Trump is certainly no diplomat

by ray goodlass

Trump certainly no diplomat

Todays column in the Daily Advertiser:

I was spoilt for choice as to my topic this week, as PM Turnbull has blotted his copybook quite spectacularly in three different ways. As they were all of his own making he needs calling out on them.

First came the news that he had timed his $1.75 million donation to the Liberal Party during the 2016 federal election so as to avoid immediate disclosure. “He would have known that his $1.75 million donation would not be publicly disclosed until 19 months after his re-election on 1 February 2018” pointed out Greens Democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon. Regardless of the timing, eventually it would come out, making clear to one and all he had bought his way to power.

Next came his National Press Cub address on the topic of our energy future. Not only did he say that he was ‘agnostic’ on energy policy and did not rule out dumping our Renewable Energy Targets (RET) he also included ‘clean coal’ in our energy mix. As countless scientists have pointed out, there’s no such thing. It doesn’t exist. Far better to fund the CSIRO to develop super batteries that can provide long term storage for electricity generated from renewable energy sources, thereby providing reliable base load power. Or perhaps he’s hoping private enterprise in the form of Tesla will do it for us. If so, say so.

But top of the list comes his first telephone conversation with President Trump. Leaving aside Mr Turnbull’s failure to condemn the President’s refugee and migration executive orders as other world leaders have quite rightly done, what rankles here is Mr Turnbull not letting us know that the conversation was a failure, abruptly ended after 25 minutes instead of the scheduled hour. Of course Mr Turnbull was being diplomatic, but a bit of truth-telling would have been welcome, rather than for us to be told on the front page of the Washington Post.

However, apart from the theatre provided by the conflict of the loud, bullying New York real estate developer approach of the President versus the honeyed words of merchant banker Turnbull, I’m concerned about this issue on two counts, and both will apply even if the issue is settled by the time this column goes to print.

If President Trump scuttles the, deal what will come of the refugees stranded in the hell-holes on Nauru and Mannus Island? There is one clear solution, and that is to do the right thing and settle them here. It is extremely doubtful if that will re-start the boats, as the original announcement of the American deal certainly didn’t, so the right wing of the Liberals, Nationals and ALP need not bother us with that argument.

But if President Trump agrees to go ahead, at what price will it be? There certainly will be one, for one thing we know about the President is that he is a deal maker. It will almost certainly be secret, the details not to be revealed for decades. For the past week commentators have speculated that it will be an increased Australian military commitment, perhaps in the Middle East, or in the South China Sea. Anyone fancy having the RAN join in a blockade of the sea lanes?

To conclude on a bright note rather than one pointing towards Armageddon, in the past week I had a day procedure at the (newish) Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital, and I’m pleased to report that is appears to be an excellent facility, light, bright, airy, spacious, and well decorated. High praise too to all the staff, from clerical to aides, technicians, nurses, doctors and specialists. Exemplary service with a smile all round.g he needs calling out on them.