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Tag Archives: Team Australia

The Great Warming: Anthropogenic Global Warming and the spread of disease

Regular readers of Australian political blog sites will be familiar with Deknarf, whose ‘Graphic Manipulations’ provide a barbed, light-hearted observation of the fools on the Hill on a weekly basis.

Lesser known, is that Deknarf is a researcher in his right in the field of micro-biology. As this weeks guest blogger, he takes a look at the micro-biological effects of AGW.

Now there’s a heart-stopper of a headline! Presenting information on the likely effects of Anthropogenic Global Warming and the related spread of disease tends to make people’s eyes to glaze over. It does mine after a lengthy sojourn wading through the science-speak! So, perhaps a hypothetical. Remember Joe Hockey saying that it’s highly probable that a child is being born and that it will live until 150?

So here we go!

It’s 2035!

I’m sitting on the mosquito-proofed verandah, beachside in tropical Sydney, gazing out to sea. Wasn’t able to do that a few years ago because there were beachfront houses over the road. More rapid global sea rise took care of those. Another prediction that went awry! Forgot to incorporate in the models that as the world warmed the rate of sea rise would increase, not stay at a steady rate.

It wasn’t so much that the models were wrong, they just didn’t include a couple of factors, and it all turned out to be less incremental, more logarithmic, eh? Especially when the Arctic permafrost let go and released all that methane! Anyhow, now that they’ve removed the wreckage there’s just the road between home and the beachfront and luckily home is still three or four metres above sea level.

The property value went up accordingly but since they reckon that the road will be inundated in another 10 to 15 years, that little bubble’s going to burst soon I’d say. But then again, on current expectations, I won’t be around to see it.

It’s a bit of a shame that you have to go inside around 4.00 in the afternoon unless, of course you cover yourself in anti mozzie stuff and smell like a bad case of body odour. Since the “Great Warming” started those bloody Queensland disease bearing mozzies headed south and now we’ve got them all over the place!

Part of the daily grind is the “get rid of the stagnant water patrol” just to make sure the little buggers aren’t breeding in every puddle! Given that we now get afternoon tropical storms it’s a right pain in the bum! So if you want a dose of Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis or Malaria just step outside for a bit and get a mozzie bite, or two!!

Going outside at night? Brave person! If you dodge the mozzie’s then there’s always the Cane Toads! Along with the mozzie and disease invasion those bloody toads came too! Sydney these days has become “Tropical one day, hospitalized the next!” Someone said the other day, that they’d found fire-ants in Vaucluse! That’ll play havoc with the real estate prices!

And all this, on top of the increase in food and water borne diseases, respiratory diseases as well as animal borne disease mean that, these days, living past about 70 is primarily down to good luck, living in Tasmania, and good genes!

What with Dengue, Chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, Malaria, E coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Giardia, Cholera, influenza, whooping cough, as well as the Hendra and Leptospirosis I’m surprised that there’s still a population of 20 odd million in the Sydney metro area! Most of them moved down from Queensland after the desertification, and the refugees from all those Pacific Islands are still coming! Some smarty-pants called them “submergees”!

And the odd part! There are still the seriously deluded who still believe that the last 30 years is just a warm weather anomaly and it’ll all change back again – eventually! I’m wagering they still vote Liberal or National Party and think, “Coal is Good!”

150 years old Joe? Don’t think many of us will get to see that milestone.

Perhaps we could use the now ex-Prime Minister of Team Australia’s approach!

“My fellow Team Australians. The are coming after us and they strike, wraithlike, from the shadows and in the darkness of the night. In their urgent quest for our blood, they send their Death Cult terrorists amongst us. Everything possible needs to be done to defeat these evildoers!

This is a Government utterly committed to a campaign against those who are coming to get us. And the point I keep making is that these killers of women and men, child murderers, these medieval barbarians, broadcast to the world through the mounting death toll the ugly dimension to their evil. We may not always feel that we are at war with them, but they certainly know that they are at war with us!”

“And, as the world warms new battlefronts open up to these murderers. New territory to conquer, new opportunities to wreak their evil, murderous havoc on the innocent and unwary.

Rest assured my fellow Team Australians, as long as we have our energy, our industry, and our coal is good, we will fight them on all fronts! In tropical Sydney, in Mediterranean Melbourne, in the deserts of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory – we will never surrender!


Then again, perhaps the Abbott approach was just a tad hyper hyperbolic. After all. We did create the opportunities for these little beasties, didn’t we?

Deknarf blogs on his own site; Deknarf: The Australia Blog.


Business As Usual From The Team That Brought You Team Australia!

“American conservatism used to have room for fairly sophisticated views about the role of government. Its economic patron saint used to be Milton Friedman, who advocated aggressive money-printing, if necessary, to avoid depressions. It used to include environmentalists who took pollution seriously but advocated market-based solutions like cap-and-trade or emissions taxes rather than rigid rules.

“But today’s conservative leaders were raised on Ayn Rand’s novels and Ronald Reagan’s speeches (as opposed to his actual governance, which was a lot more flexible than the legend). They insist that the rights of private property are absolute, and that government is always the problem, never the solution.”

Paul Krugman, “High Plains Moocher” article NY Times

There are three areas where a lack of qualifications or expertise seems to have no effect people’s capacity to comment: Education, Climate Change and Economics.

Now I’ve spent many years as a teacher. I know what’s involved and I’ve seen what’s happening on the ground. Teachers don’t always get it right. There are many practices which will, with the passing of time, be looked at in the same way we look at banning people from writing with their left hand, sacrificing animals to appease the gods or electing Christopher Pyne to Parliament. The most effective way to organise schools to maximise student learning is something that people have spent many millions of hours researching and thinking about, and it’s a process of continuous improvement. Of course, not all theories will stand the test of time and some of it will be trial and error, which is why schools are fairly slow to change, and, in spite of popular perception, many things haven’t changed in decades.

However, this doesn’t stop someone from expressing their views on education to me with all the confidence of the average football fan when talking about the moves the coach should have made.

“You know what’s wrong with education,” they’ll begin.

“I can probably name you four or five things without thinking,” I say, but they have no interest in what I think.

“Kids can’t read or write because they get away with far too much, when I was at school, if any kid had spoken back to a teacher, they’d have been taken behind the shed and beaten to a pulp.”

“Yes, but I don’t think…”

“And then everyone could read and write and add up without a calculator and there was none of this foundation maths, but these days none of these kids can write an essay. That’s because you don’t make ’em write essays any more!”

“Actually, most of my classes write at least one essay every…”

“But the trouble is that you can’t get teachers to listen. If we only taught kids to sound out words, we’d be a lot better off.”

“Phonics isn’t spelt with an ‘F’, you know.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Most spelling mistakes I come across is because kids are spelling things phonetically. And I’m still yet to find a primary teacher who says that it isn’t necessary to teach phonics as one of the strategies…”

“I saw this thing on ‘A Current Affair’ where they…”

“Excuse me, I just have to take this call. My phone is vibrating even though you can’t hear it…”

So when I talk about economics, I’m always concerned that I’ll say something that someone with greater expertise in the area will know to be a monumental blunder. But I can rest easy knowing it won’t be anybody in the current Federal Government, nor any of their supporters. Now, I have studied enough Economics to know that there are things I don’t know, so I’m not a victim of the Dunning Kruger effect, unlike many of the people who feel compelled to tell us that Australia has “no money” because Rudd and Gillard spent it all, and that if I quote anybody who explains why this is simplistic, it’s because the person I’m quoting is “bloody idiot lefty”, even if I’m quoting Milton Friedman.

But that’s also part of the real trouble about discussing economics. The people we read in the media, are just a small subset of economists and it often appears that there’s a general consensus about things that are in dispute, and that there’s a difference of opinion about things where there’s widespread agreement.

Generally, it’s agreed that while there’s a structural problem with the Budget, this needs to be fixed over the longer term, because severe austerity measures at the moment could risk plunging Australia into recession, which would, of course, lead to a reduction in revenue because of less company and personal income tax being paid, exascerbating the government’s problem of too little revenue.

So how do the Liberals propose to “fix” the Budget. Well, if you listen to their rhetoric, it’s really quite simple. At first, we were asked to believe that once they returned to government it would be “business as usual”. The Labor Government was an aberration, as was the GFC, and with the return of the adults, all would be well. Then, well, we needed to give them a few months to “fix Labor’s mess”. Well, not a few months, a couple of years. Oh, let’s say ten years, that’s a nice round number. That’s all they need to get things back to “normal”.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked out as simply as printing a “Real Solutions” pamphlet, where all you need do is say “We have a plan” or “We believe in Australia and we believe ‘there is no limit to what Australia can achieve’#” Unfortunately, for our “no surprises, no excuses” Liberals, Iron ore prices have dropped to levels not seen since well, 2010, but hey, Labor was in charge then and surely that had something to do with such “low” prices. After all, the Liberals didn’t ask much, they just factored in the iron ore price to continuing to rise, when it was already at historic highs. And while Whitney Houston may have thought that “children are our future”, the PM sees coal as more important, so we can rest easy knowing that this buried treasure will provide Australia’s needs for the twenty first century.

But now Hockey’s mantra seems to be that when things get “back to normal”, we’ll have full employment, growth will be strong again, interest rates will rise, but that’s a good thing because we’re not under a Labor government, and the Budget will be back in the black. And how is this going to happen? Well, by making the economy strong! And what’s the plan for doing that? Returning the Budget to surplus! And how’s that going to happen? By making the economy strong

I can see we may be here for a long time. So instead I’ll finish with a joke.

Have you heard the one about the government who pride themselves on strong borders who have taken the “skilled” out of the skilled migrant visa?

Well, I’ll let the Sydney Morning Herald tell you that one. Why should Joe Hockey have all the laughs?

#Anyone know why “there is no limit to what Australia can achieve” is in quotation marks on the Liberals’ Real Solutions document? No, I don’t either, I was hoping someone could enlighten me.

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Abbott’s first year: the media narrative

Since political journalists so love to talk about Labor Party narrative, I think it’s time we turned the tables and talked about mainstream media narratives instead. The one I would like to specifically discuss is the media’s recent coverage of the one-year milestone of the Abbott government. From what I have seen and heard so far, these are the mandatory ingredients of the media’s narrative marking this occasion, with the consistency of a wheel in a track. This review of the media narrative also, handily, becomes my critique of Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister. One stone, two dead birds and all that.

Acknowledging the kept promises

Abbott is given a big thumbs up for doing what all Prime Ministers were expected to do until he broke pretty much every promise he made during his first twelve months and Teflon-like changed the expectations that a Prime Minister shouldn’t lie. So on the three occasions that Abbott didn’t lie – promising to get rid of the Carbon Price and Mining Tax and stopping the boats, he gets a round of applause from the mainstream media.

This applause definitely does not include any critique of the effect these decisions will have on the community. Because discussion of policy outcomes is forbidden. All the journos need to know is that Abbott said he was going to get rid of the Carbon Price, the Mining Tax, and stop the boats and he’s done that, so big tick to Abbott! You’ll see no comment on the devastation that the demise of the Carbon Price, with no policy to replace it, will have on our environment, even though a study has already reveals that emissions went up immediately after the repeal. You’ll see no comment on the impact of the death of the Mining Tax on wealth inequality.

And has Abbott really stopped the boats if they’re still leaving Indonesia only to be turned around in secret military-like on-water operations that break international treaties and desperate people are sometimes sent back to the hell-hole they came from? One murdered asylum seeker and one death due to sub-standard third-world medical care and a damaged relationship with Indonesia doesn’t seem to me to be a successful policy. But if it kept a promise, it’s fine apparently.

However, if you cared to judge the Abbott government not on their ability to keep a promise, but on their ability to be humane and to work in the best interests of the community while keeping a promise, they have clearly failed. You won’t hear the media making this point.

Praise for Abbott’s response to Malaysian airlines disasters

It is clearly not hard to put some glasses on and to look sombre while you speak pre-prepared consolatory words about an airline tragedy. And let’s be honest people, if that’s Abbott at his pre-prepared best, then he’s at best a mediocre public speaker who should never have got anywhere near the top job and at worst a George. W. Bush-like moronic bumbling ah-ah-ah-ah embarrassment to this great nation.

So looking past what Abbott said, as he scheduled non-stop press conferences about plane disasters but wouldn’t talk about his failed budget, and focusing more on what he did, what did he actually do? He volunteered millions of dollars in Australian resources and never found Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, despite raising the victim’s family’s hopes unnecessarily and announcing in Parliament that the plane had been found when it hadn’t. He also volunteered Australian resources to help recover the bodies of victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 which, sorry to have to point this out, again raised the hopes of the victim’s families and again he failed to complete the mission, whilst also putting Australians in harm’s way.

Praise for Abbott’s Team Australia bullshit

Apparently it’s ‘statesmen like’ to rush to a war on terrorism. Talking about the merits of going to war for at least a few days before committing Australia to what could be an ongoing conflict in a country that still hasn’t recovered from the last time Australia rushed to help America and the UK wage a war, would to me, seem at least foolish, at worst criminal. But Abbott’s Team Australia khaki campaign, in aid of his personal polling, will no doubt be applauded by the press as long as it continues to help Abbott win the poll war. Because that’s how journalists judge the merits of a Prime Minister’s decisions – on their real or possible impact on polls. Didn’t you know?

Downplaying Abbott’s lies as ‘they’re not different from Gillard’s lie’

Even when journalists do bother to remind voters that Abbott’s first budget was based on a barrage of lies and broken promises, they always make sure to compare these lies to Gillard’s Carbon Price ‘lie’. A lie is something you know to be false when you say it. Gillard didn’t know she was going to have to make a deal with the Greens to form minority government when she said she had no intention of implementing a tax on carbon, and instead preferred an ETS. So if you believe Abbott is in the same boat as Gillard in saying no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no cuts to the ABC or SBS numerous times throughout the election campaign, and then immediately back flipping on all these promises because he was forced to by a change of circumstances, then where are the changed circumstances?

Abbott didn’t need to make deals in the lower house to put his budget together (although deals with the Palmer United Party over superannuation cuts in order to kill the mining tax are surely as close as Abbott has got to circumstance like Gillard’s Carbon Price policy). We could go on discussing the blatant differences between Abbott’s huge list of broken promises that culminated in the most unfair and cruel budget this country has ever seen to Gillard’s decision to introduce a Carbon Price.

But the biggest difference I would like to point out, which you never hear a journalist mention is a really simple one and also such a whopping big one that it’s hard to know how journalists can even look at these two situations without seeing the gulf of difference between them. Simply, Abbott’s lies made ordinary Australians worse off. They are bad policies on every single measure you care to measure them by and were ideological assaults based on the lie of a budget emergency. Gillard’s decision to bring in a Carbon Price, followed shortly thereafter by the policy she did say she wanted to bring in – an ETS – is good policy that is good for the environment and an important step in the international challenge to mitigate climate change. But journalists either don’t or can’t seem to see the difference between good policies and bad policies. Are they scared to judge a policy in case they appear partisan? What is the point of political journalism if not to inform the public on the merits of public policy? Seriously, what is the point? It’s a bad budget just because it’s bad. Full stop.

So there you have it. You’ll see this narrative over the next few days. Of course there will be, thankfully, examples of journalistic work that swims against this narrative, and good luck to those brave people. I know that one year into Abbott’s government, the one thing I am most sure about is that if a Labor government had behaved even a little bit like the Abbott government has in their contempt for the voting public, the mainstream media would have drawn and quartered Labor by now. The lack of contempt for the Abbott government from our media is, quite frankly, alarming.


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Just what is this ‘Team Australia’?

Once again, it seems, the Liberal party spin doctors are trying to cloud our minds and muddy the waters with yet another two or three word slogan. This time it is ‘Team Australia’.

As if we were not already dumbed down enough with the pathetic, ‘stop the boats’ and ‘axe the tax’ not to mention, ‘fix the budget’, here we are, once more, being ask to leave our basic intelligence and our common sense at the front door and enter this extraordinary world of the mystical, unquestioned, not to be doubted, dumb-arse quotes of the day.

This time it is ‘Team Australia’. Yet another lame-brain, mean nothing, distraction placed along our pathway for a compliant media to pick up and run with. It is done so that we will forget the incompetence thus far displayed, as well as the more pressing and relevant issues before us and expend our energy by ramping up intolerance, ignorance and sectarian fear mongering, something we have shown ourselves to be so good at and which can, so effectively, divide us.

So, before we become so overwhelmed with the IDEA of what ‘Team Australia’ is, perhaps we should all take a deep breath, step back and place this rather obsequious slogan under the microscope.

startsTrawling through the news feed on Facebook this morning I came across the, ‘Starts at Sixty’ page and an article headed, ‘Do You Agree With Tony Abbott on This One?’ The article then goes on to describe one woman’s experience living in a Middle Eastern country for an undisclosed period of time. This is part of what this otherwise unidentified woman wrote:

“While I was living there, everything I did and said had to be done their way. I had to dress like they did, I wasn’t allowed to swim at the beaches or lakes, I wasn’t allowed to speak or make eye contact unless it was culturally appropriate to do so. Safe to say, living there was incredibly different from what it is while I was in Australia. And, I was OK with that. I was in their country, so I was happy to live as they did.”

I am not going to suggest that this was a deliberate plant by ‘Team Liberal’ although it certainly smells like it. But, one only has to read the comments that the article has generated to see that it has had the desired effect. The responses are predominantly a cross section of the crass sectarian, if not racial, intolerance our nation experienced back in 2001 when John Howard so cleverly manipulated the Australian psyche with Tampa.

So far, there have been several hundred comments on the Facebook page. The majority of those I have read seem to be under the impression that if one lives in a Middle Eastern country and must conform to their way of life, then that means those who come to this country must therefore necessarily conform to ours. What the respondents are therefore saying is that WE are no better than THEM.

While thankfully, there are a handful of respondents who have posted rational counter arguments and warn of the danger implied in Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’, such a chant has the possibility of going viral and igniting yet another hate campaign that ends up dividing the country on a spurious issue that masks the more disgraceful things that the present government is doing and wants to do.

We have always celebrated diversity. We have always encouraged multiculturalism. What is it that we fear? More importantly, who is driving this anti-Middle Eastern rhetoric? What did Tony Abbott mean when he said, “You don’t migrate to this country unless you want to join Team Australia.” What is ‘Team Australia”?

The unidentified author of the article wrote, “When I was over there, I lived as they did, but when they live here, if we ask them to adopt our practices or do their best to integrate into our lifestyle, we are deemed as being racist.”

What utter rubbish.

What practices do we ask them to adopt here? What lifestyle is the author referring to? Do we expect that they change their diet and eat our food? Should they all renounce Islam and become Christian or Atheist? Should they all forget their language and speak only English? What is it precisely that we should expect of them?

I cannot help but feel that there are elements out there, mostly on the highly conservative side of politics that have begun another round of fear mongering that manifests itself in demonising anyone who is different. This convinces me that a dark undercurrent of intolerance and bigotry within our country has been targeted and that the process of appealing to the lowest common denominator in humanity has begun and is on the rise once again. It goes by many names, easily recognised for its nationalistic spirit, like ‘Team Australia’.

It worked for John Howard and one can be certain that if we are not careful, it can work again. We can stop it by demanding to know just what such catch-calls like, ‘Team Australia’ actually mean and what are its objectives.


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Team Australia, The Right Wing and If We’re Not Careful There’ll Be Nothing Left.

“There have been a number of Catholic priests charged with sexual offences over the past few years. I think that it’s up to prominent Catholics to speak up and condemn them. In fact, I think we should change the onus of proof. If any Catholics travel to Ireland, then they should be presumed to be a member of the IRA, unless they can prove they weren’t.”

Yep, this wasn’t about pissing off Catholics. I’m sure that there are many good Catholics out there who neither support child sex abuse nor the IRA…

Gee, I can’t understand why anyone would think that I’m being hostile to Catholics. I’m just trying to get everyone on Team Australia. I mean, make up your mind. To whom do you owe your allegiance, the Pope or Australia?

You’re right. I shouldn’t be lumping all Catholics in one bag. Nor blaming them for what some Catholics have done. I shouldn’t even blame them for Tony Abbott.

But somehow it’s ok to talk about Muslims like this. We should somehow presume that they are all recent arrivals who want to impose Sharia Law.

(Whereas Christian fundamentalists who want to impose similar restraints on things like “homosexual behaviour”, abortion, alcohol, dancing and face-painting are part of our rich tapestry of life and part of a democracy. Heaven help us if Cory Bernardi ever realises how much he has in common with the Taliban! Ok, I know that Cory believes that heaven will help him. Strange that fundamentalists believe that when things happen to their enemies it’s the will of God, but when bad things happen to them, it’s because of bad people following Satan.)

Q: Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up?

A: Because it might lead to dancing!

Yes, I know. I should stop at this point and go to something less offensive…

From the sports desk:

Thanks, Rossleigh. Team Australia is currently having trouble scoring because the newly elected coach doesn’t believe that left wingers have any role to play in the team. Unfortunately, in the recent game this lead to several of his first picks playing so far on the right wing that they were outside the field of play.

George, for example, argued that people who’d been suspended had as much right as anyone to have the ball passed to them. As a tactic, this proved ineffective as they had a tendency not to give it back, even after the referee had declared them out of bounds.

Eric complained that he was merely passing the ball back to the goal-keeper and that his own goal was really a good thing because – after all – he was interrupted before he got a chance to tell the goalkeeper to stop the ball.

Joe – the goalkeeper – claimed that he clearly touched the ball, and later produced a replay to verify his claim. He later apologised saying that he was a little confused about what game he was actually playing, before later saying that he doesn’t play games, not even Rugby at Uni where Abbott is alleged to have hit him in a game that he wasn’t playing in at a University he was alleged to have attended.

Malcolm was brought as sub when it was clear that George didn’t understand the basics of what to say to the media. Malcolm who has mastered the “Yeah, Nah, Well, It’s a Team Game… And I’d just like to thank the boys for keeping me on the team. I had my turn as Captain and clearly I’m right behind whatever it is we’re doing but I’m a bit tired at the moment and I just want to go into the team meeting and say things I’m not prepared to say in public, so unless you can get someone to leak them…Sorry, I’m being called in for the meeting. Catch you at the pub later…”

Christopher has been left sitting on the pine for several weeks, since that unfortunate incident where he ran on to the field only to discover a puddle. Christopher is out his depth in a puddle.

Team Australia Captain, Tony has said that he’s looking forward to returning for the game against Scotland. However, given we’re not actually playing Scotland there was some concern that he hasn’t actually recovered from a recent head clash. Or indeed, any of his head clashes.


Let’s cut back to an interview with the head of the Islamic state. Tom Elliot doesn’t have an update. Ah, that’s the trouble with the Left – they expect the Right to drop something just because it doesn’t have any evidence to back it up.

Not even going to talk about John Elliot’s acquittal for his charges back in the 90s here. Or as was said at the time by someone. “He was proven innocent”

But that’s not the way courts work. We have a presumption of innocence. John Elliot was never proven innocent of the charges he faced. He didn’t need to be. He had the presumption of innocence.

I don’t think that he – or anyone else who’d been charged – would like to have to prove themselves innocent. I think that it would be difficult. And a potential miscarriage of justice.

Every day, I hear that we’re going to change the onus of proof. People travelling will have to prove that they’re not terrorists. “Criminals” will have to prove that their house hasn’t been bought with the proceeds of crime.

But I don’t ever hear that politicians will have to prove that donations didn’t affect their decisions. Nor – apart from Peter Slipper – that their travel allowance wasn’t an honest mistake!

Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’ has a tinge of Howard about it

“‘Don’t migrate to Australia unless you want to join “Team Australia”’, declared our chest-beating Prime Minister. “Everyone has got to be on team Australia,” he carried on.

Now I really don’t know what ‘Team Australia’ is. I suspect it is nothing more than a slogan aimed at stirring up patriotism. And/or votes.

Either way, I don’t like it.

It reminds me of John Howard’s famous (and stunningly racist) comment that “we will decide who comes to this country …” – which he used rather effectively to set up his 2001 election win.

Tony Abbott appears, on the surface, to be channeling John Howard. What might he have on the agenda?

Let us be reminded of what Howard’s was. It might tell us something.

In 2007, as the then Prime Minister, Howard officially scrapped multiculturalism. Need I say more?

In 2012, more willing to embrace a multicultural Australia the Gillard minority government established a Joint Standing Committee on Migration. Some of the key issues addressed were: the role of multiculturalism in the Government’s social inclusion agenda; the effectiveness of settlement programs for new migrants, including refugees; how Australia could better utilise the skills of migrants; and incentives to encourage small business development.

Focusing on the economic, social and cultural impacts of migration in Australia, the Committee made further recommendations to maximise the positive effects of migration.

Initially, the inquiry was commissioned to examine and report on:

Multiculturalism, social inclusion and globalisation
  • The role of multiculturalism in the Federal Government’s social inclusion agenda; and
  • The contribution of diaspora communities to Australia’s relationships with Europe, the UK, Middle East and the immediate Asia-Pacific Region.
Settlement and participation
  • Innovative ideas for settlement programs for new migrants, including refugees, that support their full participation and integration into the broader Australian society; and
  • Incentives to promote long term settlement patterns that achieve greater social and economic benefits for Australian society as a whole.
National productive capacity
  • The role migration has played and contributes to building Australia’s long term productive capacity;
  • The profile of skilled migration to Australia and the extent to which Australia is fully utilising the skills of all migrants; and
  • Potential government initiatives to better assist migrant communities establish business enterprises.

Not surprisingly, this appears to have been scrapped. Well, the link is dead, so I can only assume it’s been scrapped. Can I also thus assume that Abbott has it somewhere in his agenda to follow Howard and also attempt to scrap multiculturalism?

I certainly hope not, but I fear that he will. The fictitious ‘Team Australia’ and what it is trying to represent has that distinct smell about it.

I quite like a multicultural Australia.

With over 6 million immigrants since the end of WWII, we have one of the most successful culturally diverse societies in the world. The Inquiry into Multiculturalism in Australia provided a framework for strengthening community harmony and promoting the economic, cultural and social benefits of Australia’s cultural diversity for all Australians. Australian multiculturalism also embraces the heritage of Indigenous Australians, early European settlement, our home-grown customs and traditions and the experiences of new migrants coming to this country, and promotes mutual respect and equality, aiming to enhance social cohesion.

Our multicultural policies have also affirmed that all Australians have the opportunity to be active and equal participants in society, and are free to maintain their religious and cultural traditions within Australian law. There are other benefits of multiculturalism for Australia – we are not only considerably richer in experiences, but we enjoy much closer economic and social links with other nations as a direct result of our diverse multicultural population.

John Howard didn’t like it that way, and Tony Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’ has a tinge of Howard about it.

I wrote recently that the Abbott Government has been a very easy one to predict. I could be right again.


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