China and its allies plan to launch yuan as new world currency … Don Chipp’s Democrats failed but his opinions still linger … Barnaby Joyce wants the Deputy Prime Minister’s job again … How Labor senators sank euthanasia Bill …
Plan to launch yuan as new world currency
China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela and Brazil are collectively considering whether to form a yuan bloc to replace the US dollar as the world’s major trading currency.
They are responding to Donald Trump’s erratic policy of imposing arbitrary tariffs on their exports and “the toughest ever” sanctions on their economies.
The US sanctions and tariffs not only include penalties against named individuals but other Western businesses, mainly in Europe, currently doing business with “enemies” of America.
Initially, the newly-formed yuan bloc will eliminate the “mighty greenback” from trade in Chinese-made products but eventually they hope to extend the yuan’s role to all export and import trade between member countries.
Will countries such as Australia be able to stand aloof from these developments or will exporters eventually accept the yuan in payment for iron ore, coal, nickel, bauxite, beef, mutton, seafood and other primary produce?
Washington and Wall Street will be furious if Australia is forced to capitulate by announcing that Australia’s economic growth far outweighs in importance the US option of going to war over Beijing’s increasing naval hegemony in the South China Sea.
Just as Britain unloaded its military obligations after World War II – in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Aden, Cyprus, South Africa, Malta and the West Indies – America is attempting to withdraw from outreach positions in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, the South Pacific and South America. Being the world’s policeman has become too goddam expensive.
Can Washington negotiate its newfound isolationism without provoking war, massive trade dislocation or a global recession? With Donald Trump in the White House surrounded by crazy military and spy agency types, don’t count on it.
The bastards are still dishonest
Don Chipp, founder of the Australian Democrats in 1977, wrote in retirement a candid assessment of politicians as a privileged class.
His brutally frank views were mentioned at the time his memoir Chipp was published in 1987, but then they were quickly removed from the media and most public records.
As yesterday’s rooster became a feather duster, Chipp was memorialised as a safe comic book character: “Old Chippy, he was that good bloke who went to Canberra to keep the bastards honest.”
In truth, Chipp was a self-romancing Liberal of huge ambition but little talent. But many of his views came from the heart and they are worth repeating now. Bidding his adieu to political life, Chipp wrote:
“Eighty-five per cent of voters, many of them parents, happily vote for political parties that frankly admit that the maintenance of American bases on Australian soil makes our children nuclear targets. They vote for politicians who have destroyed a Bill in the national Parliament that would have prevented nuclear bombs coming into our ports, the accidental explosion of any one of which could destroy the city in which they and their children live.
“I realised I had become, and had allowed my family to become, prisoners of a vicious, self-perpetuating cloister, which has evolved from our party political system, and which generates its own morality in order to perpetuate itself.
“Since I retired, I have desperately tried to discern one positive contribution Parliament and the political system has made to the betterment of my children. I am still having difficulty finding it.
“In the end, the truth has come to us simply and clearly. There is a prison up there in Canberra, which forces men and women to obey rules that are senseless; to conform to convention for no good reason; to diminish the beauty of good things in their personal lives, while preventing them from making contributions to others.”
Chipp, who died in 2006, was not a political theoretician and his final views were riddled with blame-shifting and martyrdom.
The Canberra political class which Chipp so deplored were giants alongside today’s lot. And our politicians, defence establishment and media are rolling over to follow Washington’s orders to prepare for hostilities against China.
Rebirthing of Barnaby
You may feel that he has Buckley’s chance, but Barnaby Joyce harbours ambitions to regain the leadership of the federal Nationals and the Deputy Prime Ministership.
A vast amount of time and money is being devoted to his redemption and re-enthronement.
The campaign to rehabilitate 51-year-old Joyce began in January with the “exclusive” Channel 7 interview for payment of $150,000 during which he and his former staffer Vikki Campion discussed their love affair, while he was still married, and her pregnancy.
This was followed by a New Idea “exclusive” in which Ms Campion talked about her anger at being called “a rent-a-root” and he claimed that sexual assault claims made against him were “garbage”.
“The purpose of this, I believe, was to force me out of my job,” he protested.
Then followed a book Weatherboard and Iron: Politics, the Bush and Me, which asked readers to believe that he and his extended family were “victims” and deserved “understanding”.
The assault allegations turned Joyce into a Harvey Weinstein look-a-like and he was dressed down like a schoolboy by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a televised news conference beamed around the country. With his reputation in tatters, Joyce resigned.
This week Joyce pointedly supported the Coalition majority to vote in favour of Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG). It was a signal to Turnbull that after seven months in the outer paddock he could be trusted to go along with the NEG plan despite some privately-held misgivings.
When he replaced Warren Truss to become party leader in February 2016, Joyce was hailed as “one of the country’s best retail politicians” (whatever that means). At the 2017 Federal Election he increased the Nationals’ representation by one seat and defeated his arch-rival Tony Windsor to retake the seat of New England.
When he was forced to recontest the seat after the High Court ruled against his Kiwi ancestry in 2017, Joyce rose to the occasion and easily won.
Turnbull warmly welcomed his return to Canberra believing their previous double act could be restored to their mutual advantage. But when the PM told Joyce that he was throwing caution to wind and re-raising his support for a modified carbon pricing system which would give billions of dollars to the private energy sector in return for poor or uncertain results, according to informed insiders, Joyce said he would not support the policy under any circumstances and warned that National MPs and their constituents would go to the barricades to stop it. In Turnbull’s view the threat meant that Joyce had joined the “Abbottistas” and he began planning to dump him.
Coincidently, Canberra’s rumour mill began to stir; stories were leaked to Rupert Murdoch newspapers, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian, and they were immediately spread throughout News Ltd’s Australia-wide newspaper chain.
Almost overnight, jovial Joyce became a reviled and hated figure. He had been thrown under a bus – but who was the driver?
Joyce’s successor was the almost unknown Michael McCormack, MP for the Riverina, who has the appearance of a neatly turned-out concierge at an average four-star hotel.
In private, leading Nationals concede that McCormack is “doing quite a good job” but they still regard him as a temporary seat warmer.
Joyce, on the other hand, is speaking at Nationals meetings all over the country, backslapping branch members in pubs and clubs, raising cash and behaving like someone who is in charge.
He remains the clear leadership favourite among MPs from NSW and Queensland, but probably not with their wives or grown-up children. His public statements this week in support of embattled Labor MP for Lindsay, Emma Husar, were designed to woo the female vote. (“Barnaby Joyce reaches across the aisle to support Emma Husar” by Dana McCauley, previously with The Australian in the role of media reporter specialising in gender politics.)
Could the Nationals take a step backwards and bring back Barnaby Joyce as their leader? Yes they could; the Nationals are that kind of outfit.
Labor’s Senate capers
Labor Senators this week crossed the floor to vote with the Liberals, Nationals and minority party riff-raff to kill a Bill which would have allowed elected assemblies in the Northern Territory and the ACT to pass voluntary euthanasia laws.
Under a 1997 Act introduced by the atrocious scoundrel “Children Overboard” Kevin Andrews at the behest of Prime Minister John Howard, NT and ACT legislators were barred from introducing laws which did not have Canberra’s approval.
This week a private member’s Bill was debated in the Senate to restore the powers of the NT and ACT Assemblies to introduce their own euthanasia laws if they so desired.
Liberal and Nationals rejected the Bill by 36 votes to 34, a majority of two. The majority saw a conga line of reactionaries join hands across the aisles: Eric Abetz, Fraser Anning, Cory Bernardi, Brian Burston, Michaelia Cash, Mitch Fifield, Field Marshal Jim Molan, James Paterson and Zed Seselja.
But the Coalition could not have won the vote without the support of Labor senators who were given a “conscience” vote (on an article of clear party policy). Five Labor senators who joined the extreme right to kill the Bill were Pat Dodson (WA), Don Farrell (SA), Chris Ketter (Qld), Deborah O’Neill (NSW) and Helen Polly (Tas). Only Dodson who was respecting indigenous cultural sensitivities to suicide had a proper reason for his vote; the others were betraying the wishes of the public, glaringly demonstrated in repeated opinion surveys.
Dinner of the Month
The Zionist Organisation of America is holding its annual dinner on November 4 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway, New York – beginning with a glatt kosher gourmet buffet reception at 4.30pm followed by a glatt kosher gourmet dinner at 6pm and a dessert reception after dinner. Honorees and presenters include Ambassador John Bolton, US National Security Adviser; Ambassador Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany; Mark Levin, Fox News commentator and radio host; Bob Shillman, “world class entrepreneur and philanthropist”; Ms Kimberly Guilfoyle, Gala Emcee and co-host at The Five on Fox News. All attendees must bring government-issued photo ID. Ticket price US$750.
PS: Ambassador Grenell is openly gay with a live-in partner. Gay marriage is banned in Israel. Should be a fun dinner, especially if a legless Gaza refugee tries to get in; almost every attendee will have a gun under their tuxedo.