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

Peter Dutton declares themself gender neutral in time for Mardi Gras.

Peter Dutton has shocked voters and conservative colleagues with the news that they is gender neutral. Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs declared that their alter ego, Potato Head, has come out as gender neutral in the midst of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Mr Dutton will now be known as Dutton, or Potato Head, and has asked the media and party speechwriters to refer to them in gender neutral terms.

“I am declaring myself gender neutral,” announced Dutton at a press conference.

“Every year I feel like less of a man, especially after entering politics and overseeing the policies of Home Affairs. For that reason, myself and my alter ego, Potato Head, will now be known as gender neutral.”

“I have deliberated over this decision for a long time, but with Mardi Gras around the corner, and various political scandals involving my name, I decided it was a good idea to circulate this story in the media.”

It is not yet known whether Kirilly Dutton will retain her title of Mrs Potato Head, or also come out as gender neutral.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has also shocked Australians with his public support for Potato Head. He was expected to denounce the move on religious grounds, but said he consulted his wife Jenny before embracing the change.

“Now that Peter is no longer a man, they is better able to empathise with women, especially the four who have accused one of our party members of sexual assault just 50 metres from my office.”

Mardi Gras organisers rushed to congratulate Dutton and to invite participants to create a new ‘Potato Head’ float for the famous parade.

“We are overjoyed at the news that one of our most senior politicians has found the confidence and courage to declare themselves gender neutral. Being true to oneself and being proud of one’s identity are central to the founding philosophy of Mardi Gras, and we welcome Peter into our family. It would be wonderful to see Peter dancing on top of a float, beside a life-size model of the newly-outed Potato Head”

Mardi Gras organisers have extended an invitation to the minister to attend part of the weeks-long festival, including the street parade on the evening of Saturday, March 6.

“Obviously Dutton is a very busy person, but hopefully they can find time to party among friends. Maybe they could fly to Sydney for a day or two – we know they can affords the flights.”

Many Australians wondered how gender neutrality could be claimed at all by a creature that is not human, while cynics have pointed out that the decision was simply an attempt to revive interest in an increasingly unpopular, irrelevant and outdated character.

Dutton rejected those claims.

“That is an outrageous and offensive slander,” they replied.

“Myself and my party have a proven record of progressive social policies, especially in regards to gender and sexuality. One only needs to examine our response to the same-sex marriage debate and the treatment of women in parliament and society in general, to see that the LNP is and always has been a proud supporter of gender equality and inclusion.”

They then added,

“The LNP does not do cheap publicity stunts.”

Image: http://www.smh.com.au

Scott Morrison gives one family a $30m Christmas present.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, has surprised a family of four with a Christmas present of $30m. Morrison offered the gift to the Murugappan family as well as granting them asylum in Australia after holding them in immigration detention for more than 1000 days. The Christmas blessing will see Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharunicaa return to Biloela immediately with Australian residency.

Morrison claims he made the decision to exercise his executive powers after communicating with God during a religious experience at the Horizon Church in the Sutherland Shire.

“It was during the second rousing rock song that God spoke to me,” explained Morrison, before recounting the divine conversation.

“G’day Scotty”

“G’day mate”

“Hey, what about freeing that family on Christmas Island?”

“Oooh, I don’t know about that mate, it’s a big call. A lot of Aussie racists won’t be happy, and don’t forget who voted me in at the last election.”

“Yeah, but it’s Christmas, and remember all of those teachings that my son imparted to Christians like you, about morality, compassion, forgiveness and helping the less fortunate…”

“Yeah, what about them?”

“Well, what about you put them into practice?”

“Huh?”

“Apply the teachings in a practical way and free the family, let them go back to Biloela.”

“Ummm, sorry mate, I’m still trying to get my head around what you just said – applying the teachings of the church in a practical way…that’s news to me”

“Yes, but that was the original intention of the teachings”

“Hang on, I love this part of the song…(Morrison sings a few lines). How good…yeah, go on”

“Well, I recommend you free the family and let them go back to Bilo”

“Back to Bilo – I don’t like the policy, but I do love the slogan – great ring to it. Back to Bilo, Back to Bilo…”

“And all that money, you could give to the family, to help them set up a new life.”

“The $30m, but that’s a lot of money, plus I was gonna give that to Foxtel.”

“Well, Rupert will have to wait – let me have a word to him. Anyway, I strongly recommend you apply the underlying principles of your Christian faith and free the family in detention, and do it in time for Christmas”

“Yeah, righto mate – but only for you”

“You’re a great bloke Scotty”

“I know”

Morrison then explained that after deliberation with colleagues such as Peter Dutton, and after discussing it with Jen and the girls, he made the decision to free the family and reward them with a substantial yuletide gift.

“It’s great PR too, isn’t it,” said the man dubbed Scotty from Marketing, “you know, Christmas Island and a Christmas present, I thought of that myself, how good is that!”

Image: Chad Madden

I Spy…

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ‘A'”

“Australia”

“Yes, it’s something in Australia, but be more specific.”

“Australian animals”

“No”

“Angophoras”

“No”

“Asylum seekers”

“No”

“Androids and Apples”

“No”

“AAP”

“AAP?”

“Yeah, Australian Associated Press, the news service providing objective, balanced news to media networks in Australia and overseas.”

“No”

“ABC”

“Your ABC?”

“That’s the one.”

“No”

“Activists”

“No”

“Activism?”

“No”

“Anti-Adani laws”

“No”

“Aged care residents”

“No”

“Altruists”

“No”

“Atheism”

“No”

“Academia”

“No”

“Academics?”

“No”

“Artists”

“No”

“This is really hard.”

“Keep trying. You’re close. It’s related to all of the guesses you’ve had so far.”

“I know, AUTHORITARIANISM”

“YES”

Image: http://www.smh.com.au