Yes, yes, I know I’m late. I was tired yesterday. Yes I know that’s not a good excuse but I’m using it anyway. Moving on.
So, yet another bruising week for Mr Abbot’s government. First we have the embarrassment of the dumping of plans to water down section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. It’s unsurprising since it seemed everyone except for a few straight, white, vaguely-Christian males and a few cats (because cats are like that) were against the Coalition’s election promise. Everyone in this case included Muslims, Jews, a fair few Christians, various ethnic and racial minority groups and the state governments of Victoria and New South Wales.
This was a pragmatic decision by the Abbot government to bring Islamic groups back on side, given the rather unsettling developments regarding Australian nationals heading to Syria and Iraq (and the vacation pics they’ve been sending back) and the new counter-terrorism laws and budgets being brought about in response. Of course people are taking the piss out of Abbot for his ‘Team Australia’ remark, Islamic groups aren’t happy with the laws with valid concerns they specifically target Muslims, and neither Brandis nor Abbot seem to know how this new-fangled internet thing works, what the laws actually mean for our privacy or what the hell ‘Metadata’ is (it’s alright guys, I don’t have a bloody clue either).
Then of course we’ve got Senator Eric Abetz talking about medically discredited links between abortion and breast cancer, claiming he was cut off before he could appropriately distance himself from such beliefs (*cough*bullshit!*cough*), and Joe Hockey bitching like a whiny teenager that businesses and commoners just don’t get his budget, leaving the whole of Australia yet again placing bets on just how far is his head is up his arse.
In lighter news, Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to Western sanctions with some of his own, specifically banning food imports from the USA, EU, Canada, Australia and Norway for some reason (has Norway been laying on the sanctions as well? or is the just about who owns the North Pole again?), and directing the relevant government agency (that I can’t even pronounce and am not even going to try and spell) to target local Macdonalds fast food outlets. Apparently Australia exports about 700 million dollars worth of now embargoed product to Russia so we’re not talking small change here, but it doesn’t seem like anyone’s quaking in their boots at the thought that some bloke in St Petersburg might not be able to buy grain-fed Angus beef for his next barbecue (probably because by this point everyone just assumes that Putin will simply butcher a whole bunch of tigers from his – one imagines – vast collection to feed his people). Quite the contrary, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is saying that if Russian troops decide to cross into Ukrainian territory for purposes ‘humanitarian’ or otherwise the sanctions will get worse, with Australia’s Uranium exports to Russia definitely on the possible chopping block.
I’ll end with a quick RIP Robin Williams. You made us laugh, cry and laugh again, and will never be forgotten.