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Australia’s double standard goes deeper

Crikey readers discuss the cases of Julian Assange and Yang Hengjun, and the government's handling of the GDP slump.

Crikey readers agreed yesterday that there’s a clear double standard in Australia’s responses to the detention of Yang Hengjun and the prosecution of Julian Assange. But as some pointed out, the circumstances of Assange’s case are an even greater indictment of our leadership. Elsewhere, readers discussed the government’s mishandling of the economy.

On Australia’s double standard

John Richardson writes: Stuart Rees is absolutely right to call out the craven hypocrisy of the Australian government over its abject failure to stand up for the rights of Julian Assange while chest-beating over the detention of Australian-Chinse writer Yang Hengjun. But the complicity of the Australian government in supporting the attempts by the United States to persecute Assange reflects a far greater abuse of his rights than anything thus far inflicted on Hengjun. As best we know, Hengjun is accused of carrying out acts of espionage within the territory of the Peoples Republic of China, and on that basis he is clearly subject to the laws of that country, irrespective of any self-serving bleating coming-out of Canberra.

Assange’s situation is quite different. The attempt to extradite him to the US is to allow him to be charged with crimes against its laws: laws that can reasonably apply to US citizens for alleged crimes they may commit anywhere in the world but, for the rest of us, would only count if we committed such crimes on US soil. What western governments and their media accomplices seem determined not to acknowledge is that the day the US succeeds in its attempt to extradite Assange, we will all of us have become subject to the dictates of US law, no matter our citizenship and no matter where we are. And with that, sovereignty is dead and the value of citizenship is surely made worthless.

Peter Schulz writes: Quiet Australians and the MSM seem to be sympathetic to protesters blocking the streets in Hong Kong, but decidedly unsympathetic to protesters blocking streets in Brisbane, railway lines in central Queensland or farms all over Australia. And the Australian governments that are urging the Chinese authorities to respect the right to protest are themselves introducing laws to limit that right in their own jurisdictions.

On the GDP drop

Robert Smith writes: Don’t worry, the government will have a different story after the next quarter results to explain it away. Anyway, it’s all Labor’s fault.

Brian Crooks writes: Australia’s whole economic problems can be sheeted home to this trickle-down economic ideology which started with Howard and his Workchoices legislation. Their obsession with wage and income restraint and the massive import of 457 visa workers, when coupled with their manic tax cuts and big profits for their big business supporter base, has destroyed the discretionary income component  of wage earners and pensioner/retirees to the point of recession. Unless Morrison and Frydenberg lift their feet off the necks of these people and stop strangling the union movement, wages and incomes will continue to fall in real value and this will be catastrophic for the economy.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication.

Peter Fray

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Don Quay
Don Quay
1 year ago

The GDP Crisis – Brian Crooks. Governments of both persuations and the business community have been bleating about the growth of wages and employment costs. Now that they have stabilised the Government and Business Community are complaining about the stagnant marketplace and business environment. Whilst there are overseas factors that Australia can’t control, domestically they can.

The old addage applies: ‘take money out of the working man’s pocket and you’ll end up with a sick economy’, is now standing true.