One Finite Planet

One Finite Planet

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Australia Day Surprise: Another title for Prince Philip. Foolishness, or other motives?

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The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced a ‘bold’ decision to award an Australian knighthood to the husband to the Queen of England, Prince Philip. I will provide background for the world majority with zero exposure to Australia’s relationship to the British royal family, but Australia ceased awarding knighthoods in 1986 as part of a long term attitude trend for Australia to distance itself from the days of the British Empire. Tony Abbott brought Australian knighthoods back in 2014 in a bold statement potentially against that long term attitude shift and this latest step goes much further in testing how far a government can go in 2015 to against that previous long term attitude shift.

There has been quite a large and widespread negative reaction to Tony Abbott award a member of the British royal family this newly reinstated award.

It is possible that Tony Abbott had focus groups and market research conducted that show such a ‘bold’ step could assist his own popularity as national leader. However public statements made by Tony Abbott himself suggest this was a personal decision.

Another possibility is that Tony Abbot made his own decision that taking this step would increase the popularity of his position as Prime Minister. It is clear already that the decision to award an Australian honour to someone not only not Australian, but also a member of the British royal family, will attract substantial negative press and public reaction. Perhaps the Tony Abbott is simply an immensity clever politician and this award will serve to increase his popularity, but that just seems highly unlikely. So we have to consider a third possibility.

Most likely it appears that Tony Abbott was prepared to give this award knowing that such a step will actually hurt his popularity. Politicians do not get to the pinnacle of their profession by taking steps the know will not be popular. It is also difficult to image that the need for Prince Philip to recognised by such an award can come from some deep passionate conviction of principle, especially given it is inconceivable that giving this award will change the opinion of people in Australia to the British monarchy. Perhaps Tony Abbott has a passionate admiration of Prince Philip the individual, but not for the principle that British royals should receive awards. Giving this award on this occasion will polarise as many against further awards to British royalty as those in favour, if not more. Surely as a principle anyway would be too superficial for a national leader given the challenges facing the world.
So we are left with a national leader deliberately taking an unpopular step with voters the cannot realistically be on the basis of principle.

This award will promote Tony Abbott amongst monarchists both in Australia and the UK and if the decision was not simple foolishness this means that it is a case of a national leader making a decision to appeal to a very specific group where he desires to socialise, but knowingly unpopular overall in the nation he governs.

If it is not foolishness, then one logical interpretation is self promotion for the life ahead in retirement. Could the London born Australian prime minister be contemplating retirement in Great Britain, or does he just envisage regular visits?

Table of Contents


Flawed Australian voice of Indigenous People referendum: The irony of a voice campaign that failed to listen.

A tragic lost opportunity. Why didn’t those proposing the voice make changes to remove ambiguity and eliminated enough of the negative perception to win over enough support instead of simply declaring” “No, if that is how you see it you are either racist or stupid!” Was it just that there was no willingness to listen?

Australians had an opportunity in a constitutional referendum to righteously shout loudly “I am not a racist” by voting for a proposition that, at its core, could be seen as fundamentally flawed, divisive and even potentially racist, in the hope even a risk of moving in the direction of apartheid is still better than nothing.

The referendum resulted in a huge setback for action on indigenous disadvantage and while it did seem unlikely to do anything to unify Australians and offer more than some possible affirmative action, the division resulted with even sometimes “yes” voters being encouraged to also be racist.

This is a deeper look trying to see each side from the perspective of the other, with the reality that both sides had a point, and a vast majority of people do want equality and unity.

Perhaps it little more work could bring things together and offer a fresh enough perspective to move beyond just another well-intentioned patronising racism failure like the stolen generations?

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Crime: A litmus test for inequality?

Around the world, many countries have both a battle with equality for some racial groups and minorities and also a battle with crime-rates within and by those same groups.

Should we consider crime rates the real sentinels of problems and a solution require focusing on factors behind crime rates? Or is the correct response to rising crime rates or crime rates within specific groups an adoption of being “tough on crime”, thus increasing rates of incarceration and even deaths in custody for oppressed minorities and racial groups?

This is an exploration of not adjusting the level of penalties and instead focusing on the core issues and inequalities behind crime-rates. It is clear that it is “damaged people” in general rather than specific racial groups that correlate with elevated crime rates, so why not use crime rates to identify who is facing inequality?

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