: working for Rudd, Ruddleaks and should Rudd have been replaced. HE argued against Julia Gillard’s current ‘hypocrisy’ re: euthanasia, marriage equality and the Bible, a very disappointing standpoint that Gillard has shared (she probably shouldn’t have). Rating: 6.9/10. Winner of ‘Best Panelist of the Week’

Christine Milne – Deputy Leader of the Greens

I dislike Milne. I feel that she thinks that she has ‘force majere’ when it comes to joint govt x Greens policies. Her comments on the scope of a carbon price extending to fuel were completely out of place, and did significant damage to the carbon price debate’s early days. Aside from that, she performed fairly well tonight. She didn’t challenge many current preconceptions of The Greens… well except in her support of military intervention in Libya. She attempted to say something about ‘non-violence brought about through military intervention (violence) that didn’t work too well. Rating: 5/10.

Christopher Pyne – Opposition education spokesperson

For the most ‘Irritating Person in Australian Politics’ and my personally most ‘disliked’ MP in The House, he didn’t do a terrible job. He was far less irritating that I thought he’d be. He didn’t use the word ‘invader’ or ‘illegal’ once. I was prepared for a ‘shoe-nami’ to slam into the ‘coastline’ of my TV, but I only threw something once- during his rant about the ‘importance of the Bible in understanding & shaping Western Liberalism‘. My left, red Chuck Taylor’s All Star went flying at the screen as I repressed the need to vomit. Seriously. Anyone who seriously thinks that can go outside and bite the curb, I’ll be out in a minute to deal with them. Rating 4.5/10

 

BEST MOMENT OF THE SHOW

Ok, this was close. While I’d like to say that it was @JoshThomas87’s question, it wasn’t. It was a poll that Jones took of the audience, who were asked to raise their hands if they think that Tony Abbott really thinks that climate change exists….

Count those hands...

– Matt. @mjwill90

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The ‘Ghost of Racism Past’ Returns – Again.

In Politics: Genral,Politics: Immigration on March 9, 2011 by mjwill91

Well, just the other week I was writing about the Federal Liberal Parties attempt at ‘invoking/summoning’ the ‘Ghost of Racism Past’ otherwise know as Pauline Hanson… Well, looks like they might have got more than they bargained for, because we’ve got the real thing back- and yes, she’s running for office…. AGAIN.

Pauline in standard attire

I’m quite serious here, Pauline has had more come backs than John Farnham. Currently she is attempting to get a seat in the New South Wales Upper House, and the scary thing is, she’s got a good chance at getting it.

If the past few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that racism still runs deep in the community. It’s that veritable wellspring of racism that certain far-right, race-baiting ‘factions’ of the Federal Liberal Party have been feeding off recently.

Pauline wearing another flag

Pauline has ‘struggled’ to lose her ‘racist tag’ since her maiden speech in Federal Parliament in 1996 when she said, ‘we are in danger of being swamped by Asians’… Well Pauline, it’s been 15 years since then and I’m not drowning in Chow-Mein.

Pauline’s long time ‘enemy’ and one time vanquisher Tony Abbott has come out in defense of her today, saying ‘people can vote for her if they wish’. When asked if Hanson was a serial pest, Abbott replied ‘that’s for people to make up their own mind’.

The most disturbing thing about all of this is that she has a fair chance to get a seat in an increasingly far-right, extreme conservative NSW Upper House, delivered to the NSW people (in part) by The NSW Greens not preferencing Labor, another silly move by a political party that while I commend their policies, looks increasingly like it doesn’t understand political process. Well, if they wanted to help contribute to an Upper House that has Fisher & Shooter party senators, they’re going the right way about it.

For anyone feeling a little ‘down’ about someone like Hanson getting back into politics, I have added the following video to brighten your day.

Now- for something really funny, re-watch the video and imagine that it was Tony Abbott singing it, then laugh when you realise that the lyrics work for him as well.

– Matt @mjwill90

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Madness Takes It’s Toll on Senator’s Dignity

In Politics: Environment,Politics: Genral,Politics: Immigration on March 3, 2011 by mjwill91

As many of you may already know, I have never little ‘time’ for The Senate. Now, to clarify- it’s not solely because I come from a state without a Senate (yes, Queensland is unicameral- make your ‘backwards state’ jokes), it’s also because quite frankly it’s an utter bore-fest. Usually.

The 6 year term of The Senate and the fact that both Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet (and implicitly the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader) are made of Members of the House of Representatives, makes the aforementioned house ‘where it’s at’. Now I’m not the first to have disparaging views re: The Senate with former Prime Minister Keating once describing The Senate as ‘unrepresentative swill’, but perhaps my views re: drollery of The Senate may have been misplaced…. after all the STRANGEST thing I’ve seen in this most recent political cycle (June ’10 – now) happened in The Senate less than 12 hours ago.

Now, I don’t know too much about Senator Mary Jo Fisher. She’s not from my State, and as previously mentioned i’m not one of the ‘deviants’ who watch Senate procedures- so I really can’t make any sort of judgement of her based on her behaviour, her beliefs & what she stands for politically. I can however pass judgement on what may be the most HORRIFIC thing i’ve seen ‘politically’ since that highly unfortunate photograph of former Foreign Affairs Minister during the Howard Government Alexander Downer.

Behold. The strangest thing I’ve seen in a very long time:

Where. To. Begin……. Dear God….

I’m a fan of small-scale political stunts. I don’t mind when the Govt. tries to table a giant poster outlining Abbott’s failure. I don’t mind when all the Opposition MPs hold up signs of Gillard captioned ‘there will never be a carbon tax under a government I lead’ while shouting ‘shame’ (and Pyne shouting ‘slag’). It’s stunts like these that make #QT (Question Time) particularly humorous  to watch…

Senator Mary Jo Fisher (dignity still intact)

HOWEVER. When it comes to a middle aged, ‘school librarian’-esque Senator goes on a 5 minute long rant about the carbon ‘tax while singing both the Hokey Pokey and then The Time Warp….. I’m not sure I can approve. It’s not like it isn’t a funny political stunt and if this story gets picked up in the morning it’ll have achieved what it was set out to do- attract media interest… however… does it send the right message to the voting public?

With the recent ‘spate’ of media ‘mishaps’ (read: absolute cock-ups) that the Liberal Party (and by extension The National Party) have had: Shit Happens-Gate, Asylum Seeker FuneralGate, BernadiGate, Gaddafi/ChemicalAliGate (Dutton) and GaddafiGate (Mirabella), you’d think they would be trying to minimise negative media attention. Apparently not.

Unless Senator Fisher went in there and did that whole song & dance routine off the cuff, it means that the ‘abomination’ we witnessed was scripted and planned. If it was scripted and planned you’d think somewhere along the ‘chain of approval’ someone would have said something along the lines of ‘this is going to make her (and by extension us) look like a complete goose (geese)’. Apparently not.

I’m sure that she probably thought that it would come off as a witty attack against the Govts. carbon price proposal… I don’t know how someone could come to that conclusion, because clearly she came off looking like an unhinged goose…

Frankly: If I was Brian Loughnane I’d take a good hard look at the media advisors & script writers that the Federal Liberal Party had in their employ… and then fire the lot of them, as they clearly aren’t doing a very good job (perhaps they are ALP plants?).

'Liberal Party Time Warp' ad from the Sept '10 Election

Also, did anyone else find it more than just a little hypocritical that a Liberal Party Senator was accusing the ALP of being ‘backwards’/ doing the ‘Time Warp’. Now, before you start sniping at me about how partisan that last comment was remember, they are a CONSERVATIVE party. The dictionary definition of conservative is as follows:

Conservative (adj), holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion. (read: Backwards)

So. Before I leave I thought I’d share with you my favourite part of Senator Fisher’s ‘perplexing’ display. Funnily enough it’s not even something she said/ did. At 3mins 36secs after Fischer says ‘she’s [Julia] going to have to bring those knees in tight’, you can clearly hear either a ALP/Green Senator / someone in the gallery yelling out ‘Oh my God!’. I don’t know why, but that part appeals to me the most- and represents the feelings I had while watching it for the first time.

Well, I’d better be off- it’s almost time for the launch of the iPad2 (or whatever it’ll be called) and I need to get over to a liveblog to watch events unfold. I’ll leave you with this. Goodnight (and i sort of hope you’re eating breakfast while reading this). Appetite. Forever lost.

'dem sexy gams

– Matt @mjwill90

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Monday Night Q&A Panelist Evaluation (Feb 28, 2011)

In Politics: Environment,Politics: Genral,Politics: Immigration,Q&A Evaluations on February 28, 2011 by mjwill91

Topics: The Carbon Price (or Tax), Climate Change, Multiculturalism, foreign aid, mis-quoting Shakespeare, Cost of Living Pressures

Piers Akerman – Political commentator

Piers Akerman is the sort of man that you either love or hate… and if you love him it means you’re a raging ‘rightcore’ loon who’s grasp on reality is weak to say the least. Akerman didn’t do much to sway the belief that he is a muckraking pig, by acting like a muckraking pig. At one point he even went so far as to imply that all of Samah’s friends were Muslim because she is. Wake up Akerman- it’s 2011, you’ve been asleep for 60 years. The low point of the entire program came when instead of encouraging a 14 yo boy to chose whatever party he feels will serve the nation best, Akerman launched into a tirade about the BER and Rudd’s laptop scheme and presumably ‘the boats’ as well. Rating: 2/10 Winner: Belligerent Pig Award for Sustained Disservice to the National Interest.

Samah Hadid – UN Youth Representative

Probably could be regarded as the ‘unknown’ panelist… although after tonight’s show probably not for much longer. Samah is a perfect representation of the ‘new young Australian’ movement. She’s young, she’s intelligent and she’s articulate. She’s the face of Australia’s ‘educated Gen Y’ citizens. While not recieving as much airtime as other panelists, she used her time effectively- attacking the belief that some Australians hold re: foreigners must totally integrate if they want to live here. She’s an example of everything the Liberal Far-Right (formerly One Nation) hates: a female Muslim who wears religious clothes, isn’t oppressed by them- and is in fact empowered by her spirituality and heritage whilst being able to uphold key democratic & ‘australian’ values. If there more people like Samah were able to get into the media ‘spotlight’, the legitimacy of the Far-Rights’ stance on immigration & naturalisation would greatly be diminished. Rating 7/10. Winner – Best Panelist of the Feb 28th Show.

Malcolm Turnbull – Shadow Communications Minister

Turnbull had to face some extremely tough questioning on tonight’s show, and for the most part he stood up to it fairly well (with some political question skirting here and there). My current biggest problem with Turnbull isn’t necessarily Q&A related -being that he doesn’t seem to represent the Liberal Party at all- subtly overstepping the party line on many occasions. However- it still appears as if he has ‘bent’ to Abbott’s will- a shame given that Turnbull is orders of magnitude more intelligent that Abbott. Samah Hadid said it best when she asked him ‘do you talk like this in Shadow Cabinet, because if you don’t you probably should’. Turnbull was pretty good overall- but overall it was an average at best performance, we’ve all seen him perform FAR better than this. Rating 5/10

Bill Shorten – Assistant Treasurer

I have some what of a political ‘crush’ on Shorten. He smiles at the right times, he comes across as a fairly genuine person (for a politician) and when he needs to be- he can be vicious. I’ve been predicting the ‘ascension’ of Shorten and Combet for quite some time now (Sept. 09) and with his current performance I think it’ll be sooner rather than later. HOWEVER I DIGRESS- my biggest problem with Shorten’s performance was his seemingly unwillingness to answer questions in a straight forward manner. Saying that, Turnbull was equally (if not more so) guilty of the same thing- so I guess it’s a politician thing. All in all, Shorten was fairly good- but could have been much MUCH better (like Turnbull) Rating: 5/10

Gretel Killeen – Comedian and former Big Brother host

I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely shocked when Killeen was annouced last week as a panelist for tonight’s show. I though ‘what could she possibly bring to Q&A?’, and frankly I thought it would be a terrible idea. Well, looks like I had to eat a slice of ‘humble pie’. Despite not having as much ‘airtime’ as Turnbull or Shorten, she clearly outshone both of their performances. She asked all the right questions, and wasn’t afraid of being critical of the ‘blah blah blah’ that permeates both of the major parties. At one point I found myself horrified that Killeen was making more sense than our elected officials. Rating: 6.5/10 Runner up- Best Panelist of the Feb 28th show.

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Monday Night Q&A Panelist Evaluation (Feb 21, 2011)

In Politics: Immigration,Q&A Evaluations on February 21, 2011 by mjwill91

Topics: immigration, multiculturalism, integration, the floods, rebuilding QLD and Climate Change.

Barnaby Joyce- The Shadow Minister for Regional Affairs and Water

I must say I didn’t expect much from Barnaby Joyce, which was a good thing- because he delivered very little. He deflected questions regarding the Liberal Party’s appalling handling of the Asylum Seeker Funeral debate (tactlessly described as Funeralgate by some) A low swinging Barnaby has disliked by the crowd, chastised by Tony Jones on more than one occasion & happened to insult one of Australia’s brightest minds: Tim Flannery. My question to you Mr Joyce is simply this: What field do you hold your PHD in? Rating: 4/10 Winner: Rudest Panelist of the Feb 21st show, prize: a new Toyota Landcruiser…. Please look after this one though, ok?

Ian Nelson- Queensland State Director of the One Nation Party

Some longtime #qanda aficionados were outraged to the point of not watching when Nelson was added to the panel at the last minute. They felt (and perhaps rightfully so) that a man who represents less than 0.3% of the country doesn’t deserve the chance of using Q&A as a soapbox for his vitriolic rhetoric. I, on the other hand was thrilled! Having read the One Nation QLD ‘website’ I realised that his appearance on Q&A would serve only further damage his cause, which it did. At multiple times during the program he chastised the audience for laughing at his ‘shocking facts’ about Islam. My personal favourite was, ‘They [Muslims] have their own bible, the Qur’an, which is very different to ours’. Rating: 3/10.

Gina Castelain- Indigenous Businesswoman

Severely underused panelist. She clearly had the support of the audience and subsequently was cheered for most of her statements. The most ‘memorable’ one for me was, ‘my people have been putting up with boat people for nearly 400 years’, that one bought a smile to my face. Also did anyone else find it funny that they sat the One Nation man next to the Indigenous Australian businesswoman? Was that done on purpose? Rating: 5/10 (but only due to lack of coverage)

Anna Bligh- Premier of Queensland

A brilliant performance from Anna Bligh tonight. Fielded difficult topics re: Labor inadequacies with an ease her Federal colleagues would have envied. Maintained rational debate throughout, despite some rather ‘low’ jabs from Joyce. Is this a ‘new’ Anna Bligh we are seeing, or is her crisis management ‘sheen’ simply temporarily blinding us? Rating: 8/10- Winner: Best Panelist of the Feb 21st show.

Tim Flannery- Australian Climate Commissioner

Did he speak for more than 5 minutes cumulatively? Totally ignored and obviously bought in for climate debate only. Copped a low-blow from blowhard Joyce, a man of little learning who questioned one of Australia’s brightest scientific minds. Rating: 4/10 (would have been less if he hadn’t explained Climate Change so eloquently)

Matt. @mjwill90

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Are We Seeing a Resurgence of Political ‘Hanson-ism’?

In Politics: Immigration on February 18, 2011 by mjwill91

In High School my favourite subject was Modern History. My Modern History teacher was one of the ones you rarely come across, the one that inspires their students- pushes them to excel. I remember that the first thing she said to the class on the first day was, ‘Australian Society is built on fear. You might not see it clearly, but it’s there- just below the surface. It’s always been there, dating back to before Federation. The fear of invasion.’

Of course that’s quite a revelational statement to make on her behalf and of course it was a statement that she was able to substantiate through evidence. I’m not here to give a history lesson, but I feel that it is important that before we continue I make some things clear.

Firstly, One of the driving reasons we Federated was to introduce uniform national anti-immigration laws. This drive to curtail immigration was born from the fear of the ‘Yellow Peril’, a ‘merciless, yellow horde of invaders from the north. Come to steal our land and defile our women’. In 1901 the Immigration Restriction Act was passed, this was the framework legislation of what was to be eventually known as the ‘White Australia Policy’, a immigration policy devised to allow easy immigration for those of white skin and preferably British heritage, while making immigration nearly impossible for Asians, East-Eurasians and people ‘of colour’ in general. The ‘White Australia Policy’ was in effect for nearly 75 years before it was officially ‘dismantled’ by the Whitlam Labor government with the passing of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Well, that was 36 years ago… you’d think things may have changed, right? … errr- perhaps. maybe just slightly…

The rise and relative success of the ultra-nationalist One Nation party in the late 90s took some by shock. Pauline Hanson and her party had tapped into a section of society that clearly had issues with the ‘softening’ of immigration policy and the overall ‘liberalisation’ of society. The downfall of the party and it’s ultra-nationalist leader was largely the work of the conservative side of politics, afraid that One Nation would steal their voter base.

Recently one of the most contentious issues in Australian Politics has been ‘illegal immigration’ or ‘people seeking asylum’ (depending on how you see the issue). I’m not going to go into the failures or successes of the Howard Government’s stance on Immigration (for there are many instances of both) – rather I’m mainly focussing on the time since the ending of the Pacific Solution in 2007. Since 2007, asylum seekers and refugees have been processed either on the mainland (usually in Villawood Detention Centre) or on Christmas Island. The apparent ‘influx’ of refugees is often blamed on the shift from the Howard Era policy, however it’s more likely due to changes in the geo-political landscape of the Middle East and the ‘crushing’ of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The most recent issues however have surrounded the treatment of the survivors of the Christmas Island boat tragedy of late 2010, specifically whether or not taxpayer money should have been used to fly the survivors from Christmas Island to Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney to attend the funerals of some of the victims. Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison MP attempted to suggest that it was ‘a waste of money’, something most Australians (at least the one’s that don’t lack compassion, decency and an education) would (and did) find absolutely abhorrent. Strangely enough, Tony Abbott didn’t denounce Morrison’s statement, and in fact inferred that it was his own. As everyone knows Hockey initially rejected Morrison’s claims that it was a waste, in an action some found inexplicable (but I put down to Hockey laying the groundwork for a leadership spill in a few months time). But of course, politics is politics- and you have to expect that sort of out of touch crap now and again. The really interesting thing about this story is the response it’s gotten from the public.

Now I realise that the ‘anonymous’ nature of the internet creates a phenomena called the ‘internet tough guy’, a person who has outlandish views & pushes people around online, but in real life would probably wet themselves if someone challenged them to a fight- however even this doesn’t explain the deep wellspring of vile, racist vitriol directed towards the survivors of the tragedy on various online forums & social media sites. Here is a few ‘choice’ examples from the #auspol (Australian Politics) thread on Twitter

‘They’re not facing persecution in their homeland, they’re just after the good life here. And we don’t want them’- name withheld

‘Abolish ALL foreign aid, cut taxes by 50% and let tax payers decide for themselves if and to whom they wish to give aid’ -name witheld

‘Send the little fuck [referring to the 9yo orphaned Iranian boy] back to where he came from. We don’t want more arabs’-name witheld

‘They are criminals. Terrorists. Lets treat them for what they really are. The Navy should shoot em on sight’-name witheld.

It seems if that wellspring of hatred, of xenophobia that Hanson was able to tap into and use politically still exists out there as part of society, and herein lies the Coalition’s real reason for not outrightly denouncing Morrison. The failure of One Nation left the party’s previous supporters with little option in the who to vote for, as there was (and still is) no IDEAL (for them) alternative ultra-nationalist, conservative party…. So they moved their support to the party that was closest ideologically: The Liberal Party.

Iranian orphan Seena is comforted by a relative at his parents' funeral - Getty Images.

Perhaps Abbott as a far-right leader had the inspired idea (it’d probably be his first) to target former One Nation voters by taking a tougher line on issues regarding immigration. What with his belief that he is one by-election away from being Prime Minister I’m sure he’d be doing everything in his power to win the favour of the former One Nation voters, perhaps it’d be their votes that would scrape him over the line.

Whether that is the specific case or not isn’t clear. What is clear is that either intentionally or unintentionally the Coalition are pulling a bit of political ‘Hanson-ism’ at the moment. Whether that translates into the votes that Abbott covets or causes him to alienate the moderate-right is yet to be seen. What is also yet to be seen is whether the government’s new multiculturalism & anti-racism agenda will really be able change the minds of people who think that making jokes at the expense of an orphaned 9yo held in immigration detention is socially acceptable & who view anyone who is non-white as an ‘invader’. My gut instinct says that unfortunately, it won’t.

-Matt. @mjwill90