tip off

Caro’s flotsam and jetsam: border idiots … think of the ‘burbs … Palin v MLK …

Are those in charge of “border” protection really that stupid? We are not only bullying East Timor but have “mistakenly” sent our navy into Indonesian waters. Who is in charge here, and what on earth are they thinking?

Border patrol. So George Brandis has put his hands over his eyes and promised faithfully (promise, Your Honour) that he will not read the documents obtained by the raid on the lawyer representing the East Timorese government in its stoush with us over oil and gas in the Timor Sea. But if he’s not going to read them, why did Australian authorities feel the need to raid the lawyer’s offices in the first place? What were they looking for? And what were the “security issues” they were concerned about? Could it be that the case Australia intends to put in the International Court of Justice is — ahem — not very strong? (What’s Ian Callinan suddenly doing on the ICJ panel, by the way? I suspect this story has much further to go.)

The East Timorese, not to put too fine a point on it, are deeply pissed off, and they’re not the only ones. Our brand-new “adults in charge” government has also annoyed another of our neighbours — Indonesia — to the extent that a little light sabre-rattling has begun.

As a rather pointed letter from James McCardle to The Sydney Morning Herald points out, Kevin Rudd was ridiculed when (while still PM) he warned of just such a possible outcome in response to the bellicose “turn back the boats” policy of the Coalition. Winning votes in marginal seats at home, it seems, does not necessarily win friends in other places. Incursions by our navy (which apparently cannot navigate properly — also a worry) into Indonesian territorial waters have led to Indonesia deciding to send a warship (A WARSHIP!) to patrol its naval boundaries.

Holy shit! Bullying small-fry East Timor is one thing, but Indonesia has a population of 250 million. Guys (and apart from Julie Bishop, you are all guys), word to the wise: if you want to throw your weight around internationally, could you pick on people your own size or smaller? And, while you’re at it, could you be a tad more professional about the intelligence work (spying is best done secretly, I believe)? That East Timor thingy is simply mortifying.

Speaking of “turning back the boats” (and, unless you’re the minister in charge, what else do we talk about these days?) I liked an article in The Mercury, which finally threw Godwin’s Law to the winds. And also this cartoon by Judy Horacek, courtesy of Kerryn Goldsworthy:

borders

It’s getting hot in here. Inside our beloved borders this week, however, all was not well. We saw Adelaide dubbed the hottest city on earth and Australia the hottest country but, hey, thanks to good old private enterprise and the morality of the market, only a few people lost their cool, so to speak.

We also saw the tragedy and devastation of bushfires due to the extreme heat across Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, with homes destroyed and one life lost. Climate scientists warned that such events are likely to get more intense and more frequent, leading to shock-horror headlines like this:

leafy

I couldn’t help wondering if what we gain on the repeal of the carbon tax we will lose many times over on the cost of home insurance.

Just when you think we’ve come so far … Anyway, I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when the present simply becomes too much to bear (and the future too awful to contemplate) I like to turn back to the comforting certainties of the past, so thanks are due to Slate magazine for this inspirational document:

Sarah Palin steps in. It is particularly appropriate given that this week brought Martin Luther King Day. Yet, just as I was restoring my faith in human nature by luxuriating in the maturity, decency and achievements of the past, I was returned with a bang to the nastiness of the present:

But at least Palin’s remarks provided satirical fuel for a few finalists for tweet of the week:

rex hupke

 And this story gave Bette Midler an idea:

But the winning tweet (Ta-da) is apropos of nothing in particular, except that it chimed so perfectly with my own response to so much of the news this week:

Onward, Christian soldiers. I also absolutely loved this discussion about whether Christians are discriminated against between Cristina Odone and Robin Ince across two editions of the New Statesman. Ince’s brilliantly reasoned response reminded me that in some ways the world really is becoming a better and more interesting place.

Another black mark against Christie. And this just in about troubled New Jersey Governor and erstwhile Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, a reminder of why education must remain public. Bon voyage for now …

10
  • 1
    Grumpy Old Sod
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I would like an assurance from the Royal Australian Navy that they will never ‘inadvertently’ navigate into Kangaroo Island. Or could it be that such an assurance would be based on the fact that they never go near the bloody place anyway?

  • 2
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Is that promise retrospective?

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    ….. and don’t light sabres buzz? A broken one might rattle….

  • 4
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jane, nice work. Hey, I see Judy Horacek is credited in your piece once you log in, but she’s still not mentioned on the mailout or the webpage. It appears that the cartoon is by Kerryn Goldsworthy, and that’s really unfortunate. Any chance this can be fixed? Cheers.

  • 5
    Pedantic, Balwyn
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    The Abbott Government is clearly aware that they ( and News Ltd) have created in the minds of the majority that all Asian or Middle Eastern people are alien, darkies, religious nuts and not worth caring about or respecting. So Indonesia or Timor Leste can complain all they like about Australia breaching their sovereignty, it wont cause any heart burn for the bully boys running this country!

  • 6
    Jimmyhaz
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I just fundamentally don’t understand the coalition’s long-term goals in any of these areas. Is the extent of their ambition getting re-elected? Or are they also hoping to steer Australia to the extreme right-wing, like what has occurred in the UK and the US?

  • 7
    paddy
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    An apology to Judy Horacek in tomorrow’s email might just help sooth some unfortunate bruises.

  • 8
    AR
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    PedanticB - that was certainly rat hately’s view on 2GB this morning - re the “injuries reportage”, quoth the little bully, “to Hell with the Indonesian navy!”. And lest we forget, “We Warn the Tzar!” from early 20thC Sydney press

  • 9
    Iskandar
    Posted Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Abbott’s solution to the international refugee crisis:
    “STOP THE BOATS”
    Abbott’s solution to the Syrian Civil War:
    “STOP THE FIGHTING”
    Abbott’s solution to Climate Change:
    “STOP THE GREENS”
    Consistently confirming my thesis that right-wing brains are half-missing, half-dead or half-functioning.

  • 10
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be so afraid Jane.

    How could you be afraid of 250 million people whose Search and Rescue service have little rubber boats which can’t go out at night? Its true - I heard it on the ABC?

    Our magnificent RAN has steel boats which can go out at might and have navigated right up to the Indonesian breakers (shoreline for the non-nautical) to save a sinking asylum seeker.

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