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Thread: The International Politics Thread (zomg the rest of the world exists)

  1. #721
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    Can someone explain to me wtf is going on in Australia?

  2. #722
    Loves ponies. Hates phonies. Regina Phalange's Avatar
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    Ahhhhh. I found a good explainer. I need step by step and something NOT in Aussie slang which might as well not be English.

    Here are the basics. The week began badly for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a kind of Mitt Romney conservative with a business-friendly schtick and softer progressive views about gay marriage and getting rid of the Queen. (He tried to claim he was like Trump—both supposed political outsiders—but no one bought that for a second, especially after their very testy first phone call.) For months, he’s been facing a revolt from the right wing bits of his conservative governing coalition, aided by radio blowhards and Murdoch’s tabloids.

    Finally, a leader of this rebellious faction emerged, a filthy rich former cop with dead eyes from Queensland, one Peter Dutton, who became famous beyond Australia’s borders for ruthlessly enforcing them. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who had been deposed by Turnbull and not-so patiently waiting for the moment of revenge for being turfed out himself, has had his fingerprints all over this coup.

    Desperate, Turnbull, called the first “spill” (that’s what we Aussies call the party leadership vote, which has the additional resonance of “blood”) earlier this week—and won. But he knew his days were numbered: Dutton resigned from his cabinet and moved to the backbench to whip up more support. Turnbull, appalled by Dutton’s betrayal (and, presumably, his personality), knew that while he couldn’t survive the week, he might still be able to organize a more unifying candidate for the inevitable showdown.

    What about the treasurer? A stocky bloke called Scott “ScoMo” Morrison, who basically looks like the aggregate Australian man of a certain age, was asked to step up for the post with the world’s worst job security. With his last opportunity to deploy some graceful political jiu jitsu, Turnbull didn’t challenge the leadership and called the backlash an “insurgency” and “madness”. The party voted. And in a big loss to the revolutionaries and revenge artists, Dutton lost, and an utterly unexpected Morrison became the country’s 30th Prime Minister—the sixth in just over a decade. Turnbull was the fourth prime minister in a row to be sacked before serving the full three-year term.

    Even Australians are asking, “WTF.”

  3. #723
    Senior Member fluteoftheloon's Avatar
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    Thanks for this!

    I tried reading up on it on wikipedia earlier but basically stopped at the "the Liberal Party is actually the conservatives" part because wtf.

  4. #724
    trapped in the worst timeline just owls's Avatar
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    What the fuck is going on in China? An estimated 1million+ Muslims rounded up and put in "indoctrination" camps :

    Residents said people have been sent to the camps for visiting relatives abroad; for possessing books about religion and Uighur culture; and even for wearing a T-shirt with a Muslim crescent. Women are sometimes detained because of transgressions by their husbands or sons.

    One official directive warns people to look for 75 signs of “religious extremism,” including behavior that would be considered unremarkable in other countries: growing a beard as a young man, praying in public places outside mosques or even abruptly trying to give up smoking or drinking.
    And today:
    China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.

  5. #725
    Quote Originally Posted by fluteoftheloon View Post
    Thanks for this!

    I tried reading up on it on wikipedia earlier but basically stopped at the "the Liberal Party is actually the conservatives" part because wtf.
    It's easier to get your head around if you think of the Australian 'Liberal' party as being the '(Neo)Liberal Party'. Their mantra is basically reducing taxes for the wealthy, cutting public services, selling State-owned assets, and doing anything that benefits their political donors.


    Quote Originally Posted by Regina Phalange View Post
    Can someone explain to me wtf is going on in Australia?
    Since the almost 12-year reign of John Howard between 1996-2007, the Liberal party veered to the right on social issues, and that has been magnified since the election of Tony Abbott in 2013 (turfed in 2015). Malcolm Turnbull (2015-2018) was the more-palatable face of this, though the party's policies did not change during his period as Prime Minister. The (more-)right wing powerbrokers in the party decided to dump him because they saw their party's* primary vote decline in the polls, while the even further-right Pauline Hanson's One Nation rabble of a party's vote was increasing in the polls (though still in single digits). Their reasoning, I guess, is that the party was losing votes because they weren't right-wing enough. So, naturally, they had to dump the more 'moderate' leader Turnbull. They were rewarded with a two party-preferred vote (voting is preferential here, meaning you rank every candidate on the ballot paper from 1 (your preferred candidate/party) to however many candidates there are; ultimately this means that every ballot preferences one of the major parties over the other, regardless of which party the voter votes for) of 56 (opposition) - 44 (government), dropping from 51-49. The government have not won a single major poll since the July 2016 election, and that is with the majority of the mainstream media backing them.

    (*strictly speaking, the current Australian government is a coalition of the Liberal, National, and Liberal National [the two parties merged into one in Queensland] parties)

    Australia does not have a presidential system, so we vote for our local candidate rather than the leader of the party/Prime Minister. A party leader is elected by winning a majority of votes from Members of Parliament in their party in the lower house (House of Representatives) of parliament. If the MP's in their party decide that they're not happy with the leadership, an MP from the party can call for a 'spill' motion. If the call for a spill is supported by more than half of the members of that party's MP's, members of the party can nominate themselves for the position of party leader, and then a vote follows. The upside of this is that if we had someone clearly unsuited to the role, like Trump, our MP's from that party could vote to get rid of them without needing to go to an election - this is essentially what happened with Tony Abbott in 2015, who lost the Prime Ministership in just under two years of winning the 2013 election (the first spill to replace him was called more than 6 months earlier, less than 18 months into his term as Prime Minister). The downside is the turnover of Prime Ministers we've had in the last 8 years, and (some) voters feeling like they haven't had a say in voting for the replacement Prime Minister (even though, as I said, we don't technically vote for our Prime Minister directly).

    I saw this graphic after the recent change in Prime Minister, which illustrates it nicely.



    In a nutshell, this is my take on what has happened over the last 10 years in Australian Federal politics:

    Kevin Rudd 2010 - lost PM role in 2010 due to walking away from climate change (he is quoted as having said this was "the great moral challenge of our time") policy (carbon emissions trading scheme) which was blocked in the Senate; could have instead gone to a double-dissolution election (dissolving both Houses of Parliament - the Senate and House of Representatives), but didn't. Reported to be a micromanager and not well-liked by his colleagues.

    Julia Gillard 2013 - white-anted by deposed PM Kevin Rudd and allies plus media. The 2010 election resulted in a hung parliament and subsequent minority government. Couldn't adequately/honestly explain why Kevin Rudd, who was popular with voters, was 'knifed' in his first term of government. She wasn't seen as being a legitimate Prime Minister by the way she acquired the position, and this perception was cemented by her not winning the 2010 election with a parliamentary majority. Because she made a deal with the 'right' faction of the party to gain their support in her bid for becoming PM, she was beholden to them a little, e.g. with her statements on marriage being "between a man and a woman", even though she was unmarried herself and an atheist.

    Kevin Rudd 2013 - people were sick of the 'instability' of the Labor government, who seemed to have been at war with each other over the previous 3 years, and wanted them out of government.

    Tony Abbott 2015 - a national embarrassment. People were glad to see the back of him. Even though he, like Kevin Rudd, was 'knifed' during his first term, it was a relief to many that he was finally gone, in contrast to Rudd being booted in 2010 despite being popular at the time with the electorate (but not so within his own party). The polls had dipped to 55-45 in the opposition's favour towards the end of Abbott's tenure. While Prime Minister, Abbott made several "captain's calls" (his wording) that made most of the Australian population think wtf... like bringing back the knights and dames honour system, and knighting Prince Phillip on Australia Day, 2015. His PM-ship was pretty much dead after that incident, and the first spill to replace him was called soon after.

    Malcolm Turnbull 2018 - for the reasons I outlined earlier. He was seen as being too 'left' by the (virtually far-)right of his party, i.e. supporting same-sex marriage, believing in climate change (before he was elevated to being PM, anyway). Even though the policies hadn't really changed since taking over from Tony Abbott, it still wasn't enough for the right of his party, which would probably have never been satisfied with him. He basically gave them all that they wanted, as it was. Burnt a lot of political capital with 'moderate' voters (the polls were up to 56-44 in the government's favour during his honeymoon period), taken in by his urbane image, for not standing up to the right of his party. Won the 2016 election with only a one-seat majority, putting the government in a perilous position to lose the next election. Didn't go to an election soon enough after gaining the role of PM, during his honeymoon period.


    edit - if the current polling continues until the next federal election, expected to be held in or before May 2019, we will have another new Prime Minister next year, bringing the total to 7 Prime Ministers this decade (including two separate stints from Kevin Rudd) That's assuming that the current Prime Minister isn't replaced before then, and that the next one (the guy who has been the opposition leader since 2013) can make it until the end of 2019...

    As was pointed out when our current Prime Minister took over from Malcolm Turnbull, the last Prime Minister who served a full term was John Howard, in 2004-2007.


    Adding to the fun and games, a byelection for Malcolm Turnbull's vacated seat of Wentworth is being held on October 20. A prominent independent candidate is running, and she could win on preferences. If the Liberal party lose the byelection, they will lose their majority in the House of Representatives. One independent MP has said she will not guarantee confidence and supply for the government if they lose their majority in the House of Representatives - this could potentially force them to an early election for which they are unprepared. There have been large swings against the government (29% in one seat) in byelections held earlier this year. Potentially fun times ahead.

    When Malcolm Turnbull became PM in 2015, there were reports that hospital emergency departments had stopped asking patients "who is the Prime Minister?" as part of evaluating patients' orientation, because it changes so often.
    Last edited by DialF; 10-01-2018 at 07:18 AM.

  6. #726
    By the methane lakes Bloody Grace's Avatar
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    Buckle up, everyone! Please invade us before it's too late thx
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/12/b...-brussels.html
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    A certain darkness is needed to see the stars - Under a warm tuscan sun

  7. #727
    By the methane lakes Bloody Grace's Avatar
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    Buckle up, everyone! Please invade us before it's too late thx

    Why Italy Could Be the Epicenter of the Next Financial Crisis
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/12/b...-brussels.html

    The good thing is that I now know that I'm overqualified to run a G8 nation, and I'm a graphic designer.
    Last edited by Bloody Grace; 10-18-2018 at 10:17 PM.
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  8. #728
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has had enough of misogynist men.



    Magnificent!
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

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