alexander downer

John Howard Darfur count: 3

This took place during my downtime last month, and I had trouble tracing it back to its source, but John Howard used the D word for the third time on June 15. That's three times in the past six months, but none of them in a constructive light.

It was in an interview with journalists from the Sydney Morning Herald, and it was in response to a query about the foot-in-mouth Defence Minister Brendon Nelson's announcement that Australia would not be joining the UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Of terrorists and cricketers

Ever worried about all these new anti-terrorist laws? Ever worried that their wide-ranging discretionary powers would be used for entirely non-terrorism related reasons? Well, it happened in Australia this week.

The Australian cricket team was threatened with action under the Australian Passports Act 2005 if they went ahead with this September's planned tour of Zimbabwe.

Rock, Cricket Australia, Hard place.

There seems to be almost universal support in this country for the abandonment of Australia's ODI cricket tour of Zimbabwe pencilled in for September. The pollies all agree, the commentariat seem to all agree, the Roman Catholic Church agrees, the only dissenting voices I have seen are from the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Australia (well he would, wouldn't he?) and former Test batsman Vusi Sibanda, who now lives in Sydney.

Not budging enough

There's three main areas that I have been focusing on in studying this Federal Budget:

  1. Environmental management
  2. Millennium Development Goal No.1 on foreign aid
  3. Tackling indigenous poverty

And the Government is not scrubbing up too well in these areas.

Let's start with foreign aid, and the two opening paragraphs from Alexander Downer's press release on the Overseas Aid budget announcements:

Howard's reshuffle and the Cultural Revolution

Never mind the personnel changes announced this morning in John Howard's ministerial reshuffle (though I'll get to those shortly). The thing that struck me on first reading through the press release was the changes in vocabulary.

Global Village Idiot arrested

Goodness me it's been a busy day. Global Village Idiot, Alexander Downer, was placed under citizen's arrest in Melbourne this morning. Unfortunately he got away.

The "warrant" for GVI's arrest laid charges of war crimes in relation to Iraq, also violations of the United Nations charter, violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and violations of the Convention against Torture.

Darfur who?

John Howard has an extensive archive of transcripts of interviews, press releases and other statements on his Prime Ministerial website, Considering his keen interest in international affairs, as evidenced with Iraq, I decided I would do a search of his website to see how often he has discussed the tragic situation in the Sudanese province of Darfur.

My search for "Darfur" on the PM's website came up with no matches. Searching Hansard on the Parlinfo website also drew a blank.