Shock as Aussie athletes forced to hand back Olympic medals.

EXCLUSIVE: Australian athletes and fans have reacted with horror to news that all Tokyo 2020 medal winners must surrender their medals to Gina Rinehart.

Athletes will present their gold, silver or bronze medals to Rinehart’s representatives upon returning to Australia, according to a statement from Hancock Prospecting, Rinehart’s family company.

“Gina Rinehart owns the Australian Olympic team,” began the statement from Hancock Prospecting.

“She also owns all of the metal on Australian land, whether it be in the ground or out of the ground, or even in the form of an Olympic medal. Gold, silver and bronze are all mined in Australia in some form, and Ms Rinehart consequently and rightly claimed ownership of all such metals returning to Australia from Tokyo.”

It is believed the medals will all be melted down to base metals before being exported in this form throughout the world. Depending on the number of medals Australia wins, one gold, silver and bronze medal may be salvaged for display at Hancock Prospecting headquarters.

It is also believed that this was the motivation behind Rinehart’s support of Australian sport. She is possibly the largest individual donor to Olympic sport in Australian history and heavily supports sports such as Swimming and Rowing in which Australia nearly always wins Olympic medals.

Rinehart has swamped Channel 7 with commercials during the official coverage of the Tokyo Olympic Games in order to remind Australians of the influence she wields over sport and the nation in general. The ads boast of the company’s sponsorship of many Australian sporting teams and they align the company with Australia’s consistently high ranking in international sport. They fail to align the company with Australia’s consistently high ranking in environmental destruction and its contribution to the climate crisis.

Australia has the world’s highest per capita carbon footprint, some of the world’s worst rates of land clearing and has some of the world’s highest rates of carbon emissions, due largely to Rinehart’s core businesses of mining and agriculture.

Fans have rushed to social media to condemn Rinehart’s actions, labelling them heartless, greedy and UnAustralian. Many Aussies have also called on the Australian government to protect the nation’s sporting heroes, to which Rinehart’s spokesperson replied:

“Gina owns the LNP.”

Politicians such as Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan, Angus Taylor, Keith Pitt and Scott Morrison usually jump at the opportunity to piggy-back on Australian sporting success, but have not commented on the issue.

Rinehart’s spokesperson also said:

“Stealing Olympic medals from Aussie athletes is not UnAustralian. The fact that 83% of Australia’s mining industry is foreign owned, now that’s UnAustralian.”

Three superpowers in three weeks.

The Australian government has managed to upset three superpowers in the space of three weeks. Comments from the prime minister and senior minsters or staff have provoked negative responses from China, India and the United States, and the results could be very harmful to Australia.

China.

The threat of war. Senior government figures provoked China with comments about imminent armed conflict. Former Liberal minister Christopher Pyne, Senator Jim Molan, Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo, and even Defence Minister Peter Dutton made comments suggesting Australia is already, or will soon be, engaged in some form of direct conflict with China. In contrast, an article by Ewen Levick appeared in Australian Defence Magazine in March this year entitled:

War with China is not inevitable.

Average Aussies don’t know who to believe. They also might not understand the true motivation behind the comments, but China does, and Australia’s largest trading partner has already responded the best way it knows how – economically.

India

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australian citizens attempting to return to Australia from the COVID-19 hotspot of India could be issued massive fines or sent to jail. Many Australian citizens were born in India, have family in India and hold dual citizenship between the two countries. Australian citizens have access to Australia’s health system, and could be treated in Australia after completing mandatory quarantine, but they are being forced to remain in a country in the middle of a crisis, and are placing more pressure on India’s overburdened health system. This has not just angered Aussies in India and back home, but upset the government of India, which is battling to bring the crisis under control.

The United States

The Australian government set itself at odds with The USA when it refused to follow plans to reduce carbon emissions and protect the natural environment. New US president Joe Biden has publicly stated an ambition to actively reduce carbon emissions in the US in the near future, but Australia has refused to match these efforts. One specific policy which will harm Australia is the carbon tariff. The tariff, or fee, will be imposed on any goods being imported into the United States which have not been produced using more environmentally-friendly methods. Goods that are produced using fossil fuels will thus be worth less, and those businesses will lose money. The European Union is proposing a similar plan.

Ironically, this will adversely affect traditional Coalition voters, whose businesses will suffer due to the tariffs. Australia, rightly or wrongly, has a very close relationships with the United States, and cannot afford to alienate the superpower.

Upsetting other nations is inevitable in international diplomacy. Upsetting other nations is also justified if those nations are acting in a way that clearly contravenes the interests or the accepted values of the nation making the comments. China, for example, needs to be called out for its actions in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang. In this case, however, the comments are calculated, but careless, and are deliberately designed to appease specific sectors of the Australian population.

China. Anti-China comments appeal to the racists. Australia is a racist country, and anti-Chinese racism has existed since the gold rush in the 1860s. The Liberal National Party coalition taps into this anti-China sentiment because it is dependant on the votes of the country’s racist underbelly. Warning Australians of the threat of war is also a convenient way to justify enormous spending on defence, and observant commentators noticed that the comments were made close to ANZAC Day, which commemorates fallen Aussie soldiers and is the nation’s most sacred day. Ironically, however, the public comments about China have adversely affected trade with China and this severely disadvantages Australian producers of beef, wheat and wine, who would normally vote for the Coalition.

The USA. The prime minister rejected the US proposal in order to appease the fossil fuel industry. Australians are now cognisant that the fossil fuel industry owns the Coalition.

India. Racism, or damage control? Threatening to imprison Australian citizens returning from an Asian country is clearly racist, but the proposal could also be an attempt to save face. COVID-19 quarantine is ultimately a federal government responsibility in Australia, and it has been handled very poorly. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been even worse. Many Australians are staring to see through the government’s COVID-19 publicity stunts, so the threat to fine or imprison citizens could be an attempt to appear tough and decisive on border control and biosecurity.

Some of the Australians trapped in India have no Indian heritage. They are cricketers, chasing big money in the lucrative Indian cricket competition. A few of the cricketers have criticised the government’s stance. Will the words of some Aussie sports heroes be enough to the change the government’s stance?

For a government that is nothing but publicity, photo opportunities and marketing, this is a massive public relations faux pas. Will it persuade Australians to stop voting for the Coalition at upcoming elections?

Image: Aditya Joshi

Australia withdraws from Eurovision Song Contest.

Fans of Australian music are distraught after waking to the news that the country will no longer participate in the enormously popular Eurovision Song Contest. The country’s nominated contestant, Montaigne, has been officially withdrawn from the 2021 edition, and the government has steadfastly refused to sanction the participation of any other singer in the international extravaganza at any time in the future.

In the face of scathing criticism across social media platforms, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, justified his government’s shock decision.

“Australia contributes so little to the overall voting tally of the Eurovision Song Contest every year that there is no point us taking part. We have never won the event so we should leave it to countries who have won the event and who collect more votes to take responsibility for the survival of the competition.”

Average Australians and music devotees slammed these comments.

“The Australian government is blatantly ignoring the evidence,” claimed one outraged fan. “Dami Im finished second in 2016 and we’ve had three more top 10 finishes – look at the facts Minister!”

Other comments were just as negative:

“We may have a smaller population, but we actually got a lot more votes than bigger nations…open your eyes Fletcher!”

“Absolute disgrace – makes me ashamed to be an Aussie”

” gov totally out of touch with Aussies. They must go!”

“Lame excuse. Lame decision. Lame govt”

“Wake up to the modern world – or get out of government”

Experts also fear that if Australia does not embrace the contest, it will become an international pariah and that this could impact negatively on so many aspects of daily life in the country.

Minister Fletcher thanked the organisers of the event for inviting Australia into the competition in 2015, but explained that the land Down Under no longer shared the values of the majority of European nations.

“Most of these countries are transitioning to modern technology with a whole host of new devices which can create and share music, but we in Australia will continue to rely on devices like cassette tapes and CD players.”

“We will not be pressured by outsiders, or even by citizens in our own country, to embrace any of this new technology – nor will be brainwashed into thinking that this technology represents the future. Even if Australia is the only country in the world using cassette tapes in the near future – we will continue to use cassette tapes.”

Minister Fletcher also explained that the decision supported his party’s policy of allocating only minimal funding to Arts and Entertainment.

“We believe this money could be better spent on a CD deck in a mining truck, or a juke box in the break room of a coal seam gas site.”

Image:www.eurovisionworld.com

Australia withdraws from the Olympic Games.

EXCLUSIVE: The Australian government has informed the Australian Olympic Committee that the nation has officially withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and will not compete in any future Olympic events.

The announcement was lost among media reporting on the current aged care debacle and the COVID-19 pandemic, but was made via a brief press release from the Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck.

“Australia contributes to such a small percentage of the overall medal tally at the Olympic Games that our efforts make no real difference to the event,” said Senator Colbeck.

“In Rio, our total medal haul did not even contribute 10% to the overall medal tally, and pales into insignificance compared to the big medal winners such as China and the USA. We won only 8 gold medals in Rio and we win even less at Winter games.”

“The simple, undeniable fact is that Australia’s population is, and always will be, too small to make any real impact on the medal tally at international multi-sport competitions, so we should stop trying to change the situation and cease to participate.”

As a result, Australian athletes will no longer be able to compete under the national banner in summer or winter games, paralympic competitions or even the Youth Olympic Games.

The Australian government apparently made the decision after failing to persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow ‘carry over medals’. Carry over medals are medals won at a previous Olympic competition which count towards a country’s medal tally at a subsequent Olympics.

Australia lobbied for medals such as Mack Horton’s gold in the 400m freestyle at Rio in 2016 to count towards its overall tally at the Tokyo games (scheduled to take place in 2021). This is despite the fact that a number of Rio medallists, including cyclist Anna Meares, have retired from their sport altogether.

“Australia needs carry over medals to meet its future Olympic medal targets,” argued Senator Colbeck.

The country’s fierce lobbying for the new rule won some support from nations such as India and Brazil, but eventually positioned Australia as a pariah in the international arena. This prompted the government’s decision to divorce itself entirely from the Olympic family.

As to how the Australian public will react, it is not yet known. It is hard to imagine that such a sports mad nation, which hosted the games in 2000, will accept such a decision. That said, they did re-elect a prime minister who famously carried a lump of coal into parliament in support of the fossil fuel industry.

Senator Colbeck also alluded to the young Australians who will now be denied a healthy, prosperous, optimistic future.

“They are young, fit, dedicated and patriotic, so we’ll put them all in the army,” he explained.

Australia kills the Winter Olympic Games.

The Winter Olympic Games will cease after 2022 as Australia’s rising carbon emissions rid the world of snow.

Australia has the world’s largest per-capita carbon emissions and is contributing massively to the climate crisis which is melting the snow and ice on which winter sports take place.

Australia’s carbon emissions come primarily from the fossil fuel industry and agriculture, and from the current Liberal National Party (LNP) which is a strong supporter of the fossil fuel industry and traditional agricultural methods.

The nation’s leaders showed little regard for the consequences of their policies, however.

“Why should Australia care about the Winter Olympics, we contribute to such a small percentage of the overall medal tally that it doesn’t matter to us if the games go ahead,” stated a spokesperson for the government of Australia.

“We’ve only ever won five gold medals, and one of those because all of the other skaters fell over.”

The current prime minister, Scott Morrison, famously took a lump of coal into parliament question time in support of coal mining, and Morrison won the 2019 federal election in which the climate crisis was a central issue. More than 50% of the voting public re-elected the party which supports the fossil fuel industry.

Australia’s overall carbon emissions have actually risen in recent years, and extreme weather events such as drought and bush fires are becoming worse. Furthermore, the government recently established the National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board to chart Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic, and instead of appointing members from a cross-section of the community, filled it largely with representatives from the fossil fuel industry who are campaigning to have taxpayers fund more projects in the coal and gas sector.

In recent years, the LNP has responded to criticism of its carbon footprint by arguing that Australia contributes so little to the total world emissions that taking action to reduce emissions is pointless.

The NSW state government, also LNP, recently approved the opening of new coal mines under Sydney’s water catchment, hoping to not only destroy the Winter Olympics, but to also destroy the water which Sydneysiders drink.

Winter sports athletes and those who work in the sector have been denied the right to speak about the issue, but the government assured them their futures are secure despite killing off their livelihood.

“They can always get a job down a mine.”

Image: Alex Lange