1. We need to talk about Kevin
Ambigulous already has.
Malcolm Turnbull, in a captain’s pick after cabinet couldn’t agree has seen fit not to nominate Kevin Rudd for the top job at the UN, as the Hawke Government supported Malcolm Fraser for the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth, or the Howard Government supported Gareth Evans to be head of UNESCO.
The first thing you need to know is that Rudd says he was repeatedly assured by Turnbull that Turnbull would support him.
Turnbull’s word is worthless and he is entirely beholden to the most reactionary elements of the LNP.
Personally I think Rudd was a reforming PM who achieved a great deal, but his management style was bad enough to justify tipping him out of the job. With the wisdom of hindsight that should have been done after the 2010 election, which I think he would have won.
So personally I wasn’t rooting for him. Two things caused me pause. One is I heard Professor Ramesh Thakur from the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU and former UN assistant secretary-general say on NewsRadio that Rudd was highly regarded internationally, and that it would be “extraordinary”, petty and parochial for us not to put his name forward as a “credible” candidate.
Secondly, I think Julie Bishop’s support means something. I’ve come to respect her more than most in her job. I don’t think Turnbull himself has the international experience yet to make an assessment.
Here’s what Prof Thakur said about Rudd’s candidature and the whole process on July 20.
Peter Hartcher says they thought they were making a decision about Kevin Rudd, but they were mistaken, they were making a decision about themselves, and they flunked it.
Mark Kenny has the story.
Kim Beazley supported Turnbull, saying we should be campaigning for a woman.
Kristina Keneally described Kevin Rudd as as a ‘psychopathic narcissist’, suggesting her dog would make a better candidate for the UN secretary-general.
She may have thought so but she diminished herself by saying it.
Michelle Grattan says it was character assassination by silence, unacceptable, makes us look whacky and shows Turnnbull in thrall to the tribal right.
Mark Beeson, Professor of International Politics, University of Western Australia, thought Rudd was worth a punt, might have actually achieved something in the job, and should have been supported. Turnbull chose to look churlish on the international stage rather than stare down some of the recalcitrants in his own party,
Personally I like Helen Clark, but her seven-year stint at the UN Development program was not all sweetness and light.
2. ACCC chief slams privatisation
To use his term, he gave it an “uppercut”.
After 30 years of supporting privatisation because of its efficiency, ACCC chief has come to the conclusion that it harms the economy. He said:
- Selling public assets has created unregulated monopolies that hurt productivity and damage the economy…
- In a blistering attack on decades of common government practice, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said the sale of ports and electricity infrastructure and the opening of vocational education to private companies had caused him and the public to lose faith in privatisation and deregulation.
- Mr Sims said he was growing “exasperated” as governments including the Commonwealth became more explicit in trying to maximise proceeds from asset sales.
American reporter Ann Jones gave up on the futility of reporting truths about America’s disastrous wars, and so she left Afghanistan for another mountainous country – Norway – where she lived a pleasant and relaxed life for four years. Thinking she should settle down she returned to America.
- It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome.
The US seemed backward to her.
In Norway people worked 37 hours a week in a job they enjoyed and spent the rest of the time enjoying life.
She found that not even Bernie Sanders seemed to understand how the economy worked. Sanders was against the public ownership of the means of production, but the Norwegian government owns lots of public assets and is the major stockholder in many vital private enterprises. They also have plenty private start-ups.
Perhaps Rod Sims should take a look and tell us what he thinks.
4. Mojgan Shamsalipoor and Peter Dutton’s cold, cold heart
Australian Story this week told the story of Iranian asylum seeker Mojgan Shamsalipoor (outline here) who doesn’t fit the rules because the persecution was not political or religious, it was from family members. She was raped by her step-father and then forced to marry a 60-year old. Her mother paid for her to come here with her brother, where she married the son of an Iranian refugee. Both attended Yeronga High School in Brisbane.
Apparently if you marry an Australian you have to go back to where you came from, apply from there, and then there is no guarantee.
Her expectation is that she would be tortured and probably killed if she returned to Iran, the more so because she and her husband are of the Bahá’í faith.
Seems the Australian Government has locked up all the Iranian asylum seekers while it tries to negotiate an agreement with Iran to send them back.
5. Australia’s shame at Don Dale
You’d have to be under a rock not to have heard about the brutish treatment handed out to kids under detention at NT’s Don Dale detention centre, revealed in a Four Corners report.
You might not know that the NT Government is suing the abused boys for damage caused in an escape attempt.
Also, leading NT Aboriginal organisations are more than upset, they are furious about lack of consultation and involvement in the Royal Commission. They see it as compromised from the start.
They are particularly upset about the appointment of former NT Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Martin to head the probe. They see him as not independent, and I think part of the problem.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.