Covid-164

Dan O'Heirity

Why Are Our Leaders Untouchable?

Yesterday I wrote about an Ombudsman’s report that concluded that the draconian lockdown of public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne. The Ombudsman concluded that the way in which the lockdown has been implemented was unlawful and that it breached the human rights of residents. Today there is a follow up story from ABC News which has the Housing Minister Richard Wynne saying, “We make no apology for saving people’s lives“. The fact that the Housing Minister could essentially dismiss the findings of the Ombudsman seemed odd to me, particularly given the seriousness of the conclusions reached in the report. Given this fact, I decided to look at what an Ombudsman actually does. The role of the Ombudsman, as detailed on the Ombudsman site for the state of Victoria, “is to investigate the decisions and actions of Victorian government bodies. The Ombudsman seeks to ensure the highest possible standards of public sector service delivery to all Victorians“. However, the issue is that the Ombudsman has no real power. This much is clear from the examples that the website gives of actions that may result from an inquiry. For example, the Ombudsman may request that the organization “acknowledge their mistake and apologise” or that the organization “provide a better explanation for their decision or action”. I’m not clear on whether the Ombudsman made these requests to the State of Victoria but it is clear that the government has no intention of admitting fault or apologizing.

This story of the lockdown in the housing estates provides the backdrop to a story in Australia concerning security at quarantine hotels for returning travellers. The short story is that the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made the decision to use private security firms to “police” the lockdown. The guards were untrained, became infected and then spread the virus in the housing estates named in the first paragraph. Anyone with half a brain can see that the whole hotel quarantine process was mismanaged and yet no one has taken responsibility for the decision to use private security guards. Not the Premier or the Chief Health Officer, Professor Sutton. Just watch this video from Alan Jones on Sky News as he interrogates what went on with the decision making.

Here’s the kicker. New legislation introduced in Victoria by the Premier Daniel Andrews allows for companies to be prosecuted under industrial manslaughter charges should the company be seen to have acted in a way that resulted in Covid-19 deaths. This new legislation does not include Ministers and public servants and so the obvious question asked by Alan Jones is why the Victorian premier is not being prosecuted under the new legislation. Andrews, along with other members of his party, made the decision to use private security guards and this led to around 800 Covid-19 deaths in Victoria. Good question Alan.

There Are So Many Reasons to Hate Beijing

This year has seen Beijing increasingly punish Australia for not kowtowing to the Chinese. There have been all sorts of tariffs imposed on Australian goods. China has stopped importing beef from multiple abattoirs. Millions of dollars worth of lobster were left to die on an airport runway. Now China is apparently thinking about significantly cutting coal imports from Australia. This we know. However, Australia has now lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning China’s imposition of tariffs on Australian Barley. This Sky News video contains the details.

The complaint to the WTO will apparently take years to process which, to my mind, essentially means that the WTO is completely toothless. China can keep the tariffs in place for years to come by which time the Australian economy will have lost millions if not billions of dollars. However, the argument goes that Australia needs to play a “rule based” game which means going through the WTO despite the time it will take and despite the fact that China will most likely ignore any decision that is not to its liking. However, a second aspect to the strategy is to form new trading alliances across the world, something that may be achievable because China is just damaging itself in the eyes of the world. I find this fact amusing. China hates to lose face and yet does not seem to understand that the world is very quickly becoming anti-Chinese as it watches China’s actions on the world stage.

Another reason to be anti Beijing is there “Belt and Road Initiative”. I have written about this initiative many times. On the surface it looks like China just wants to develop new trade routes across land and sea and they are pouring billions of dollars into the project. However, on another level China lends money to poor countries who will never be able to repay the loans. When this happens China calls in the security for the loan. This could be, for example, a 99 year lease for a port. The Australian Federal Government said that it wants nothing to do with the project. However, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, “Chairman Dan” signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China on the initiative. Now Andrew’s will have his mates in Australia’s backyard. As reported by ABC News, China is seeking to develop a multi million dollar fishing plant in Papua New Guinea. Two points. There aren’t really any fish in the area where the plant will be build and the plant itself will be a few kilometres from Australia’s border and around 200KM from the Australian mainland. So, the Chinese are setting up camp next door to Australia. I am surely not the only one who is concerned by this fact, particularly as per the video below there is some likelihood that China could use the “fishing plant” as a military base.

Meanwhile, Australians have, once again, been stupid enough to get in bed with China. This time round a Chinese developer has signed a 99 year lease for an island in Queensland and the locals are already complaining about the actions of the development group. For example, residents in rental homes are being forced to leave the island. The developer has cordoned off areas of the island so that the residents can no longer access a premium beach or land areas. There is a line of thought that the developers intend to empty the island of occupants in order to turn it into a holiday destination for rich Chinese tourists. Seriously. What were people thinking when they signed the lease. The answer is that they were not thinking. They just saw dollar signs and put pen to paper in double quick time to seal the deal. Me, I would say that the idea that the island might become a holiday resort for the Chinese is the least of our worries. Who knows what would go on if the island really were emptied of “Australians”. My only hope is that Australia learns a lesson from this mistake.

First Published December 18th, 2020

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