Wednesday, October 15, 2003

No, seriously, says Crean, all rise for George Bush: "What does Simon Crean stand for? George Bush. But will his party stand behind him? And will he clap? And will they? Will they stand as they clap, or clap while seated, or stand silently? And if they stand, which way will they face?"

Labor's pitiful contortions on this issue demonstrate as clearly as anything the lack of courage and coherent vision: the inability to bite the bullet on the issue of an independent Australian foreign policy. Australian needs to end the US alliance, close US bases and join most of the rest of the world (including the countries in our own region) in forthright opposition to the US policies of lawless unilateral violence as nothing less than a betrayal of the values the US (and supposedly Australia also) stands for.

Failing that, why not just boycott the meeting? What is this man, President Bush, doing in the Australian parliament anyway? If he is going to be present, why cannot he be subject to questions from all sides? His policies examined? Perhaps a motion of no-confidence in his leadership? Parliament exists for the elected representatives of the Australian people to debate policy and legislation, and for government leaders to be called to account. This Bush visit demonstrates humiliating subservience on the part of parliament towards someone who has been described by the shadow treasurer as the "worst President in living memory", whose Administration has been described in the US as the worst in American history, bar none. Chomsky has described it as unusually corrupt, even by American standards, a kind of Enron Administration.

If the Emperor of the West has to address His Subjects in the Parliament, the least they could have done is kicked him upstairs to the Upper House, in the manner of the King or Queen of the British Empire. I cannot see how someone who is not elected by the Australian people should ever be permitted to speak or address the House of Representatives assembled.

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