Like many Australians in lock down I ‘m devouring movies and television programmes to pass the time.
Recently I came across a b-grade film which chilled me to the bone. Bushwick recounts the alliance of two strangers and their bid to survive during an invasion of New York by heavily-armed militiamen.
As I browse the film’s reviews, I am reminded the people of the United States of America are 100 or so days away from a presidential election like no other. And the premise of the fictional Bushwick could become reality. American and international media is alarmed at the prospect of President Trump refusing to accept the outcome of the election. This article from The Guardian focuses on so-called voter fraud.
Americans are enduring multiple travails as revealed in David Lipson’s terrifying Foreign Correspondent episode, Life and Liberty broadcast on ABC-TV on July 28 2020. Life and Liberty could be a scene from the fictional scenario depicted in Bushwick.
On the same date Foreign Correspondent went to air, Australia announced to the world it is going all the way with the most unstable American administration since the confederate presidency of Jefferson Davis.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds beat the drums of war as they stood beside the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at an AUSMIN meeting.
I doubt many Australians grasped the significance of this dangerous tête-à-tête, while fewer still recognise the economic risk of chumming up to a floundering American administration.
So much has changed so quickly.
In September 2019 David Uren, an economic analyst and former economics editor with The Australian newspaper said this in an article published by the ultra-conservative Australian Strategic Policy Institute:
“The strength of the economic relationship [with China] does shape the government’s strategic options. Australia hasn’t followed the US’s freedom-of-navigation operations close to the Chinese-constructed islands in the South China Sea, for example. However, prosperity is in the national interest and the relationship has delivered that over the past 15 years.” (Emphasis added).
And yet less than a year later Prime Minister Scott Morrison puts the nation on a virtual war footing to curry favour with the US which is our 24th ranking goods trading partner,
Australia can ill afford to alienate China, or any trading partner for that matter, as the world economy deflates into global depression. Statistics do not lie, but everyone else so it seems, does.
When Josh Frydenberg succumbed to a brain snap on ABC-TV Insiders and eulogised Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, he literally threw the Coalition’s junior partner under a bus.
The truth of the matter, as outlined in an Asialink Business essay written in 2018, is China, good, bad or indifferent, cannot get enough of the fresh produce grown and reared in regional and rural Australia. It is important to note these goods and other Australian exports, sail through the hotly disputed South China Sea
Under the heading Agriculture and Processed Food, Asialink reports:
“China buys more Australian agricultural produce than any other country. In the 2017-2018 financial year, Australian farmers and the broader agricultural sector sold more than AUD 11.8 billion of produce to China, around a quarter of all agricultural exports. Trade is growing strongly, but untapped opportunities still abound. The Australian Department of Agriculture predicts China will account for 43 per cent of global growth in demand for agricultural products to 2050. The primary increase in demand is predicted to be for foods such as beef, lamb, dairy, fruit and vegetables. Australian products have an enviable reputation for being clean, safe and high-quality – which positions Australian exporters strongly to take advantage of China’s growing demand for quality produce and its need for food security.”
So why put this at risk now? There is no simple answer other than to say the Morrison Government has drunk the fake news flavoured Kool Aid disseminated by the Dirty Digger.
With Democrat Joe Biden tipped by pollsters to take the White House and Democrats seemingly set to dominate the US Senate and House, now is not the time to cosy up to a floundering administration. Nor domestically is it the time to attack state premier’s fighting for the lives of their citizens. And it is certainly not the time to champion a disgraced English prime minister who sparked a civil war in her Northern Ireland, introduced a poll tax, went to war with Argentina then endured the ignominy of a very English coup by her own party.
Now is the time for truth telling, or Makarrata, a Yolngu word and concept which describes the resolution of conflict, and the justice and peace which follow in its wake. Despite the dissembling of the Murdoch press, Australians need to face up to some uncomfortable truths, including the coup which resulted in the sacking of Gough Whitlam on November 11 1975. And the fact a US Administration which deploys militiamen to tear gas its own citizens in the name of democracy, will abandon Australia in favour of its own self-interest as quickly as Operation Warp Speed.
In this time of plague it is worth heeding the words spoken at an inquest held in the aftermath of the Chernobyl catastrophe.
“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth.”
Henry Johnston is a Sydney-based author. His latest book The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.
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