Australia on top. The violent treatment of Indian students in Australia might have dropped out of the news media here this week, but it continues to feature prominently in India. This morning it finally reached the status of the front page splash in the Times of India .
Similar stories have made page one in recent weeks but I don’t recall them reaching pride of place before. You will get the flavour of the anti-Australian feeling from this collection of related stories the TOI listed this morning:
- Attack on students domestic issue of Australia: Tharoor
- Yet another Indian student attacked in Australia
- Blog: We’re even more racist than Aussies
- Blog: Govt must issue advisory on OZ
- Did Indian students falter in etiquette in Australia?
- Indian student attacked in Melbourne
- MEA issues guidelines for Australia-bound Indian students
- Attacks on Indians “damaged” bilateral ties: Australian High Commissioner in India
- End attacks on Indian students: Steve Waugh
- 22-year-old Indian student attacked in Australia
- Indians in Australia say Lebanese youths behind attacks
- After Indians, Sri Lankan students attacked in Australia
- Community leaders ask Indian students to stop protest rallies
- Australian Greens for Senate probe into attacks on Indian students
- Tourism minister Kumari Selja postpones Australia visit
Moving along nicely. Bank bashing is moving along nicely with the good old Commonwealth doing its bit by organising an end of financial year function to thank staff for some successful fee gouging. The tabloid headlines this morning — Which bank parties as mortgages soar?; Commonwealth Bank’s five-star party; Commonwealth Bank celebrates lifting mortgage rates with lavish party — with the stories underneath of Krug champagne and caviar must surely be one of the year’s great PR disasters. Just as surely the stories increase the growing pressure on the government I wrote of yesterday to stop talking and start acting.
Persistence deserves being rewarded. Those of you who look at the Breakfast Media Wrap posted on the Crikey website each morning around 7am might have noticed the continuing probing away by the Melbourne Age at the activities of the note printing division of the Reserve Bank of Australia and an associated company. For several weeks now the paper has been running stories that have made this reader very curious about the ethical standards being followed in the pursuit of business for the plastic notes business.
This morning’s installment drew attention to the refusal by the Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry to answer questions from Greens leader Bob Brown in the Senate about the overseas dealings of Securency Pty Ltd and Note Printing Australia (NPA), saying it was “not appropriate” while the Australian Federal Police assessed their activities. Senator Brown is not the kind of man to be fobbed off forever and the Coalition should be joining him in setting up an inquiry into the whole matter, for there are surely few aspects of government more important than the Reserve Bank conducting its activities with complete probity.
And so, he was too gutless after all. When it came to the final crunch Peter Costello had no stomach for the political fights. He wouldn’t risk the initial defeat in the party room that was probably a pre-requisite to finally toppling John Howard. He did his sums after the Coalition’s defeat and could not cop the thought of three — and probably six — hard years his Party was then prepared to give him as Leader of the Opposition. He mischievously toyed while sitting on the backbench about changing his mind, but yesterday he admitted defeat for what is presumably the last time. Peter Costello should soon be gone and the Liberal Party will be well rid of him.