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Felix Orcullo

Political Comments


Free Assange

The contrast between the news items in a recent issue of Sydney Morning Herald: “US wins key appeal for extradition of Assange” and editorial “Biden’s battle for global democracy starts at home” (SMH December 11-12, 2021) could not have been more glaring.  On the one hand, the US is bent on extraditing Julian from the UK so he could be tried on US soil.  On the other, the US wants to show case democracy as a better system than communism.  The editorial concluded that “democracy will triumph because it is a better system of government in the long-run but it has to lift its game” seems like a fitting advice.  So, what better way of lifting its game than to release Julian Assange, let him come home to Australia a free man.  Assange’s protracted incarceration (of ten years) for his “sin” of releasing information damaging to the reputation of the democratic West speaks volume.  Democracy is nothing without freedom of the press.  President Biden would be well advised to stop this US hypocrisy and give Assange back his freedom.  Until then, the US version of democracy is nothing more than empty rhetoric.

But what is the Australian government’s stance on this?  They have not come up with an official position, one way or the other.  At least, Barnaby Joyce (Deputy PM) is on record demanding that Assange should not be extradited to the US. He says he should either be left free in the UK or returned to Australia a free man. 

I don’t agree with most of Barnaby’s actions, but at least on this one he’s spot on.

Gladys in Warringah?

I have been following Australian politics for the last 45 years and I cannot recall a more contemptible and insulting plan from the NSW Liberal pre-selectors that they are willing to nominate ex-Premier Gladys Berejiklian to be their candidate for the seat of Warringah. And the PM endorses this!  Do they really think the voters of Warringah are that stupid to vote for a candidate who has a question mark over her integrity, memory, and judgment?   I say, bring it on!  Zali Stegall – the incumbent MP who took the seat away from Tony Abbott – can be forgiven for laughing all the way to the polling booth at this nonsense.

Thankfully, they have all come to their senses, including Gladys who for a while must have thought that a tilt for the seat of Warringah might have been a winner. 

Gladys, it seems, can still exercise some good judgment.

Kristina, Show Us Your Mettle

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally vows to ‘step up and fight’ for the safe Labor seat of Fowler.  How infuriating is this?  Whilst it is understandable that Kristina wants to move to the Lower House to be able to maximise her so called fire-power and to smooth her way in the event of a stint at Labor leadership, why a safe Labor seat like Fowler, which will not increase Labor’s chance of forming government?  If she is that good, why not find a marginal Liberal seat and win it for Labor not dissimilar to what Maxine McKew did when she kicked out the sitting PM John Howard.  I am not convinced she is that good.  Remember, Keneally could not even beat a poor performer like John Alexander in Bennelong at the last Federal election.  Leave Fowler alone.  Let this seat be represented by someone who does reflect its diversity like Ms. Tu Le, a lawyer and daughter of Vietnamese refugees.  As Kristina lives in Scotland Island in the Northern Beaches, 44 kilometres away, a move to Fowler for the sake of being seen as their representative will not cut it.  What an insult to the voters of Fowler.  

Or, why not tackle Warringah?  It’s in the Northern Beaches so a lot closer to home.  Or another tilt at Bennelong?  Now that John Alexander is retiring, that seat is up for grabs.  She was not able to win this seat last time but this maybe her chance.  Get her to take Warringah or Bennelong for Labor and she will be treated by all in the party and the voting public like a real shining star, not a hollow and pretentious one. 

Heaven knows we have plenty of those on both sides of the political divide.

The PM on COP26

After vacillating on whether to attend the climate-change Glasgow Cop26 meeting or not, the Australian PM Scott Morrison finally attended.  This was after his refusal to attend in the first place, fearing (as many believed) that he might be a laughing stock by the world’s leaders due to his previous stance on coal.

So, typical of Morrison, whose support for the coal industry is well known, he had asked his partners the Nationals to come up with a policy that would commit Australia to zero carbon by 2050.  The leader of the Nationals, Barnaby Joyce, a well-known supporter of coal is holding the country to ransom.  There are only a handful of Nationals MPs in the LNP coalition, yet they behave as if they control the government.  And Morrison is powerless to show leadership.  They have more than ten years on this critical climate-change issue and they have not come up with any credible policy whatsoever. 

The LNP did come up with a position contained in 126-page pamphlet that was mocked by most attendees and climate scientists both here and overseas.  Even Michael Cannon-Brookes, the Australian tech billionaire described this as “not worth the paper I would print it on”.

Makes you wonder what they have been doing in the meantime.

To Die (With or Without Dignity)

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) bill is now postponed until next year.

Those politicians and voters who oppose VAD already have the freedom to choose NOT to die with dignity.  Those who support VAD want the freedom to die with dignity.  Why is this too difficult to understand and accept that both want a choice of how to die?

Just pass this bill into legislation and watch both sides enjoy the freedom they want.

Felix Orcullo