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Byron Shire
May 24, 2024

Stop the three word slogans

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New attractions for Mullum2Bruns Paddle

There’s new free activities to enjoy at Banner Park in Brunswick Heads after this year’s Mullum2Bruns Paddle, which will be held this Sunday, May 26, from 9.30am till 2.30pm.

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Cartoon of the week – 22 May, 2024

The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

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British PM Rishi Sunak is reaching out to Australia for inspiration as he dives in the polls. Cloudcatcher Media with Midjourney AI.

Parliament in Canberra is in the midst of another interminable break, but it’s been a big week in politics, with the departures from public life of Dan Andrews and Mike Pezzullo, Warren Mundine and Noel Pearson crossing swords at the National Press Club, and the tabling of the epic Disability Royal Commission Report.

Over in the UK, temporary Prime Minister Rishi ‘Stop the Boats’ Sunak is continuing to copy the very worst political ideas to emerge from Australia, with disastrous results. The exact slogan used by Tony Abbott to get himself elected in 2013 is now adorning the front of Mr Sunak’s lecterns in the UK, following the Tory dictum, if in doubt, push down.

As his country disintegrates, post-Boris and post-Brexit, Rishi Sunak has decided the best way to garner popular support is to attack vulnerable people from beyond the sea who can’t vote, look different, and have no money to employ parliamentary lobbyists. As was the case here, forcing refugees to return to danger or imprisoning them is in direct defiance of the UK’s international legal obligations.

Bibby Stockholm moored in Portland. Photo Ashley Smith, Wikipedia CC.

Boats not going anywhere

Mr Sunak and his Home Secretary Suella Braverman have even brought back the colonial-era prison hulk concept, forcing some asylum seekers into high density barges, such as the Bibby Stockholm, an idea which has since run into problems with a legionella outbreak, local protests, and safety concerns from fire authorities.

It’s no accident that the Conservative Party is copying Australia, considering Tory strategist Sir Lynton Crosby was the federal director of the Australian Liberals during the Howard era, and his Port Macquarie-born protégé Isaac Levido was an advisor to both Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison. The toxic legacy of Australia’s stop the boats policies (multiple deaths, torture, and more than $10 billion paid by taxpayers) have been ignored. Then as now, all that seems to matter is the short term political reward.

On top of this, Rishi Sunak has just undone the baby steps of his predecessors at 10 Downing Street in terms of responding to the climate emergency. Isaac Levido is reportedly behind the recent abandonment of the UK government’s climate commitments, along with propping up the gas industry, and the announcement of ‘no new taxes on flying or eating meat’ (which no one was proposing anyway, sensible as it sounds).

Despite his many faults, Boris Johnson knew enough of the science of climate change to understand the particular peril to the UK should the Gulf Stream stop behaving the way it’s done for thousands of years. Linked to climate change, this current is already slowing, with increasingly dangerous weather extremes predicted if the situation gets worse. But science is now as unfashionable at Westminster as strange hair.

John Howard and Alexander Downer in happier times, sharing a flag with a little Union Jack on it. Photo ABC.

Cheers from the bunyip aristocracy

While the Liberals love to say it doesn’t matter what Australia does, globally, particularly in terms of anything positive, like exporting less coal, it’s clear that the worst of our ideas are contagious, and vice versa.

Rishi Sunak’s recent politicking was publicly greeted by Alexander Downer as something wonderful which the Australian Liberal Party should ‘study’ and presumably emulate, completing the idiotic right wing echo chamber from one side of the world to the other.

Despite this endorsement, polls suggest Rishi Sunak has little hope of remaining in office after the next UK general election, which isn’t surprising considering even his own party preferred the disastrous Liz Truss. With this in mind, Mr Sunak appears intent on using his remaining time in the top job to enrich his ultra-wealthy mates, at whatever cost.

Speaking of ultra-wealthy mates, in what was either the final decision of an ailing Rupert Murdoch or the first of son Lachlan, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has just been elevated from podcast host and part-time firefighter to board member of Fox Corporation, pending the agreement of shareholders.

It’s hard to say what London-born Mr Abbott could possibly bring to the Fox table, apart from more negativity, but at least Rishi Sunak must be happy to see his mentor on the rise again.

David Lowe
David Lowe. Photo Tree Faerie.

Originally from Canberra, David Lowe is an award-winning film-maker, writer and photographer with particular interests in the environment and politics. He’s known for his campaigning work with Cloudcatcher Media.

Long ago, he did work experience in Parliament House with Mungo MacCallum.

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  1. Yes, but they have changed the name to ‘asylum-seekers’ now.
    So, it’s ‘open slather’ for one and all, at the expense of the country’s taxpayers in providing housing, healthy and infrastructure etc..
    Clearly Bravenan/Sunak and even now Ursula von der Leyen at long last have realised that EU’s ‘open borders’ policies were wrong all along.
    Just as have many people in Europe have found that green energy is not as ‘clean and cheap’ as promised.
    But lagging-behind Australia is presently only on the cusp of both of these realities.
    We need a proper Referendum on both these important issues – not the fatuous one that will be presently forced to vote on.

  2. How does that saying go, “desperate times call for desperate measure”.
    Team Rishi is headed for exit lounge come the next election so dive straight to the bottom of the barrel for ….’The Other’.

    • He has been aiding and abetting the displacement of indigenous people. 2/3 of the population of London is now non-indigenous. This is a slow rolling genocide of the indigenous people. And just for good measure, I’m going to use the word indigenous one more time to point out your hypocrisy!

  3. As they climb out of the boat and onto the beach we can’t give them enough , brandishing btgheir iPads and phones writhing in agony with falser sorrow .

    Meantime our health system is failing . homelessness is through the roof. and our aged care are treated like cattle .

    I do hope we can accomodate these refugee. _ middle-class freeloaders , le3ts give them a new car and a house .

    Our unemployed and elderly homeless can’t wait to go to the back of the queue. WAKE UP AUSTRALIA ….

  4. 50 people a day that have flown into this country
    are claiming asylum..no need for boats ..book your plane ticket and you are assured almost 💯 percent
    Of permanent residency…and it will not cost you a dollar to to roll from court to court judge to judge
    You can’t lose ..that is the legal system in this
    Country all subsidised by Taxpayer’s…
    And why not Australia the greens say the more
    The better … welfare certainly is a contributing factor in this country shopping decision…
    How u good is Australia…

    • Barrow, if you have a problem with refugees being granted their rights under the UN conventions then you need to get onto Emperor Albo to get Australia to axe our signing up to the UNHCR and the 1951 Refugee Convention.
      As bad as Lab and LibNat have been with their treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, neither of them have gone anywhere near abandoning that UN Convention.

      • Joachim..as of now ..ABC news ..rentals
        Are at a all time low.. critical supplies
        and this current government is about to
        Welcome 1.5 million new arrivals…
        Where are they going to live ? We Australia
        Takes it its fair share you know this !
        By the way Joachim not much diversity
        In China or Japan .. look after ourselves first
        And that includes the 240 thousand sleeping
        Rough ever night in Australia and of that
        Amount..40 thousand children Joachim !!
        As many homeless has suggested to me
        Only wish i was a refugee they get looked
        After” WE DONT” ..

        • Barrow, what can I say, Australia is a failed state and ‘Its all the fault of the new arrivals’.
          Like I suggested earlier, get onto Emperor Albo, he can sort it.

  5. we have no idea what “policies” were enacted in our name.. how does this make our ability to discern what is acceptable.. a royal commission is required to get to the truth.. is orange boats full of desperate people being thrown off naval boats on the high seas acceptable to Australians.. maybe but lets get to the truth of how the stopping of the boats occurred and who knew what..ignorance is not bliss.. how can we say we are exporting a workable policy to the UK when we don’t even know the mechanics of it..

  6. What a weak do-gooding leftist government we have. It would be just as easy to stop the plane arrivals as it is the boats, however the government lacks knowledge, experience and a big enough ticker to take action. They may offend someone. Get Scott Morrison back on the job, he will show them how it’s done, HaHaHa.

    • This country has a skills and youth shortage problem Greg. We have always had a migration program to deal with these issues because successive conservative governments have starved our skills training sectors. We also need more working taxpayers to fund the and staff the aged care you’re going to need.

      • To solve the problems caused my immigration, you want more immigration? Demoralisation of children by the national curriculum have caused them to have a shortage of practical, saleable skills, and to adopt lifestyles that preclude reproduction. Third-world immigrants as a group do not have net positive tax effect. However, the rise in total citizen count allows the government to borrow more foreign money under global financial rules.

        • The national curriculum you say – of course. They should come out of school ready to teach, nurse perform surgery, dentistry, build houses forecast the weather etc etc.

          And it’s all because education is turning kids into LGBTQ or I, so they won’t have children.

          Christian you need to adopt the scientific method that looks at the evidence and forms theories to be tested, rather than read a theory then look for any evidence to support it. Or worse, start with the theory and stretch your imagination to fit it.

          You really like to draw a long 🏹

  7. Lizaedbreath, you took my advice. A little humour slipped out, good work. Now please try to write facts rather than anti conservative narrative.

  8. KD, you seem to be an accomplished hose holder and shaker, maybe you could give Mr Morrison a few lessons. How’s about you ask Mr Abbott about this subject.


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