Pacific diplomacy, Collaery case dropped, more NSW corruption and a forgotten pandemic

Foreign affairs is still a dominant issue for the Albanese government – and why not – so many relationships to repair after a neglectful nine years of Coalition government which left the Pacific islands behind.

The Prime Minister is also putting out the strong message to the world that there is a new government in office and is taking climate change seriously. But words are one thing; action is another, and we’ll have to wait to see what Labor actually does on climate change, once parliament meets and starts implementing government policy.

The case against Bernard Collaery has been dropped and it’s about time. The case had been going on for too long and it shows that governments can act when they want to. This all relates to events from 2004, when the Australian government (allegedly) bugged the offices of East Timor President, Xanana Gusmao, to gain an upper hand in the negotiations in the Timor Sea oil agreements. It’s a sordid tale, but one the public will never find out about, even after the Cabinet papers are released in 2024, which surely will set some kind of record when it comes to redactions of official documents.

And speaking of corruption and sordid tales, more information is being revealed about the US Trade Commissioner job that landed on the lap of John Barilaro: this is a clear case of (allegedly) corrupt behaviour. How on earth the NSW Government thought they could get away with it deserves a special credit. If there was a court of political incompetence, Barilaro and Stuart Ayres would be serving life sentences for political stupidity, especially in the context of a NSW state election, just eight months away.

And it seems that governments have forgotten about the pandemic, even though 95% of COVID cases have occurred in 2022, as have 80% of all COVID-related deaths. The federal government decided that Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments were not going to be continued, before they finally came to their senses and reversed their bad decision.

If only governments could stop toying with the electorate and remembered that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s far from over.

Music interludes:

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