Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 29, 2005

Down Under

Dr. Rice, there is an urgent call from Canberra ...

From the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney, a poll on public opinion and foreign policy (PDF, 500KB).

Looking beyond our shores, Australians feel most positive about the countries with which we have longstanding, deep and stable relationships. New Zealand (94%), the United Kingdom (86%), Europe (85%), Singapore (83%) and Japan (84%) are our favourites, quite closely followed by China (69%).

The glaring omission from this list is the United States, for which only 58% of Australians have positive feelings. ... So what is it about America that we don ’t like? For a start, 68% of Australians think we take too much notice of the views of the United States in our foreign policy. When we asked respondents to rate a series of potential threats, we discovered that by one measure both Islamic fundamentalism and United States foreign policies are worrying to 57% of Australians: a startling equivalence. By the same measure, China ’s growing power worries only 35% of Australians, and comes last in a list of threats.

Posted by b on March 29, 2005 at 02:00 PM | Permalink

Comments

No surprises in the poll. But what is its purpose? Once upon a time you could give people the benefit of the doubt. In today's world -- that is a foolish and dangerous premise.

The "Lowy Institute for International Policy" ! Sounds very impressive, doesn't it. If you live in the US, you can discover that Frank Lowy owns a shopping center near you.

What is the purpose of this ? Buggered if I know. What I do know is that we don't need yet another shadowy "think tank" funded by the oligarchy.

Frank Lowy usually keeps himself busy with little things like putting competitors out of business with polical influence in re-zoning.

I don't think my take on this is perverse or that this is a trivial matter. The corporate media prints the agenda set by corporate heavyweights.

Democracy is fucked.

Frank Lowy is Chairman and co-founder of the Westfield Group. Westfield is a publicly-listed, global shopping centre company. Mr Lowy is a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, a director of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc in the UK and Chairman of the Australian Soccer Association.

Posted by: DM | Mar 29, 2005 5:24:17 PM | 1

if lowry's polls say that, image what the truth without the corporate slant is about the US.

Posted by: lenin's ghost | Mar 29, 2005 6:09:29 PM | 2

dm

i know you have made a home there & for you it is a refuge but for me that island has not memories i want to remember. as i've sd in other post in relation to that country - only the aborignals & the immigrants merit to call it their own

what i remember from it that it was borne in hatred (robert hughes/the fatal shore & john pilgers 'hidden agendas') & it has remained that way

my mother once sd to go to bed & not like who you are is a quite different proposition from going to your bed not knowing who you are. she suggested that a person who did not know who they were was a dangerous propositions. so too a country that does not want to know what or who it is

i have been politically active in many countries but it is in australia that i learnt - skin to skin - the the nature of state power through its police apparatus. it happened all so long ago but my memory remains clear & precise

so yes it is personal - i suppose deeply personal - but i harbour towards that country a form of hatred i wish whould leave me. i do not plan to visit it - nor have a constructive relationship with it other than some writers & painters - who seem to be in the most terrible situation - actually & metaphysically

i worked for a while with the late aboriginal historian robert mate-mate who cried & died for that country. he sung a story nobody from this century in government wants to know. aboriginals are not the only victims of a form of negligence that seems to delight in its viciousness.

the white working class have from the fifties onwards been treated with the most vibrant contempt & except fot three years 1972 - 1975 have nothing to show for their efforts.

australia is a county out on loan to anyone who wantes to buy it. it will follow any foreign leader no matter how deranged & depraved that leader may be

i feel more at home in the gutters of europe than i do in the mansions of that country.

what might have been a 'national character' is in fact nothing other than jelly - it parades its masculinity like some old boxer but has a deeply homoerotic impulse ever since the convict times. it is a deeply matriarchal society while pretending the contrary. its govt & its businesses use the aboriginal myths & legends at every opportuinity but in reality treat thos people with a hatred & a negligence that borders on the genocidal - even today

there is a magnificent tome - by one of the few white australians to call it by its real name - xavier herbert - in his novel 'poor fellow my country' who sd of australia that it was a country of cheats & scoundrels - morally he hit it right on centre

this beautiful man who could not live without his wife - his loved other - chose to enter the desert to die - to go back to the real people & become dust - he remains a heroic australian that the culteral litterati have forgotten. a poet of my generation michale dransfield - sd "in the end what will be left won't be worth stealing & so will become a an army weapons range

hopefully somewhere down the road - the chinese will make an offer to the australians that they can't refuse & even then they will do so only to protect themselves from their next door neighbours - the indonesians

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 29, 2005 6:15:49 PM | 3

& the australian band of the 70's-the saints - give it the epithet it deserves

stranded

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 29, 2005 6:47:08 PM | 4

@lenin's ghost The poll sounds close to the mark. I don't see a problem with the answers -- only the questions.

@r'giap 'One day' -- I would like to have the time to deconstruct some of your posts. At the moment, I can only give the opinion that you have a 'slight tendency' to caricature the world rather than truely understand it.

And yes, the one thing that can perhaps be gleaned from the numbers in this poll is that most understand that in the Brave New World, Australia will be an integral part of Eastasia.

Posted by: DM | Mar 29, 2005 7:14:57 PM | 5

@DM - purpose

What had me wonder was the high disregard for the US. I would have expected a better US standing expressed Down Under especially when polled and published from the right side.

My impression is that the US takes Australian support in the competition with China as a given. Looking at this poll it is not. That was news to me.

Posted by: b | Mar 30, 2005 2:21:41 AM | 6

@b

This poll got some minor airplay a day or two ago. I'm sure the poll itself is reasonably "scientific" and the results are not skewed either left or right.

What worries me is the nuance. How questions are slanted, and to what purpose. I am suspicious of polls. How the question is framed elicits certain answers.

Just who is startled here? A little bit more reinforcing propaganda needed, maybe?

Islamic fundamentalism and United States foreign policies are worrying to 57% of Australians: a startling equivalence

In time, Australians will get over the Islamaphobia. America is another matter.

Posted by: DM | Mar 30, 2005 2:57:57 AM | 7

dm

do not want to have a spat. i am not interested. neither are you. suffice to say i know australia very well indeed. & i think far from caricaturing it - it has become a caricature. you have found a home there & i am glad that for you that is a possibility

in each culture i have lived in & i have lived in many - i enter where the society functions at a real & practical level. in australia i taught writing in schools, hospitals, almongst workers, in further education. because of my politics i came to know its prisons. i was born not so very far from the gutter & in each culture i am not very far away from it. & it is from that perspective - that i look at australia or at france or new guinea for that matter for , "i have dined with kings & flown with wings & i've never been too impressed"

in my day to day work i try to construct with communities - hope, a practical hope - if only sometimes to get through the month week day - i think i understand well the practical functions of a society - i am in the middle of that machine

yet i am not bitter. but yes i do have fury & sometimes even hate - i have not yet overcome that - but it is not a hatred borne in bitterness - on the contrary i imagine its home is love

i than grâce for the enormity of quotidian life but that has never meant that i have cultivated illussion. i know from where i cme & to where i go

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 30, 2005 1:50:10 PM | 8

the saints! just thinking about them and ed kuepper and laughing clowns too.

aussie rock has many surprises: birthday party, scientists, salamandar jim, beasts of bourbon

a lot of it gloriously puerile you-need-to-kill-your-girlfriend-sometimes r&r, but wow.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30, 2005 2:08:09 PM | 9

celibate rifles, radio birdman, wet taxis, cosmic psychos, the johnnys, flash & the pan, the wet taxis, the church, the screaming tribesmen...

Posted by: b real | Mar 30, 2005 2:23:43 PM | 10

i think chris bailey has lived in sweden & amsterdam for last 15 years

& yes b real i remember them & at the core of all their work is a kind of desolation or as bailey/keupper/hay sd - stranded

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 30, 2005 2:29:05 PM | 11

music for apocalypts/those of us guided through life by our spleens: Hamlet (powpowpow) in which nick cave imagines what happens if hamlet has a gun.

uhm, he "takes action."

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30, 2005 2:37:56 PM | 12

dm
perhaps for me realities are not empirical & their truths are found in both multiplicities & on the margins.

when i work at shelmter here & many north africans think of australia as a paradise & i dissuade them quite firmly - that for me it is hell & like the rederick forrest character in apocalypse now - i would not want to die there because i know my soul would not go to heaven

all cultures forget. australia has made a virtue of that forgetting. & the people who pay the price of forgetting are always the poor, the wretched of this earth & amongst them you will find australians of all ethnic origin

there are of course brave people who live there & i honor them for their courage for perhaps i lack it but all i need is a quick glance at -theage.com.au - & my stomach turns. really

however there is a novel coming out this april - i think in picador by an old friend - gregory day - it is called the patron saint of eels - & i imagine far from refuting my 'characterisation' - the guts of his work will reinforce what i post here. & that writer is a gentle & giving man. also well known for his record -'black tower' - where he sings 14 of wb yeats poems - a very beautiful work

perhaps the greatest trilogyever written in australia is by george johnson - 'my brother jack', 'clean straw for nothing' & 'cartload of clay' - dm - you tell me what his story says

perhaps the greatest painter of the late 20th century is a new zealand colin macahon - whose trademark was the scratching out of the truth on the caves of his painting. janet frame is another

the story they tell is the australasia i know. yours while i respect it - remains for me, finally, an abstraction

slothrop i think nick cave is the least talented of his generation & i would go further & say that the entirety of my generation in artistic & political culture in australia - are exactly as xavier herbert described - "frauds & liars"

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 30, 2005 2:47:09 PM | 13

dm
perhaps for me realities are not empirical & their truths are found in both multiplicities & on the margins.

when i work at shelmter here & many north africans think of australia as a paradise & i dissuade them quite firmly - that for me it is hell & like the rederick forrest character in apocalypse now - i would not want to die there because i know my soul would not go to heaven

all cultures forget. australia has made a virtue of that forgetting. & the people who pay the price of forgetting are always the poor, the wretched of this earth & amongst them you will find australians of all ethnic origin

there are of course brave people who live there & i honor them for their courage for perhaps i lack it but all i need is a quick glance at -theage.com.au - & my stomach turns. really

however there is a novel coming out this april - i think in picador by an old friend - gregory day - it is called the patron saint of eels - & i imagine far from refuting my 'characterisation' - the guts of his work will reinforce what i post here. & that writer is a gentle & giving man. also well known for his record -'black tower' - where he sings 14 of wb yeats poems - a very beautiful work

perhaps the greatest trilogyever written in australia is by george johnson - 'my brother jack', 'clean straw for nothing' & 'cartload of clay' - dm - you tell me what his story says

perhaps the greatest painter of the late 20th century is a new zealand colin macahon - whose trademark was the scratching out of the truth on the caves of his painting. janet frame is another

the story they tell is the australasia i know. yours while i respect it - remains for me, finally, a, abstraction

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 30, 2005 2:48:48 PM | 14

b
there are many double posts today & i don't know why this is happening

also had email from both ralphbon & sally.h - that were clearly not from them but contained a virus

odd

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 30, 2005 3:00:55 PM | 15

i think nick cave is the least talented of his generation

you just lost a couple of digits on the coolnbess meter.

Birthday party was a worthy inheritor of the stooges' furiously sublime anarchy. not many can or ever have pulled of that pure dionysian ecstasy in popular music. jazz is the proper refuge of dionysus (die like a dog, test, naked city). but bday pulled it off.

blast off!

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 30, 2005 3:06:55 PM | 16

no mc5 gave birth & died to it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 30, 2005 3:44:41 PM | 17

John Howard is coming to Wadeye and Theodora Narndu gathers 39 members of her family outside her decrepit two-room house to reinforce her message to the Prime Minister.


"We want to be people living a normal life in our country as Australian citizens," says the 63-year-old Aboriginal elder.


Mr Howard may be shocked next week during what is a rare visit to a remote Aboriginal community. Wadeye, 270 kilometres south-west of Darwin, has the biggest Aboriginal population in the Northern Territory, with 2500 people, and it looks like a refugee camp in a Third World country.


An average of 17 people live in each sweltering, graffiti-covered house. Almost half the population is under 15, and most of the children have had no formal education and can't speak English. Many grow up not knowing their fathers, who are either dead or in jail. Infant mortality is four times the national average and life expectancy is 20 years less than that of non-indigenous Australians. Only 4 per cent of people of working age have mainstream jobs. The town has been the site of running battles between rival teenage gangs.

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Unlike Victorian towns of comparable size - Port Fairy or Creswick - Wadeye has no mobile phone coverage and its landline telephone service is outdated and unreliable.


Wadeye has no doctor, although funding for one has been promised. The town is cut off by road for five months each year during the wet season.


The town, built at the edge of mangroves, has no businesses such as banks, cafes, restaurants or hotels. A new study, which will have implications for other Aboriginal communities, has found that governments are spending far less on its residents than on an average Territorian child.


The study, by the ANU's John Taylor, and Owen Stanley from James Cook University, has found that for every dollar spent educating the average child in the NT, 26 cents is spent on a child in Wadeye.


It concludes that governments must reverse the pattern of overspending on "negative" areas, like policing and criminal justice, and underspending on "positive" areas like education and job creation.


Town clerk Terry Bullemor says Wadeye represents "failure stacked on failure" by governments since the 1970s. Community elders say they want to break out of a cycle of welfare dependency. After decades of infighting, they have established a traditional council where they have agreed they want to open the region to "normal" participation in Australia's economy and society.


Tobias Nganbe, a council member and co-principal of Wadeye's school, says there is a "desperate desire to make life better so kids can feel safe, and when they go to places like Darwin they can have interests like kids in the rest of Australia".


Wadeye has been the focus of a trial program by the Federal and NT governments, and the traditional council Thamarrurr, that aims to improve the delivery of government services.


But Wadeye symbolises problems in remote communities that NT administrator Ted Egan describes as "deplorable, despicable, disgraceful".


Mr Egan shocked a recent conference of health officials in Alice Springs when he spoke of seeing dogs drinking from a billycan then offered to a baby. He said non-indigenous Australians throw billions of dollars in an endless, failed, quest to improve the lifestyle of Aborigines.


Mr Egan outlined a radical strategy, calling for canteens in remote communities giving Aborigines a daily decent meal, and a $100 bounty to be placed on the heads of diseased dogs.


He said instead of foisting Western-style three-bedroom houses on Aborigines in remote areas, governments should build shelters where families can "live as they have done for thousands of generations - basically live outside where the sun is a great steriliser".


Mr Egan condemned a system "whose best interests lie in further extensions of the problem, whereby more funds will be available to enable more jobs for concerned whitefellas to conduct surveys, formulate new programs, extract more millions of taxpayers' funds".


Mr Egan plans to rally public and business support for a football stadium and other facilities.


In the past, some bureaucrats have regarded Wadeye's problems as so entrenched as to label the town a basket case. But optimism about Wadeye's future has grown following meetings by the elders.


Mr Bullemor says: "The important thing is that the push for change is coming from the Aboriginal people themselves."


Theodora Narndu and the other elders are wary of journalists because most of the headlines about the town in the past have been about riots, shootings and crime.


But ahead of a visit by The Age, Ms Narndu typed a statement acknowledging that Wadeye's leaders had failed in the past to recognise they were also part of Australia.


This is an important concession by the elders from 20 clan groups, which each has its own land or "country" that underpins its society, its spirituality and its way of life.


Ms Narndu says residents of the 3200-square-kilometre Thamarrurr region are fed up with legions of "middle-men" - bureaucrats and consultants who come to talk, promise and then go away. John Howard may be pleased to hear this.


Amanda Vanstone, his Aboriginal Affairs Minister, promised last year to "strip away layers of bureaucracy, making it easier for indigenous communities to have a say in the services that they receive".


The Government is moving to link funding to "shared responsibility agreements" negotiated with Aboriginal communities represented by regional authorities.


Wadeye's elders are strongly opposed to an NT Government proposal to take control of the land, which is now freehold under the Land Rights Act, through a voluntary 99-year lease arrangement under which leasehold payments would go to traditional owners.


But they will tell Mr Howard they want to be able to borrow against, and develop, their own land like other Australians.


Ms Narndu points at houses with no windows, filthy rooms, and broken air-conditioners, and says: "We just want to give our children a chance."

theage.co.au

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 1, 2005 3:29:09 PM | 18

I HAVE A BELLY-BUTTON

Posted by: Peter Clark | Oct 22, 2005 9:06:06 PM | 19

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