Macklin / As Trump harrumphs, China puts out the mat

“News that Canberra’s political parties received public funding of $1.7 million for the last election campaign must surely win the case for banning private donations,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

AFTER last week’s blessedly Trump-free “Seven Days” from editor Ian Meikle, we have a little catching up to do. Since then the American president-elect has changed the lives of hundreds of Canberrans.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin.

One decision alone – his junking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – has politicians and public servants across the capital refocusing their activities from the US to China.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo joined with Kiwi PM John Key to declare that the trade “void” will be filled by China’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

As Trump’s America retreated, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the APEC conference: “Openness is vital for the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific. China will not shut the door to the outside world but will open it even wider.”

HOWEVER, on other issues Trump pulled in his horns. Climate change was no longer “a Chinese hoax”. Now, he said, he had “an open mind” on whether global warming was caused by human activity.

Well, that’s something.

SPEAKING of China, the formal arrest of 18 staffers from James Packer’s Crown Casino caused barely a whimper among his compatriots last week – except his investors, as the company’s shares continued to fall. Perhaps the virulent anti-Asian prejudice of yesteryear is confined these days to the One Nation fringes. Or maybe we’re just offended by Packer’s horrible Barangaroo temple of greed on the Sydney Harbour foreshores.

PREJUDICE comes in many forms, but surely it’s a bit rich for the ATO’s Iva Ilijevski to sue her employer for $1 million claiming six years of “racism” because she’s Croatian. Truth is, Croatians are not a race but a nationality. There is only one race – the human race – and while there might be slight “ethnic” differences among us, there are virtually none between Europeans like Iva and the vast bulk of Australians. And while Croats might be hated unconditionally by their neighbouring Serbs, no one is suggesting that the ATO is a secret Serbian citadel.

NEWS that Canberra’s political parties received public funding of $1.7 million for the last election campaign must surely win the case for banning private donations. If the pollies can’t get their message across with all that public largesse, donations from lobby groups are not going to make the slightest difference. They simply corrupt the process in their quest for preferential treatment from the winner.

DEPUTY PM Barnaby Joyce finally got his way with an official order to move the 150-strong Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from Canberra to his own electorate in Armidale. The cost benefit analysis showed it would cost taxpayers $25 million; but the real issue is the most blatant pork barrelling on record. In fact, Barnaby’s even started to look like a pork barrel!

GOOD to see our native animals haven’t lost their rebellious spirit. That male emu defending his territory at the Cotter from those pesky picnickers and cyclists is not the first time our flightless fowl has fought back. Check out the great Emu Wars of the 1930s in WA where they scored a notable victory. Google has the full story.

PET peeve corner: Leaf blowers that move perfectly acceptable leaves from one place to another while shattering the morning calm with their roaring noise pollution. Enough already!

robert@robertmacklin.com

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