Pacific fault lines plague Morrison as Labor unveils regional strategy

Capitalizing on Scott Morrison’s lingering troubles over his Solomon Islands debacle, Labor maintained the campaign’s unusual foreign policy theme so far by revealing its Asia-Pacific strategy this morning, with Penny Wong replacing Anthony Albanese. Half a billion dollars in additional aid over four years, an expanded Pacific labor scheme under which participants can bring family members, and a new class of permanent migration visa – these form the core of the policy, along with an unspecified “Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing.” Camaraderie”.

That is the limit of Labor’s willingness to seriously address the existential threat of climate change to Pacific Island states, the opposition has already made clear that the mere fact that we are a global laggard in a crisis that threatens the very existence of our Pacific neighbors won It will not be enough to change their support for fossil fuels. The only difference between the main parties on the climate, it seems, is that Labor isn’t kidding about removing the Pacific states. At least not publicly.

Also on the Pacific Labor agenda is a possible restoration of shortwave radio services in the region through ABC. Long an icon for “soft power” advocates, Radio Australia even had supporters within the Howard government. In 2000, Alexander Downer—reportedly he was horrified that Kerry Stokes’ Australian television was showing 1980s-era episodes of A country practice to regional audiences — secured a partial reversal of earlier cuts to the RA budget and established a television service operated by ABC. It’s unclear how useful shortwave radio is in an Internet-dominated non-emergency media environment, but the Chinese thought long enough to take over RA’s old frequencies after the Guthrie-era ABC would abandon them.

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The possible restoration of RA drew derision from Morrison, who offered a line recently sent from the working kitchen of the PM’s brain trust: “I sent the AFP, the Labor Party wants to send the ABC when it comes to their Pacific fix.” . They have a Questions and answers solution in the Pacific. A bit harsh, one would think, at least given ABC News’s current state of fear, one could be sure that the peoples of the Pacific would get a Coalition-friendly perspective on regional events.

But Morrison, who presumably thinks “soft power” comes from a wind turbine, is still stranded, like Tom Hanks, in the Pacific, with reporters, perhaps among Morrison yelling “Wilson!” in Peter Dutton’s head, and continues to ask nagging questions about the biggest foreign policy flop since Iraq. In particular, Morrison’s claims of a “red line” around a Chinese base in the Solomon Islands continue to raise questions about what exactly Morrison meant, especially given to the United States, through the lavishly appointed Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Pacific and East Asia. Daniel Kritenbrink refused to rule out military force if China were to establish any kind of force projection potential in the Solomon Islands.

“It would not be responsible for me to speculate in public about what Australia, the US and others would be doing in circumstances like that,” Morrison said, leaving open the possibility of the RAAF bombing Honiara, another diplomatic triumph in a region of utter success. for Australia of late: one can almost feel a new Kerry Stokes-funded hall at the Australian War Memorial and Military Theme Park coming up.

For good measure, Morrison is still obsessed with lying and leaking text messages from re-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, who has far more influence in the Pacific than Morrison. Had he congratulated Macron on his re-election? He had sent a message “directly,” Morrison said, as well as “formally.” He did not say whether his direct message bounced off Monsieur le Président’s portable phone.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Morrison also had to clean up a Barnaby Joyce-backed LNP candidate by claiming that the famous 2050 net-zero pledge, that press gallery’s much-loved fig leaf for climate inaction, in fact he was no longer locked up and had some wiggle room. In fact, the candidate was referring to how to get to net zero, Morrison insisted, not the actual number.

Given that Morrison literally has no plans to get to net zero beyond waiting for something tech to come along, it might have been one of the first truthful things he said on the campaign trail.

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Peter Fray

Peter Fray
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