Perhaps someone does actually read Greg Sheridan! In this morning’s Australian the man modestly billed as “the most influential foreign affairs commentator in Australia” turned his attention to Australia’s gun boat diplomacy over Japanese whaling. Our country’s action, Sheridan argues, “may have perverse consequences.”
In a strongly worded piece Sheridan argues that the Japan-Australia partnership has been a bedrock of regional stability and that “no one should lightly mess with this relationship”. He continued:
Yet undoubtedly the Japanese will see this move as crude, populist politics. And such populist gestures always raise questions of consistency.
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No Australian government has taken action on anything like this scale over any aspect of human rights abuses by any country.
So it seems we take the rights of whales more seriously than we take the rights of human beings.
No Australian leader criticises China over its human rights abuses, but we will send the gunboats to stop the Japanese being beastly to whales.
What was not pointed out to readers of The Australian was the role of its sister newspaper The Daily Telegraph in creating the climate in which our Government made its extraordinary decision to send a ship load of customs officers to Antarctic waters to gather evidence of alleged breaches of international law by Japanese whalers. Perhaps our most influential foreign affairs commentator is one of those who only reads the Tele for Piers Akerman!
Not that he would find evidence of the tabloid’s latest yellow journalism crusade on today’s Telegraph website even if he did look. This morning, lovable whales have given way to horrid sharks as the centre of attention. I could not even find a pointer to the special “Stop the Humpback Hunt” section we featured in Crikey yesterday.
While Greg Sheridan might not read the Tele, perhaps someone at the Tele reads Sheridan and realises that this campaign will, as he says, “undoubtedly do damage to the Australia-Japan relationship and harm Australia’s standing in Japan.”