The dangers of pollies grandstanding

The political feeding frenzy over the execution of the two Bali 9 ringleaders seems to know no bounds and the further it goes the more bizarre it has become. Even to the point where it stands to do real damage.

Yesterday’s AM program had a horrible example from Independent Senator Nick Xenophon that really was scraping the bottom of the barrel of thoughtlessness.

Now I understand Senator X is frustrated about not being able to influence another country, and I “get” that the death penalty is a barbaric and blunt instrument that wont solve their drug problems, but viewing the big picture is required when dealing with international politics.

Of course Senator X is not the only pollie who has a poor understanding of the importance of good relations with Indonesia. Our very own PM has really struggled trying to find a balance between grandstanding and being a reliable friend and his progress on the matter has been frightfully slow up to this point. In fact his “progress” may simply be just a selfish realisation that his “turn back the boats” policy was doomed with Indonesian assistance. He may still be oblivious to the overall security implications for Australia.

Here is a bit of the background these folk appear to be missing.

Indonesia is still making it’s way towards being a robust Democracy. It claimed Indonesia it’s independence from the Dutch after WW2 and has travelled a bloody path to get to the relatively politically stable place it holds today. They have done marvellously well to reach this point considering they have low level religious unhappiness that is being targeted by hardline Islamists, and a powerful military that has often been implicated in killings associated with dealing with that unrest.

That they have a non-military leader today in Joko Widodo is pretty surprising considering the history.

Now what did I find offensive about Senator X’s comments?

Angrily stating the President’s behaviour was that of a “weak Leader” was petulant to begin with, and arrogant in the belief that Australia should be allowed to call the shots in someone else’s country. But beyond that it was designed to destabilise the new Leader’s confidence and, perhaps inadvertently, give ammunition to the more aggressive players in Indonesian politics to use against President Widodo.

That’s a double fail in my view. Giving support to hotter heads in the forces of darkness, and prodding the President into making further displays of “the strong man”. Quite the opposite approach one would expect from a presumably intelligent person.

Over the years Australia has had some dangerous moments with Indonesia. Some having the potential to devolve into exchanges of “live” rounds over border issues, but luckily wiser heads have prevailed.

Before Senator X decides to line up with the short sighted rightwing political commentators who seem to want to play soldiers, he should check our history and reflect on the healthy and productive relationship we currently enjoy and what possible gain there is for Australia in destabilising a friendly Government in favor of an Islamic state or a military strongman.


The AM segment featuring Senator X

Summary of Indonesia from Wikipedia

Nick Xenophon’s home page

Another shameless Herald Sun agitation

Islam in Indonesia Wikipedia


4 thoughts on “The dangers of pollies grandstanding

  1. Very good post. As you well know, our right wing “leaders” love to push the more aggressive, less thoughtful leaders, too. Idiots, one and all.

  2. And, to add to Lauri’s comment, our right-wing leaders are also – to a man – always pushing for more death penalties.
    So what if the guy has an effective I.Q. in the 60s and his court-appointed attorney slept through his trial?
    So what is forensic science pretty much agrees that the “arson” that killed his family was an accidental fire?
    Kill ’em anyway!
    I’m not at all disagreeing with what you say here – heck, our guys – pretty much all of both sides – also seem to think it’s our business to tell everyone what to do.
    But it almost makes me teary to contemplate a discussion where the beginning point for everyone is that the death penalty is a barbaric concept.

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