Oz Election Thread #4 - Gillard's Labor

Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 06:58 am
Gillard, Obama detail US troop deployment
Updated November 16, 2011 21:46:44/ABC news

Up to 2,500 US Marines will be stationed in Australia by 2017 under a new agreement announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US president Barack Obama.

Ms Gillard confirmed the deployment during a joint press conference with Mr Obama only hours after he touched down in Canberra on his whirlwind visit.

She says 200 to 250 Marines will be stationed in Darwin for training from next year, with numbers building up to 2,500 over the next five years.

"It is a new agreement to expand the existing collaboration between the Australian Defence Force and the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force," she said.

"What this means in very practical detail is from mid-2012 Australia will welcome a company-sized rotation of 200 to 250 Marines in the Northern Territory for around six months at a time.

"Over a number of years we intend to build on this in a staged way."

The US Air Force will also be given more access to Australian bombing ranges and training facilities in remote areas of the Northern Territory. ....<cont>

Gillard, Obama detail US troop deployment:

A U.S. Marine Base for Australia Irritates China:
Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 07:10 am
Opinion piece from Hugh White, professor of strategic studies at ANU and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute:

Dear Mr President, we beg to differ over the future of Asia
Hugh White
November 16, 2011/the AGE


'Washington has suddenly woken up to the magnitude of China's power.' Photo: Reuters

Australia should tell Obama we take a different view on China.

AS CHINA'S power grows, the Asia we have known is passing into history, and a new and very different Asia is taking shape. Barack Obama's visit is a key moment in that transformation, because he is coming here to promote America's view of how the new Asia should work.

America has a lot at stake. For 40 years it has been the region's uncontested leader. Now China wants to lead instead, and is trying to ease America aside. That means the era of uncontested US primacy has passed. This is a big loss for America, for Australia and much of Asia, but it is the strategic price we must all pay for China's economic miracle.

There are two competing visions of Asia's future now. China's vision is that America will slowly fade as a strategic power in Asia, leaving China as the region's new uncontested leader. America's vision is that Asia will divide into two camps, with China on one side and the rest, under US leadership, on the other. It hopes that if the rest of Asia stays strong and united by America's side, China will eventually see the error of its ways and join the US-led camp as well, thus restoring America's uncontested primacy.

Of course neither Washington nor Beijing describes their vision in such blunt terms. But behind the diplomatic drapery, these are clearly the plans to which each side is working. Washington has suddenly woken up to the magnitude of China's power, and now understands that Asia, not the Middle East, is where it faces its most decisive challenge. That's why Obama is making this trip. He is here to persuade America's friends and allies to sign up to Washington's vision of Asia's future.

At APEC in Hawaii, Obama promoted the economic element of his vision. His Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative is aimed at building a new economic framework in Asia that includes America's friends and allies and excludes China. It is not clear that is a good idea. Now Obama is coming to Canberra to promote the political and strategic element of his vision. He wants to draw America's loose network of Asian allies and friends together into a more unified military coalition to confront China's growing maritime power. That will be the underlying message of his speech to Parliament tomorrow, and it is the symbolism at the heart of the announcement he will make about US military training in Darwin.

Practically and operationally, the new rotational training deployments for US marines mean very little. Symbolically and strategically they mean a great deal. They show Australia's willingness to join America's military coalition against China. And make no mistake: this is all about China. For 40 years, despite our close alliance, Australia has been careful not to line up militarily with the US against China. That is why the Darwin announcement is so significant.

More broadly, taken together with Julia Gillard's enthusiastic embrace of his Trans-Pacific Partnership, the new military arrangements signal Australia's support for Obama's overall vision for America's role in Asia's future. For Obama, this is an important win.

But is it a win for Australia? That depends on whether Obama's vision will work, and on what the alternatives are. For his vision to work, three things will have to happen. First, a lot of China's Asian neighbours will need to decide that siding with America against China is in their interests. None of them want to live under China's shadow, and all welcome US support, but none want to make China an enemy. Keeping them on side will be harder than it looks.

Second, America itself must decide whether taking China on like this is worth the cost. Economically, Obama's vision of Asia's future makes no sense, because America is as interdependent with China as everyone else. And strategically, Americans will have to decide whether they really are willing to back all their Asian friends and allies in any fight they pick with China. A small stoush in the South China Sea could become very costly and dangerous for the US.

These are issues that Americans themselves have not clearly addressed. Few of America's political leaders, pundits or the public at large have yet come to grips with the new geometry of power, and the hard choices America now faces.

Third, for America's plan to work, China will have to be persuaded to accept US leadership in Asia even as it overtakes America to become the richest, and hence ultimately the most powerful, country in the world. That seems highly unlikely. And if China pushes back rather than comes around then America's vision of Asia's future does not lead us gently back to the era of uncontested US primacy. It pushes us brutally forward towards a new era of unbridled strategic rivalry - a new Cold War, or worse.

If the only alternative to America's plan to perpetuate its primacy in Asia is China's vision of its own uncontested leadership, then we might reluctantly accept a new Cold War as the lesser of two evils. But these are not the only possibilities. A new Asia could evolve in which China exercises more power and influence than it has before, but does not dominate, and in which America no longer exercises primacy, but still plays a large and vital role. In short, an Asia in which the US and China share power.

This should be Australia's vision of Asia's future. We do not want to live under Chinse domination, but nor do we want to be squeezed by US-China rivalry. That is why, having given Obama a respectful hearing, we should explain why we take a different view. That is what good allies do.


0 Replies
Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 07:26 am
Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 08:34 am
AS this editorial comic implicitly depicts, it shows the dangers of occupying Australia.

Drop Bears! Look at that menacing one in the tree spying on the troops and waiting to pounce! (((shudder)))

Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 08:56 am

Yeah, those US troops are gonna be sorry!
And they're gonna specialist advice before setting foot in the place!
Drop bear attacks have been known to make grown men weep!:

How To Survive A Drop Bear Attack

How to survive this marvelous yet little understood (and dangerous) creature is simple.:

* If you see shiny poo that looks like black round rocks under a Eucalyptus tree. Don't go near the tree.

* If you hear strange growling sounds and it is not from your dog you are walking, turn and run the other way.

* Do not enter under any circumstances any areas containing Eucalyptus trees at night.

* Do not walk in nature or wildlife parks or similar areas between December and February. This is believed to be breeding season for the creatures and a rise in attacks accordingly.

* It is only rumour and conjecture and not yet proven, but tourists wearing camouflage style clothing tend to be attacked more often than wearing different clothes.

* If you are attacked and someone visits you from the CSIRO, just simply tell them that you were attacked by a snake.

How To Survive A Drop Bear Attack: An Essential Guide On Australia's Most Dangerous Marsupial:
Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 10:28 am
Is this CSIRO the Australian version of the X-Files unit/organization? Neutral
Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 12:03 pm
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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 03:44 pm

You're on the right track, sorta, tsar ......
A very similar organisation to the X-Files unit:

CSIRO = The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation:
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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 03:48 pm
Leunig, from today's AGE:

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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 04:02 pm

Secret security booklet in gutter
November 18, 2011/the AGE

A CLASSIFIED booklet containing President Barack Obama's Australian schedule down to the minute, as well as details of his security convoy and the mobile phone numbers of dozens of senior US and Australian officials, was found by The Age on a Canberra street yesterday morning.

The booklet, Overall Program and Orders of Arrangements, for Mr Obama's visit, was found by this reporter in a gutter about 100 metres from the front entrance to Parliament.

Last night, one of Australia's top national security analysts, Alan Dupont, said the find represented a ''significant security breach''. ...<cont>

Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 04:05 pm
Good grief!!
Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 04:29 pm
Indeed, osso.
Someone's head is going to roll, for sure.

In the meantime, today's letters to the (AGE) editor.

The first few refer to US involvement in Australia, in light of the recently announced US base in Darwin & also likely uranium sales to India by Australia ... previously banned as India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty:

Letters to the editor. 18/11/11:
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Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 08:17 pm
But back to internal Oz politics ... well, mostly ...
( with a bit about President Jed Bartlet's visit to Oz & our West Winger system of government. Anthony gets a bit confused. Wink Smile )

This one's about conscience votes.
What exactly are they?
And is it a good idea for Labor to allow them at all? :

video:Clarke and Dawe on Anthony Albanese
Posted November 18, 2011 08:39:00

Source: 7.30 Report| Duration: 2min 35sec

Reply Thu 17 Nov, 2011 08:46 pm
In case you're wondering what the conscience vote is about:

JULIA Gillard will back a conscience vote for Labor MPs on gay marriage, as the Age/Nielsen poll shows a growing majority of Australians favour legalising marriage equality.

But in a stand that will deeply disappoint those arguing for change, the Prime Minister also wants opposition to gay marriage to stay in the ALP platform, which will be debated at next month's party conference.

Sixty-two per cent of voters would like to see gay marriage legalised, a rise from 57 per cent a year ago, according to the poll. Thirty-one per cent are opposed, compared with 37 per cent in November 2010. ...<cont>

PM grants conscience vote, dooming gay marriage :
Reply Fri 18 Nov, 2011 03:10 pm
Seen the fabulous piece by Penny Wong in the Age yet? Go Penny!

Meanwhile, a US bloody base and a Bombing of Darwin Day?

What do people think of a commemoration day for that? I mean, it was awful and all, but do we need such a thing?
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Reply Fri 18 Nov, 2011 03:14 pm
There's been a chain of this sort of thing lately....our security people are starting to look like torn pockets!

Not to mention the revelations in the Age today re Whitlam being ready to give info to Saddam Hussein's Baathists in return for money. Anti US is one thing, but pro Saddam Hussein is just pathetic.

And then the money being stolen by the intermediary!
Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2011 03:26 am
I obviously have a bit of catch-up reading to do, Deb.
I haven't read the Penny Wong article (but can imagine what she might have written. I guess the "conscience vote" frees her to speak openly about gay rights whereas she couldn't really, in the recent past) nor have I read the Gough revelations yet.
Although I'm a great fan of Gough (re internal policies) his judgment seems to have been not so great re matters external to Oz. Like East Timor. Australia should have supported the East Timorese when the Indonesians invaded.
I wish Gough had been more honest since, about the fact that our government unofficially supported Indonesia at the expense of the East Timorese at the time.

As for a US base in Darwin ....
I agree with you.
I think our alliance with the US is quite a different matter to our relationships with our near neighbours in Asia.
We are constantly portrayed as lackeys of the US by our Asian neighbours. This base will just add further fuel to that perception.
I really admire how NZ has remained on good terms with the US while maintaining its own independence at the same time by not automatically going along with everything the US proposes.
I think we could learn quite a bit from NZ's example.
Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2011 05:45 am
Ah. Found it.

Here's Penny Wong's article.

How could anyone argue with such a sensible woman?
Go Penny! Smile

Marriage of equality is a core value for all to hold dear
Penny Wong

November 19, 2011/the AGE


Penny Wong and partner Sophie Allouache attend the mid-winter ball in 2009. Photo: Lyn Mills

When my parents married in 1967, Australia was still dismantling the White Australia policy. While a marriage between a Chinese man from Malaysia, and an Australian from the Adelaide Hills was not illegal, it was certainly unusual. Nevertheless, bans on inter-racial marriage were not unknown in Western democracies of the time. That year, the US Supreme Court struck down laws in various American states prohibiting interracial marriage. Changing laws didn't change public opinion; a year later 72 per cent of Americans remained opposed to interracial marriage.

Australia has its own share of history in a similar vein. One hundred years ago, the federal parliamentary leader of the ALP, J. C. Watson, outlined his view on interracial marriage: "the objection I have to the mixing of these coloured people with the white people of Australia … lies in the main in the possibility and probability of racial contamination …'' He went on to state "the question is whether we would desire that our sisters or our brothers should be married into any of these races to which we object."

In today's Australia it seems extraordinary such prejudice was once widely accepted. But these references are less important for what they convey about the past, than what they tell us about today. They remind us how much change is possible, that prejudice dissipates. Most of all they remind us how powerful the principle of equality is.

Like many, my belief in equality led me to join the ALP. It is this belief that drives my advocacy for equality in relation to marriage for same-sex couples, and for a change to the party platform at next month's national conference.

Our platform is the statement of Labor's principles. In its current form it perpetuates unequal treatment of some Australians solely on the grounds of their sexual orientation. In this, it makes clear not all Australians are equal. I believe change is needed.

Our party's belief in justice and fairness was forged in the experience of working people, but has grown to encompass the aspiration of equality for so many Australians. It is Labor governments which finally abolished the White Australia Policy; which legislated against discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, age and disability; and a Labor prime minister who first spoke to both the men and women of Australia. It is this Labor government that removed discrimination against same-sex couples in more than 80 areas of the law - reforms of which I am deeply proud.

This heritage is consistent with my view that a conscience vote should not be Labor's answer to the calls for equality within the party and the wider community.

Equality should not be a matter of conscience; it should be reflected in Labor policy.

A conscience vote in the Parliament does not change ALP policy, and it is the party's platform which needs to change. A conscience vote is not a substitute for reforms to the platform which are long overdue.

I understand some Australians question why this issue is deserving of further discussion at next month's national conference. For some, this issue may not be a top priority. But for the people it affects - it affects them deeply. It goes to the core of how they define themselves, and their most intimate relationships. That is why the Labor Party is having this debate. Because equality is a core Labor value.

Leaving aside all the noise in this debate, I believe it comes back to a simple proposition of equality. Is it reasonable to deny rights to some Australians only on the basis they are not heterosexual? Can we justify valuing a relationship less, in law and in practice, solely on the basis of the genders of the partners?

Surely Australia has reached a point where we can value relationships by markers such as respect, commitment and love. I have no doubt our laws will one day reflect this.

And the arguments for inequality that ring loud today will seem distant and unfamiliar. As alien to our values, to Labor values, as the other prejudices we have left behind.

Penny Wong is the federal Finance Minister.


Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2011 05:57 am
Bloody eggsellent, Penny.

Can't wait for this endless dribble about same-sex this, and abortion that to just take a back seat to real issues.

Like, when is Bob Katter gonna come out about his stocking fetish?

We're all waiting, Bob.
Reply Sat 19 Nov, 2011 06:03 am
He's got a stocking fetish?
Who knew?
I didn't.

But seriously though, it's really disappointing that Labor will be having a "conscience vote" on this issue. I hope this doesn't mean (as is being predicted) that the bill will be defeated.
I agree with everything Penny wrote in her article.
She's great value.
I believe she & her partner are about to become parents soon, too.

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