1. Jacinda Adern stars as PM
And just a top human being.
Ambigulous drew our attention to the New York Times editorial America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern largely repeated in the NZ Herald.
Eleanor Ainge Roy at The Guardian has an excellent piece, ‘Real leaders do exist’: Jacinda Ardern uses solace and steel to guide a broken nation:
- Walking hand in hand with those affected, Ardern’s focus was on grieving and commiserating with the affected community. The alleged killer Brenton Tarrant was not representative of New Zealanders’ values and beliefs, she said. Quite simply he was: “Not us”.
“The everyday discourse in New Zealand since the attacks hasn’t been one of hate and anger, it’s been we can do this, we can heal, we can come through this,” says Professor Jennifer Curtin, director of the Public Policy Institute at Auckland University.
“She has shown a quiet, strong leadership, and been very focused on looking after the people who are most affected straight away. The killer has barely been mentioned.”
- Paul Buchanan, a security expert for 36th Parallel, says Ardern’s strength was her empathy, and she has “excelled” in this arena during a time of crisis. She is also an expert delegator, Buchanan says, and has delegated security reviews and inquiries about how the killer was missed to senior, trusted colleagues, allowing her to focus on healing a traumatised country.
“She is like the mother of the nation. When it comes to events like this I think her touch is near perfect,” says Buchanan.
My feeling has been that politics is largely broken because we lack good politicians. Her Wikipedia entry shows she grew up in small-town New Zealand, her father a police officer, her mother a school catering assistant. She graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) in politics and public relations, then worked for Labour in NZ and Blair’s government, fitting in time as soup kitchen volunteer in New York. Then:
- In early 2008, Ardern was elected as the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth, a role which saw her spend time in several countries, including Jordan, Israel, Algeria and China.
In Book extract: What matters most to Jacinda Ardern she says that empathy and kindness matter most to her. She sees them as tools that can drive social change rather than just sentiments.
“Kindness” is the word she relates to most, and happiness is fixing problems for people:
- Particularly when I see people unexpectedly responding to need around them, I am reminded that we haven’t all forgotten that we are connected as a community. Imagine a country in which everyone is earning, learning, caring or volunteering. That’s the kind of place that breeds happiness.
Ardern has described herself as a social democrat, a progressive, a republican and a feminist, citing Helen Clark as a political hero, and has called capitalism a “blatant failure” due to the extent of homelessness in New Zealand.
- On social issues, Ardern voted in favour of same-sex marriage and believes abortion should be removed from the Crimes Act. She is opposed to criminalising people who use cannabis and has pledged to hold a referendum on whether or not to legalise cannabis in her first term as prime minister. In 2018, she became the first prime minister of New Zealand to march in a gay pride parade.
Meanwhile, there are articles aplenty on the Christchurch Mosque shootings at The Conversation and everywhere.
2. Australian politicians come up short.
The deadly attack in Christchurch put a jolt through our psyche, but Laura Tingle in Scott Morrison said all the right things after Christchurch attack, but his history tells another story believes our leadership has come up short.
- On Monday, the Prime Minister called for an end to tribalism: a welcome development which would have been more potent if his side of politics had not made it their standard modus operandi in the past 25 years.
We have to learn to disagree better, Scott Morrison said. Also true.
And it is true that the tribalism, whoever started it, has become too endemic across our political spectrum.
But if you are really trying to stop it, you don’t immediately respond to someone else attacking you with dodgy moral equivalence that begins in sentences like “I’m not going to be lectured by a party that…..”, rather than acknowledging possible fault, or at least arguing your own position rather than simply attacking the other side.
And you don’t, just now, try to find the positive side to a politician who refers to Islam as a disease.
Tingle was, of course, referring to One Nation.
On the other side:
- Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had responded to the Prime Minister’s call for an end to tribalism with his own call for an end to “dog whistling by political leaders about immigration and asylum seekers” and for the major parties to “form a ring, a bond” to stop “the crazy extremists from getting oxygen, both by our commentary and by our preferences at the next election”.
Putting that into practice, Mr Shorten said Labor would put Pauline Hanson, or Senator Fraser Anning, last on all its “how to vote” cards.
As Amy Remeikis reports at The Guardian Scott Morrison won’t say if Pauline Hanson is racist, rather emphasising that the Coalition has worked with One Nation leader on ‘a lot of important issues’, choosing to accept that Pauline Hanson has extreme views on certain topics.
The Saturday Paper had three articles on the issue:
- The Coalition and the race issue by Mike Seccombe
- The politics of hate by Paul Bongiorno
- After Christchurch by Karen Middleton
Tingle reminds us that Morrison questioned Labor’s use of taxpayers’ dollars to fly families to Sydney to attend the funerals of loved ones killed in a horrific shipwreck off Christmas Island in 2010. Seccombe gives us the dollars. It cost us $300,000, or “about two cents for every Australian”.
New Zealand has announced that every bereaved family would be eligible for a grant of $10,000 to help cover funeral costs. That’s up to $500,000 for an economy smaller than Queensland’s.
Seccombe goes back to John Howard’s “One Australia” immigration policy announcement in 1988, where he suggested that social cohesian would benefit by cuts to Asian immigration.
One of the first things Howard did on gaining power in 1996 was:
- the abolition of the Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research. He also restricted access to unemployment benefits and the Adult Migrant English Program to new migrants, and reduced funding and consultation of ethnic organisations, among other things.
Bongiorno explains that the Sydney Morning Herald article Waleed Aly, co-host of The Project, recalled to hold Morrison and his colleagues to account for helping to create a climate of fear and loathing of Muslims was in fact written by Lenore Taylor, one of the most respected journalists around. Taylor says she had multiple sources and is sticking to her story. I believe her, which makes Morrison’s performance awful and completely disgraceful.
Middleton looks at the virtually complete neglect by security authorities of the terrorism threat of nationalist white supremacism. For example:
- In a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on the day before the Christchurch shootings, Home Affairs Department secretary Michael Pezzullo outlined what he called the seven greatest security threats to Australia in the next decade, describing them as “gathering storms”. All were on a global scale, with number six being “radical extremist Islamist terrorism”.
White supremacism was missing.
She wrote about the need to stop “shitposting” of hate-filled material on social media, mainly targeting Muslims, Jews, people of colour, the LGBTQIA community and women.
Blair Cottrell, former leader of Australia’s United Patriots Front, was banned permanently from Twitter for comments he made about the New Zealand murders. He simply moved to the social media platform Gab, which advertises itself as preserving liberty and free speech. There he opposed the Christchurch attacks, because they might create sympathy for Muslims. He was with Anning at the speech where the latter was egged, and was one of the bozos who jumped on the teenager.
Tingle reports that NZ artist Ruby Jones shared a simple drawing online last week that has gone viral and now adorns buildings all over Christchurch:
The Trump administration insists that Chinese firm Huawei, which makes 5G technology, could hand over data to the Chinese government. The U.S. has warned European allies, including Germany, Hungary and Poland, to ban Huawei from its 5G network or risk losing access to intelligence-sharing.
Germany has refused to ban any company, despite pressure from the U.S. Instead, Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that her country would instead tighten security rules. “Our approach is not to simply exclude one company or one actor,” she told a conference in Berlin on Tuesday, “but rather we have requirements of the competitors for this 5G technology.”
Germany already has plenty of specialists who can monitor the current version of 5G software for security bugs, says Jan Bindig, a data security expert and director of Bindig Media in Leipzig.
Huawei, on its part, is opening a lab in Bonn where security officials can check its products:
- “The idea of this lab is that the responsible IT security authority of Germany but also other interested parties like independent auditors or our customers could go to that lab,” says Huawei Germany spokesman Patrick Berger, “and, for example, verify our source codes and see that there are no malicious things in our codes.”
I understand that is what Huawei is doing in Britain, where the lab has actually helped by picking up mistakes in the code.
I understand Huawei is cheaper and a little more advanced than US products, and is spending $15 billion pa on research to maintain their advantage.
4. NSW election
A report on the radio said that in TPP terms Labor gained 2%, the LNP lost 2% and nothing much changed in terms of seats. Seems NSW will have a Gladys Berejiklian’s government, perhaps needing help from a sympathetic independent. However, a couple of things to note.
From the New Daily report, the Liberals sat on the TV story of Labor leader Michael Daley talking about Asians with PhDs taking our jobs until the last week. It seems to have cause anti-Labor swings in at least four Sydney seats, including 10% in Daley’s own.
This tactic seems to have blocked Labor’s advance in the Sydney basin, which would have been essential to unseat Berejiklian’s government.
The Shooters and Fishers appear to have firmed their foothold in the lower house with a second seat at the expense of the Nationals. They appear to be the right-wing party of choice now to represent dissatisfaction with the Nationals.
The Legislative Council looks difficult for the LNP, but only half is elected. Don’t know the totals. Mark Latham was elected as expected.
The Greens with three seats appear to be treading water, but given internal ructions, that’s not too bad.
I don’t know a lot about NSW elections, but climate change appeared as a frontline issue for the first time I can recall, but it did not translate significantly to votes, except in the bush where people want more water.
Back in 2011, corruption was endemic in Labor and it was turfed on a 16% plus swing. I’m told not many remember that, but it’s obviously a long way to come back from there. Luke Foley was never going to make it. Daley says he wants to stay, but there in not a lot in this election for lefties to cheer about.
Perhaps the demographics of the Sydney basin are such that you have to be middle class to live there.
Scott Morrison and the national Liberals will take heart, but if Labor holds the line in NSW and makes advances in Victoria or Queensland or WA he’s still in trouble.
Update: Kevin Bonham has an excellent wrap of the election.