G20 – Day 1

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WARNING:  This post is a political piece which contains my personal opinions.

My embarrassment is complete.

As the host nation of the G20, Australia had an opportunity to be innovative and forward-thinking.  The Prime Minister of this country chose to use this once in a generation opportunity to address the major world leaders as a chance to trumpet his ‘successes’ in government.

The headline item was the abolition of the carbon tax.  While this measure was certainly not ideal it was at least an acknowledgement of action on climate change and a step in the right direction.  He then continued with his feet planted firmly in his mouth to ‘thank God’ that he had managed to stop the boats.  This was in front of the Indonesian President who is less than happy with Australia’s approach to the refugee situation, not to mention the leaders of Germany, France and Canada who have all had 5 – 20 times as many asylum seekers arrive in their countries over the past 5 years as what Australia has had.

The final indignity was then to have a whinge about the fact that he was having trouble passing the budget measures to limit a tertiary education to those who can afford to pay and the proposed $7 GP co-payment.

Last week China and the USA signed an historic agreement to work together on addressing the effects of climate change.

Today, President Obama addressed 2,ooo people at the University of Queensland with a wide-ranging speech which included an impassioned plea to “look squarely at the science…and reach a strong global agreement next year” and United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon told the international media that, “Climate change is the defining issue of our times, therefore it is only natural that the G20 leaders should focus on this.”

Yet Mr Abbott believes that climate change should not be a part of the G20 discussions.  His performance has been cringeworthy and it is difficult to imagine that any of the other countries present at the G20 could ever take Australia seriously.  Mr Abbott, you have made us an absolute laughing-stock.

What About Sharing?

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My last post and your responses shone a light on those things in our lives for which we are grateful.  Health, happiness, family, financial security, a home and a safe place to live all figured prominently.

Are we so greedy and mean-spirited as to not consider sharing any of this with people less fortunate than ourselves?

Next month we will be presented with a choice that is no choice between the policies of the two major political parties in this country on the treatment of asylum seekers .

Mr Abbott has been telling us for months that he is going to turn the boats around and now Mr Rudd has announced, and I quote: “If you come by boat, you will never permanently live in Australia”.  You can see the whole policy announcement here.

Even more worrying is the fact that almost two-thirds of Australians support this harsh approach.  I am bitterly disappointed that most of our current and would-be politicians have plumbed these callous attitudes in a merciless vote-buying exercise.