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Australia does not deserve a place on the world stage

In response to a letter from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination raising concerns about lack of consent from the native title holders for the Adani mine, Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the UN should “respect the Australian legal system” instead of trying to direct Australia on matters it “clearly does not understand”.

This is an interesting approach considering these people are the experts and there is a court case about to go ahead on this very matter. Canavan is doing his best to get more coal mines and power stations happening while he can.

This is not the first time the Coalition government have told the UN to mind their own business and stop telling us what to do.

The Abbott government registered Australia’s opposition to a United Nations resolution ordering an end to ”all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories” with George Brandis saying ”The description of East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with perjorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.”

Tony Abbott accused the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, of “talking through her hat” for suggesting there was a link between global warming and bushfires.

In response to the latest IPCC report on climate change, Scott Morrison said Australia would be spending no money on climate change conferences and “all that nonsense.”

“We are not held to any of the (IPCC recommendations), and nor are we bound by them,” Morrison insisted while the Deputy PM, Michael McCormack, said Australia will not be dictated to by “some sort of report.”

Despite not having read the report, our new environment minister, Melissa Price, suggested its 91 editors and authors had “drawn a long bow,” and insisted that Australia would meet its Paris targets.

Asked how, Price then cited the nearly depleted Emissions Reduction Fund, and two institutions that the Coalition has tried to scrap – the Clean Energy Finance Corp and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – along with the government’s “investment in Snowy 2.0”. And something about “building” one billion trees, none of which explains, remotely, how the government intends to meet an economy-wide 26-28 per cent reduction in emissions, let alone a more ambitious target.

When the UN Committee on Torture slammed Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, warning harsh conditions in its offshore detention centres are causing serious physical and mental suffering and that Australia was in breach of its international obligations to refugees, Scott Morrison responded “Well, I don’t share their view. Australia’s border protection policies are made in Australia, nowhere else.”

A rebuke from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees regarding boat turnbacks, refoulement and the cover-up of allegations of mistreatment of asylum seekers by navy personnel was similarly dismissed with then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison saying he “completely disagrees” because the “policy is working”.

The government also tried to interfere with a case before the International Court of Justice into the bugging of parliamentary offices in Timor l’Este to gain commercial advantage by seizing raiding a lawyers office, seizing documents, and confiscating the passport of the whistleblower so he could not give evidence. They then argued unsuccessfully the court had no jurisdiction.

Australia exhorts the world to observe the rule of law and actively courts the kudos of being involved in UN bodies like the Security and Human Rights Councils but then tells them to go jump when the gaze turns on us. We like to pretend we are responsible global citizens by signing up to agreements that we then ignore when it suits us.

These are not the actions of transparent and accountable government. They are not the actions of people with integrity and a shared sense of responsibility. They are not what a reliable partner does.

They are the actions of a small mean greedy little place who says “Fuck you, Jack, I’m all right!!”

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  1. Shaun Newman

    Yes this L’NP federal government is a government of hypocrites who definitely say one thing and do the other, the sooner we rid ourselves of them the better off we will all be.

  2. nonsibicunctis

    With the exception of the last line, I fully agree with all you wrote and appreciate the links.

    However, we are not a “small” place, either in terms of population or size and only some of us are consistently or permanently “mean” or “greedy”.

    In the context of your article, I can see why you may have put it like that but I’d still prefer you to have pointed the finger at those who are actually responsible, i.e. right-wing, materialist, racist, closed-minded, evidence ignoring, uncompassionate, and selfish bigots. This group of people, unfortunately, include many of those who hold seats in our current parliament, particularly on the government side of the house.

    None-the-less. A good article. Thank you.

  3. RomeoCharlie29

    Well said, Kaye Lee. Canavan and Morrison are examples of Pygmy intellects thrust into roles they don’t understand and can’t fulfil. Both are men living in the past with no understanding of our country’s historic role in the formation of the organisation, the UN, whose declarations we have agreed to but which they now seek to traduce, in their ignorance. Unhappily we are unlikely to seethe backs of them as parliamentarians, but hopefully we will see an end to their roles as decision makers come the election.

  4. Kaye Lee


    Politics makes me angry but, by and large, most Australians are individually good people. Every day I hear stories about amazing things being done by Australians whose achievements or selfless service or sacrifice give me great hope. They are not the ones who blare the loudest but we should not lose sight of how great a contribution they make to making the world a better place.

  5. Frank Smith

    Very well said, Kaye Lee. My thoughts entirely.

    I note with great disappointment that Peter Reith, the Minister behind the reprehensible “children overboard” scandal has been honored for his “outstanding service” to politics in the AD Honors list. How low have we sunk? This guy became a lobbyist almost immediately after he stepped down from the Ministry in a blatant “jobs for the boys” move.

  6. Aortic

    I am told on good authority that Christiana Figueres does not even own a hat, far less speak through it.

  7. helvityni

    “….most Australians are individually good people.”

    Kaye, I agree with that, but why do we elect such poor-quality politicians these days. In the past I often found some good ones even amongst the Coalition…

    Frank, I too was shocked to find that Peter Reith was honoured for his outstanding service….

    Also disappointed that Labor has not been advocating more humane treatment of asylum seekers, and by Shorten’s curt response regarding the date of the Australia Day….

  8. David Bruce

    We used to call it the “hydraulic system”, I’m alright Jack. By the actions of the current bunch of scumbags pretending to be the Australian Government, Australia has become a target of international derision. Yet, for some reason, so many people want to migrate here and live in peace. Is the fluoride working so well that most decent Australians are prepared to live with the brainfarts coming out of Canberra.

    Australia and Australians deserve better! On this Australia Day celebration, many people received recognition for their contributions to our current way of life. Why are the politicians so determined to destroy it? I think I know why and it is politically incorrect to say so!

  9. Kaye Lee


    I agree. For me, it a little bit started with Howard but went full blown down hill when Abbott became leader of the Libs. I don’t know if it is personal bias because I used to know him (and thought him an inconsequential wannabe bovver boy) but that’s when I really started to feel it.

    The people I respected on the Conservative side have all left (or turned to jelly like Malcolm did).

  10. RosemaryJ36

    I do not watch reality TV but everything I have heard about it leads me to believe it – and @realDonaldTrump exemplifies it – is responsible for opening a Pandora’s box.
    Being unpleasant to and about people became not only acceptable but actually necessary.
    We used to generally respect our leaders and they in turn generally treated people with civility.
    Such behaviour now is ridiculed.
    In Australia, it reached its zenith with the appalling treatment of Julia Gillard, where the Opposition, led by Abbott, made no pretence of treating a female Prime Minister with respect.
    I have known people who sneer at the idea of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as they see it as kowtowing.
    Is the main problem that people lack self-respect????

  11. Keith

    A poignant speech by a young person; Greta Thunberg, who has virtually become a world leader through having been instrumental in influencing school students to go on strike through concern about climate change. A gutsty young lady whom was also invited to speak at COP24 in Poland. Some of the comments are quite appalling, adhominan attacks on a young person are completely out of order.

  12. Adrianne Haddow

    Here is further evidence of the collusion of the Libs and foreign mining companies circumventing native title laws against the wishes of indigenous land owners (and local farmers).
    It seems to be happening everywhere.
    There is no hope for Australia’s environment, agriculture or water while these ‘sales representatives’ are in charge.
    Vote them out!

  13. Diannaart

    Agree with article in its entirety and comments.

    This mob of grifters must go.

    Even a limp-wristed Labor is preferable. I think. Maybe. Well, what choice do we have?

  14. New England Cocky

    They are the actions of a small mean greedy little place who says “Screw you, Jack, I’m all right!!”

    Now why does this statement remind me of the broad acre farmers in SW Qld and NW NSW who steal environmental water flows with reckless impunity uncaringly causing devastation of agricultural enterprises and communities down stream?


  15. John Hermann

    Popper said that true ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, it is the refusal to acquire it. In my view, this is a perfect description of far too many of the members of this ideologically driven coalition government. Their ideological blinkers are an effective barrier to objectivity in the way they approach issues, and especially those issues where others in positions of knowledge and authority (including legal authorities) happen to have views which clash with theirs. Their mode of behaviour is more typical of political extremists operating with an agenda which exclusively benefits powerful vested interests, rather than the majority of the population whom they seek to govern.

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