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A fair go

Find below a piece by Mishka Góra reproduced here under the terms of its creative commons licence  it was originally published here


Tony Abbott from his Facebook page

Most of you will already be aware that I am not a fan of Tony Abbott. If you raise the topic of Paid Parental Leave with me, for example, you may wish to brace yourself for a diatribe about the “calibre” of the women our Prime Minister privileges above other hard-working women who stay at home without any pay at all for years rather than months. I will probably also make liberal use of the words integrity and backbone in a less than flattering manner.

Nevertheless, I am disgusted by the plethora of groundless attacks on Tony Abbott that have increased in recent days instead of abating. In particular, a photo of Mr Abbott in his fire-fighting gear seems to have drawn a ridiculous amount of ire. I must say, as a photographer, that it’s a great portrait. No matter how his term as Prime Minister turns out, it’s a photo that he and his family should be proud of and treasure. It is no surprise that his official Facebook page has it as his profile picture.

Many, however, have used this photograph as any opportunity to attack Mr Abbott. It seems he can do no right.

If he didn’t fight fires he’d be accused of being out of touch with the ordinary Australians threatened by the bushfires. When he does, he’s accused of using it as a photo opportunity (even though he’s done this for over a decade).

When some photos turn out to be from previous fires he’s attended, thus proving it wasn’t just a photo op’, he draws criticism for allowing old photos to be circulated.

It’s symptomatic of the sort of people – more than 170,000 of them – who’ve liked the defamatory Facebook page Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History.

Not bad for someone who’s only been in office for less than two months.

And there are others, of course, such as Abbott ‘the Maggot’, the content of which is too obscene for me to repeat.

My point is that, whatever his faults, of which I am sure there are many as he’s an imperfect human being like the rest of us, very few people are giving Tony Abbott a fair go.

Even those who consider his volunteer fire fighting “laudable” have criticised him for not getting his priorities right, suggesting he should be in his office on the end of the telephone at a time of a major fire emergency. I beg to differ.

At a time of unparalleled wireless communications, there is no need for our Prime Minister to be sitting in an office on the end of a landline. A good leader knows how to delegate responsibility to those with the expertise and resources to deal with the situation. I’m glad we don’t have a micro-managing control freak in charge of our nation.

Tony Abbott, in the past few days, has demonstrated we have an Aussie battler and hero as Prime Minister. I may not be an expert on bushfires, but I do know what it’s like to hear the pagers of two work colleagues go off simultaneously and see them scamper off with hardly a backward glance… then hear my own go off sixty seconds later summoning me to the ambulance for a trip into the fire-ravaged bush.

I remember all-too-clearly the overwhelming fatigue after hours standing on burnt-out ground in unimaginable heat surrounded by smoke and ashes. Merely donning fire-fighting gear in such conditions is an accomplishment – the actual work that follows is a feat most of us will thankfully never truly comprehend.

And that’s what makes volunteer fire fighters like Tony Abbott heroes. They risk their lives in the worst of conditions to protect us.

They don’t get paid, and they drop everything they’re doing because it’s an emergency. When Tony Abbott answered his callout with his local brigade, he set an example to all of us to buckle down and get on with the job. It’s about time we did the same and gave him a fair go.

Helena Carr travels with her husband on his official visits

Hmm Well its nice to have the wife along on trips occasionally but all of the time while on the taxpayer’s dollar? Maybe Bob has gone too far on this one. Maybe we should call or roving foreign minister Bob “two seats” Carr, one very expensive seat on the Security Council and one expensive seat in the plane for his wife…
Cheers Comrades

Thoughtlines with Bob Carr

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UN seats, table games and hills of beans

So we have won a temporary seat on the  UN security council, pardon me if I don’t do leaps  of joy at this news. As a younger man I really believed that the UN was an thing  of virtue but as i have got older I question its value more and more as its efforts to create and  maintain peace seem more and more futile and ineffectual. Thus I find myself thinking that this whole seat at the big table project from Brother Number (once was) One to be little more than a vanity project from Labor.  Does anyone want to make book on how this “achievement” will be spun? My guess is that Labor will be running ads (or at least running talking points) to the effect That only Labor has worked tirelessly to make Australia take its rightful place in  global politics and that evil Tony Abbott would have us forever amongst the unengaged global rabble…

Can you forgive my cynicism that the whole thing is “much ado about nothing”?

Our place in the world is cemented not by the empty  pretensions of the UN but by the way that we govern our nation domestically, the good governance of both our business and public institutions  and the way that we relate to our trading partners and our neighbors with fairness and equity. Playing table games with the great and powerful players at the UN don’t amount to a hill of beans in this old world …

Cheers Comrades

Bums on seats

Ah the United Nations is such a noble idea, you know the concept is that all of the nations of the planet should have an overarching origination where they can  voice their concerns and address their concerns in ways other than war and violence. While my friends on the left let their pious hopes for world peace see the UN as a very worthwhile entity. I personally can’t see it as anything other than a toothless and empty piece of window dressing that talks the talk and doesn’t even shuffle the walk. Yet here we are with Julia Gillard doing a big sales pitch for this humble country to have a temporary seat on the security council.

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Why on earth should the opposition support and endorse this exercise in self aggrandisement by the Labor party?  I personally can’t fault the opposition for being realistically negative about the place of the UN  in global  politics But I’m interested to hear from readers about what they think about this bid and what the value to both Australia and the world would be if we were to win that seat.

Cheers Comrades

Another Carbon abatement Ponzi scheme on the verge of collapse

I have been a bit under the weather over the last few days, in fact I have had a sort of flu like symptoms for the last week, you know with a sinus headache and a general feeling of utter lethargy. On top of that joyous present from my son I have been having a rather bad patch with my back.  that has seen my doctor prescribe me some even stronger pain medication and to be honest it makes be feel like I’m a bit “off with the fairies” sometimes. In fact my interest in politics has been a bit subdued lately. Oh I have been fighting the good fight a bit  in Latte land and now I think its time to offer a new post here to the loyal readers of the Sandpit. So without further adieu I’m going to consider the viability of the UN sponsored “global carbon trading scheme”. The Guardian is of course one of the most partisan and pro AGW papers  on the planet so lets have a look at the report in the latest edition:

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What I am struck by upon reading this article is an inescapable feeling that the whole UN scheme is, like the Gillard monstrosity just another Ponzi scheme where its all about  creating “confidence”  but because that confidence is predicated on false expectations and and eternally growing pool of “investors”  the whole thing is bound to fail sooner rather than later:

Governments have a last chance to restore confidence in the system when they meet in Qatar this December to discuss climate change. But few participants hold out any hope that they will agree to toughen their 2020 emissions targets, which are scarcely even on the agenda. Instead, governments are focusing on drawing up a new climate change treaty by the end of 2015, which would stipulate emissions cuts for the period after 2020.

As I have been saying for ages if the response to AGW can not be made to happen at a truly global level then any efforts from a minority of the global emitters is at best pointless and futile.At worst it will be an expensive exercise in climate piety that is of no value what so ever. There is only one answer to the AGW question that is to do nothing, wait and see if any of the dire prognostications come to pass and if they do then we deal with each  problem as it actually presents itself rather than spending huge amounts of effort and treasure trying to forestall things that may never happen.

Cheers Comrades

Self Sustaining at Rio +20

Yes Robert another entirely pointless and very expensive talkfest at Rio which of course brings this song to mind:

Robert Kyriakides's Weblog

Rather as I expected the Rio +20 summit on sustainable development has closed without advancing the practice of sustainable development by one jot, one title or one iota. The forests will shrink as they are plundered in developing countries, the seas will become deserts as they are shorn of life and filled with what billions of humans no longer need, and the greed of every interest group attending the summit set the scene: talk was cheap, the begging bowl was held out and commitment to anything was somewhere else. The only sustainable thing that has emerged from this Rio+ 20 summit is that there will be another summit in Rio again. That at least is self sustaining.

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The juicy fruit conundrum

This picture is only here because I much prefer this to pictures of "Red Ted"

While Ray is full of praise for a Lib who makes a call for ordinary Aussies to be more accepting of refugees today I want us to consider a related issue, namely what to do with those who are deemed to be both a “legitimate” refugee and a security threat to this country. Under the current rules such individuals may be detained indefinitely as long as they choose to stay in this country.

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Now isn’t that a juicy conundrum?
Its all well and good to suggest that releasing these individuals into the community is the most humane thing for them but what of the bigger picture of the ongoing management of them under control orders as suggested by Daryl Melham? Add to that the way that these suspect individuals will incite suspicion of their fellows who have been given the all clear by ASIO and I tend to think that keeping things as they are is the only viable option other than this country repudiating the UN convention and then forcibly deporting all of those who are deemed a security risk*. That is not going to happen. Anyhow let me just close with a most timely reminder that none of these rejected individuals is obliged to stay in detention if they are willing to leave the country voluntarily.

Cheers Comrades

* never going to happen

Treating gangrene with brown paper and vinegar, or No longer our burden

I think that my over whelming reaction to the newest humanitarian disaster in the Congo is very sadly that that it is just “more of the same old stuff” on a continent where disarray and disaster is the way of life rather than the exception. I have found it extremely difficult to become even interested enough to comment There is just no possibility of solving that continents myriad problems and I really think that the last thing that should be done is to send in British or French troops.

An estimated one million people have been displaced in the eastern North Kivu province on the border with Rwanda after two years of ethnic-related violence  Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the violence in Congo

An estimated one million people have been displaced in the eastern North Kivu province on the border with Rwanda after two years of ethnic-related violence Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the violence in Congo

The Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch-Brown disclosed that contingency plans were being prepared for the deployment of a European Union force, including a British contingent. However, with UK forces already stretched fighting on two fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr Miliband was quick to pour cold water on the suggestion that British troops could soon be caught up in a new overseas entanglement.

Meanwhile, aid agencies warned that the situation on the ground was deteriorating as tens of thousands fled to escape the fighting and the threat of rape and murder by the various armed groups across the eastern Congo.

“The humanitarian situation here is completely out of control,” said Alpha Sankoh, ActionAid’s country director in the Congo. “Refugees are being targeted before our very eyes – we cannot allow this to continue. The protection of women and children is paramount – particularly as so many are on the move seeking safety.”

The UN already has a presence in the area and all they have managed to do is prove just how impotent they are. with very limited resources and very restricted rules of engagement they have always just been a show piece, window dressing for the benefit of the media. The reality is that on a social level most of Africa is a basket case with the most common foundation stones for the nations are thuggery and self interest. Frankly all efforts to broker  peace seem as effective as treating gangrene with brown paper and vinegar.
There are times when no matter how dire the need that we do the people no great service by intervening  especially  when we do intervene, as we did in Rwanda, the end result was still unspeakable brutality and murder. All that we achieve is a measure of blame for the resulting failure. The days of colonialism are well and truly over and there comes a time when we in the west have to say that peace and prosperity in Africa is no longer our burden.
Until next time  Comrades

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