Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook

Tony Abbott exposed again … Coastal devastation demolishes climate deniers … Watch out for preferences deals … Here comes the Arts Party … Race for UN job gets down and dirty … How Zionists polluted Sydney Peace Prize … and more

Climate change smashes coastal NSW

It is 12 years since Sydney’s Sun-Herald published a major article identifying the coastal communities which would suffer as a result of rising water levels from climate change. (Global warming flexes its muscle, SH 19 Sept 2004).
On the list were the following:

  • Narrabeen and Collaroy on Sydney’s Northern Beaches;
  • North Entrance and Wamberal on the Central Coast;
  • Belongil Spit at Byron Bay;
  • Wooli near Grafton;
  • Jimmy’s Beach, Port Stephens.
  • The climate change deniers went berserk. So did real estate agents and coastal developers. They were outraged and hit back hard claiming it was all nonsense and fearmongering.
    Tony Abbott, Federal MP for Warringah where Northern Beaches devastation was predicted, laughed it off. After all, he strongly believed that climate change was “crap”.
    After last weekend’s ravaging of beachside properties at Narrabeen and Collaroy, the budgie-smuggling Mad Monk was nowhere to be seen. As a result of his idiocy, everyone else will have to start paying higher house insurance premiums.
    At next month’s election Abbott is being challenged by Australian Idol host, James Mathison. Is Mathison a publicity seeker or an authentic candidate? It’s hard to answer, but if I lived in Warringah I know who I’d vote for. By the same token, at the 1994 by-election in Mackellar I would have voted for writer Bob Ellis and spurned the ghastly Bronwyn Bishop.
    PS: By the way, I was co-author of the 2004 article.

    The preferences trap

    Labor Party activists in the northern NSW seat of Richmond, where I live, are very excited about the recent formation of the Renewable Energy Party.
    However, their enthusiasm is not altogether altruistic. Labor’s so-called “hard left” is backing REP candidates in certain seats with the aim of blocking votes going to the Greens.
    Behind the scenes, an elaborate preference deal between Labor’s Sussex Street cave dwellers and the political innocents of the REP. We should know the details when preference arrangements are registered with the Australian Electoral Commission and then made public prior to the July 2 election.
    My tip is that the ALP and REP will exchange preferences in specific seats where sitting Labor MPs are threatened by Green candidates. In particular, I’m thinking of Justine Elliot in Richmond and Anthony Albanese in Grayndler where a vote for the REP is a vote for Labor – and against the Greens!
    I suspect that well-meaning REPers have no idea that their party is being manipulated by ALP operatives. It is a political baptism of fire for the REP novices.

    Standing up for arts

    For the first time, a party that is purely dedicated to the arts is contesting the election with its own candidates.
    The Australian Arts Party, founded in 2013 by actor Nicholas Gledhill and producer PJ Collins, is dedicated to “encourage the creative, cultural and educated life of every Australian”.
    That mission used to be observed by the Liberal and Labor parties of past memory. Today the Coalition and the ALP reach for the knife and slash arts, ABC and culture budgets whenever bankers present one of their IOUs to Canberra.
    Out of this depressing wreckage of philistinism and neo-con warfare the Arts Party was born. Another incentive was provided by the pusillanimous approach of well-heeled arts administrators.
    Fearing that their own budgets may be cut – i.e. wages, expenses, travel, chauffeurs and nannies – they have inflicted cut after cut, hired expensive consultants, outsourced, privatised and sacked with lustful abandon. Instead of defending their patch, most of these arts bureaucrats – just like university vice chancellors – are decimating the very institutions they are meant to defend.
    Tired of the compliance of arts czars and czarinas, professional performers have launched their own party to make arts funding a public issue. Good on them.

    Race for UN job turns dirty

    The race to succeed Ban Ki-moon as UN secretary-general has turned nasty with intrigues fit for a John Le Carre novel.
    The early favourite was Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian director-general of UNESCO. Washington and its closest allies have blackballed her candidacy on the grounds she is too close to Moscow.
    Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, administrator of the UN’s development programme, was cast aside when the Washington camp decided that because she was a NZ Labor Party loyalist she was a dangerous socialist.
    Suddenly, the pro-American bloc has switched its attention to Argentina’s conservative foreign minister Susana Malcorra, a former CEO of Telecom Argentina and aide to Ban Ki-moon from 2008 to 2012.
    Mr Ban leaves his UN position on December 31 and his successor starts on the eve of the inauguration of the next US president.
    With Washington intent on ramping up its military attack on Iraq and Syria and launching a bombing raid on North Korea to destroy nuclear installations, support from the next UN secretary-general becomes utterly critical.
    As a South Korean and former Seoul foreign minister, Mr Ban was fatally compromised and any attack on North Korean during his term of office was deemed “too difficult”.
    Washington believes that Ms Malcorra will be more amenable to a “humanitarian” air attack which takes out President Kim Jong-un’s nuclear capacity. Okay, so tens of thousands of people might be killed or maimed by nuclear vapour but, hey, that’s the price of “freedom”.

    Israel’s war on Peace Prize

    In 2003, Palestinian peace activist and scholar, Hanan Ashwari from Nablus on the West Bank, won the Sydney Peace Prize.
    The Zionist lobby in Sydney, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, London and Miami exploded in fury. Predictably, they were joined by the jackals of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
    Supporters of the Peace Prize decision were targeted amid a furious campaign to force Professor Ashwari to abandon her trip and the committee to choose another candidate.
    Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull, wife of the current prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, folded. She withdrew Sydney City Council’s support and refused to attend the award ceremony.
    Sydney University’s Chancellor Kim Santow buckled and Vice Chancellor Gavin Brown buckled. They blocked the committee from using the Great Hall where previous ceremonies had been held. Utterly predictably, Zionist foghorn Michael Kapel from the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council damned her as “an apologist for Islamic terror”.
    However, Premier Bob Carr agreed to present the award in spite of (because of?) a hateful campaign against him by the crazies.
    Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN High Rights Commissioner, praised Ashrawi’s selection and applause came from a former winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
    On the eve of the ceremony, Israeli academic Baruch Kimmerling wrote: “As an Israeli, as a Jew and as an academic, I am deeply sorry and ashamed that members of the Australian Jewish community are acting against this rightful nomination.” It was the declaration by a righteous Jew amid the Zionist hysteria. In contrast, there was not a peep from the Sydney or Melbourne Jewish establishment who seemed content to allow the uppity female Palestinian academic to be defamed and vilified.
    Earlier this year, Professor Stuart Rees, director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, published his novel, A Lover’s Country, based on the Ashrawi affair. While all of the names have been changed, the novel tells the back story of the intrigue, shameless cowardice and courageous heroism of the main participants.
    The story unfolds like a pacey thriller and the characters are sketched with great finesse. Rees reveals himself as a fine novelist who is prepared to admit that being a humanist isn’t all dull: his main character drinks beer and whisky, eats curries and makes love with diverting passion.
    It’s more than a novel. It’s a record of our times told through fiction. Please get a copy.
    A Lover’s Country by Stuart Rees. Austin Macauley Publishers. 2016 London.

    Cartoon of the Year

    Small boy interrupts his father who is reading a newspaper: “Dad, I’m considering a career in organised crime.”
    Father: “Government or private sector?”

    Quote of the Week

    Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempt from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.
    President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines

    Trump of the Week

    I want a statue in Washington DC. Maybe share it with Jefferson.
    Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate