Look if US President Obama can try to cosy up to us referring to Brisbane as "BrisVegas" I reckon we can call him Bazza. The political pundits may call him a “lame duck president” but Bazza may have done us punters in Australia a bloody big favour!
For the average voter in Australia, he is a dead-set celebrity, they don’t care what party he belongs to – hell they probably have no idea who the political party players are in the US - or his issues back home in the US. All they care about is that the most important politician in the world visited daggy old Brisbane and gave an awesome speech at the University of Queensland (UQ) raising a heap of issues that Joe Blow & Jill Dill in Queensland & Australia rarely consider. Issues they should think about when voting, but sadly get conned and distracted by lame bogan slogans instead. For those of us that care about the future of this nation, Obama did us a favour, getting people talking about real issues, not BS "stop the boats" crap and even better, for some non-political types, they are actually ‘comparing’ points raised in the speech against what is happening in both Queensland and Australia.
Let’s look at this speech, once you get past the obvious fluff with mentions of “BrisVegas”, “XXXX”, “beautiful one day, and then perfect the next” and the obligatory reference to the serious shit that can kill you in Australia, which endears him to punters, yet in reality, shows Obama employs excellent, researchers, aides & speech writers. What really matters is exactly what he said.
Keep in mind, my previous statement, excellent researchers… Nothing is accidental in speeches, every word uttered publicly at gigs like #G20 is researched, mulled over, double checked for ramifications, diplomatic offence etc., so every point raised was pertinent*.
Obama held his speech at a University and lauded their achievements.
Our Government is currently trying to implement policy that will make it harder to go to University.
Obama acknowledged Traditional Owners, lovely statement: “I want to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of this land and by paying my respects to your elders, past and present.”
I’m no expert in this area, but PM Abbott didn’t even acknowledge them the previous day, in fact, toadying to UK Prime Minister David Cameron with “nothing but bush before British arrived” crap speaks volumes :(
Lauded UQ “science & teaching” referring to Cervical Cancer vaccine.
First act of this current Government was to scrap Science Portfolio, none of that ‘factual, researched’ crap for this Government, we have ideology we don’t need no damn science.
4. Equality and Opportunity
Obama: “the belief everybody deserves a fair go, a fair shot”.
Our current Government has tried to install the most unfair budget in memory, kicking the vulnerable while they are down yet middle class & big business welfare is sweet.
Obama: “In that shrinking of distance that is characteristic of our contemporary world, even the Pacific, largest of oceans, has become a lake.”
We will decide who comes across this ‘lake’ and the circumstances in which they come. Unless of course you are a ‘good friend’ to Australia, though who the hell knows who our “best mates” are this week.
Obama: “We believe that nations and peoples have the right to live in security and peace; that an effective security order for Asia must be based – not on spheres of influence, or coercion, or intimidation where big nations bully the small – but on alliances of mutual security, international law and international norms that are upheld, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.”
Hmm so why was our PM waltzing around with PM David Cameron instead of meeting Asian #G20 visitors? Why are we in the Hague after spying on East Timor during negotiations? Hell, why are we turning boats back against the express wishes of our ‘best friends’ Indonesia? For that matter, who was the bright spark who thought having GG Cosgrove greet Joko Widodo upon arrival at #20 was a good idea? Seriously, East Timor is still a touchy subject in RI so we have the bloke who ran ‘that’ whole show greet the new President of Indonesia, insensitive much?
Obama: “You walk the streets of this city and you hear Chinese, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Hindi”.
Our Government is doing their damndest to scare the hell out of Australians and foster xenophobia. No scary boat people or muslims or... welcome here.
8. Human Rights
Obama: “The failure to uphold universal human rights, denying justice to citizens and denying countries their full potential. Economic inequality and extreme poverty that are a recipe for instability”
Human Rights? What the hell are they? Asylum Seekers would love to know, hell, with new security laws here, the rest of us might be heading to the UN very soon asking them to protect us from our own Government.
Obama: “Indeed, the same technologies that empower citizens like you, also give oppressive regimes new tools to stifle dissent.”
Looking at you George Brandis! nuff said...
Obama: “that the only real source of legitimacy is the consent of the people; that every individual is born equal with fundamental rights, inalienable rights, and that it is the responsibility of governments to uphold these rights.”
Queensland now has Voter ID laws & legislation aimed at shutting up dissent. The Federal Government doesn’t believe we are all born equal, quite obvious to them that only ‘whites of calibre’, big business & lobbyists deserve the right to have access & influence Government. Also Queensland is effectively a dictatorship with its winner takes all government, no upper house, and LNP controlled CCC.
11. International Obligations - ISIL, Ebola, MH17
Obama:- “But even in each of these international efforts, some of our strongest partners are our allies and friends in this region, including Australia.”
ISIL - umm Australia is tossing the ADF overseas whilst screwing them over pay to fight the “Death Cult” or whatever hyperbole Abbott is currently rabbitting on about.
Ebola - well we didn’t care about that until one of the LNP mates pointed out they could make a profit from it, who cares if likes of Médecins Sans Frontières, an NGO are actually are experts in the region and could have made 20 million dollars go a hell of a long way in real ‘help’ terms.
MH17 - Obscenely used by PM to make him look like the tough man internationally with ‘shirtfront’ BS instead of dealing with Putin sensibly and responsibility to work together in the aim of giving victims families answers to this tragedy.
12. Addressing Climate Change
Obama: “And here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change. Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires.”
HAHA Serious slap down to the “Climate Change is Crap” current Government of which much has already been written. Guess Tones didn’t get to set that G20 Agenda after all? ;-)
13. Great Barrier Reef
Obama: “The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened.”
Yes Mr President, many of us would like to see it in “50 years from now”, hell 5000 years into the future or more. Yet, the Queensland Government is doing its damndest to kill it off for mining profit and our Federal Minister for
destroying The Environment is giving them carte blanche to do it.
Obama: “We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change...Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.”
Oh deary me, “Axe the Tax” Poof! the Carbon tax is gone; Mining Tax gone; Climate Council, gone; RET, nearly gone plus plus plus…
Obama: “We support freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, a free and open internet, strong civil societies, because the voices of the people must be heard and leaders must be held accountable – even though it’s uncomfortable sometimes.”
Have a gander at Queensland’s legislation in last few years VLAD, shutting down Unions & more. Check out Brandis shenanigans in last 6 months, Data Retention, ASIO Bill... Hell, the kowtowing to Mr Murdoch’s News Corp alone by this Government curbs our freedom of information, or freedom to actually access ‘real’ information.
Obama: “We’ll advance human dignity by standing up for the rights of minorities, because no one’s equality should ever be denied.”
Now that is a joke in this nation, the only minority that gets listened to here is the CEO’s of the ASX200, and Cardinal Pell of course...
Obama:- “We will stand up for freedom of religion – the right of every person to practice their faith as they choose – because we are all children of God, and we are all fallible.”
Australia, sure you can have that, as long as it is ‘Christian’, it would also help if you are white as well.
Obama: “We will stand up for our gay and lesbian fellow citizens, because they need to be treated equally under the law.”
Ah ask Premier Newman & Mr Abbott about same-sex union? Actually, ask Newman why Queensland won’t wipe archaic consensual gay sex 'crimes' and ask Mr Brandis why they had to over-turn same sex marriage in the ACT?
Obama: “We will stand up for the rights and futures of our wives and daughters and partners, because I believe that the best measure of whether a nation is going to be successful is whether they are tapping the talents of their women and treating them as full participants in politics and society and the economy.”
Australia - One women in Cabinet; Minister for women is a man, the PM himself who mercilessly abused our former female Prime Minister, Rich ladies PPL, the list goes on, Laydeez, please rev up your Irons :(
20. Youth Matter
This was a recurring theme throughout the speech, obviously at a University this is a fair call.
For us in Australia, the youth should be paying attention to this Government. Unfair unemployment changes will hurt them badly, affecting them for their entire lives in some cases. There is also lobbying to lower wages, especially penalty time to hit hospitality and youth workers the most. TAFES are being shut down all over the nation, Universities may soon be out of reach, Access to Health may soon be out of reach, civil liberties will be curbed for the sake of so-called Security and if they want a future that is sustainable, well, they really do need to start paying attention to this Government and asking the hard questions, some already are, but not enough yet. The list of policy that directly impacts on youth is becoming never ending.
Obviously someone smarter than me could pull that speech apart much better and compare how it reflects on our current Government. The above is just my quick take. In fact, I was not a fan of #G20, the waste of money, the harm to local Business, the extra Newman Laws making us a Police State and more, I never expected anything worthwhile to come out of it. BUT regardless of lame star quality attraction which is most likely the only reason that many punters paid attention to Obama’s speech, for mine, who cares! If even a few Australians, particularly Queenslanders who have an election coming up in the next 6 months take note of the above points and maybe ask a few more questions - as I have already seen a few do - then Obama’s speech is a winner and we have to say a big Thank You to President Obama.
*Speaking of what is behind ‘speeches’... Seriously have to wonder what the hell our own PM Tony Abbott was thinking with his opening ‘whinge’ at the G20 Leaders’ Retreat earlier in the day? If you can stomach the cringe read it, though how a whine about the Senate not playing fair & copping his 7 buck health care hit was appropriate at a leaders summit is beyond me. He either has really crappy advisors, or he has good advisors and over-rides them, either way, someone in power in the LNP needs to pull him aside and get him to wake the hell up. Quite frankly it was embarrassing!
Graphic: Original photo Andrew Meares @mearesy, memed by @geekrulz as you do ;-)
PS. Credit to Geoffrey Payne @geoffrey_payne for getting me thinking about speech and it's effect on punters regardless of political reality, this morning :)
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