Paul Bongiorno: Our worldwide repute isn’t a vote winner

The furore created by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew’s cancelling of the Commonwealth Video games would have you ever consider that Australians might give two hoots over the nation’s worldwide repute.

The very fact is any variety of elections over time have firmly established {that a} majority of us are extraordinarily selective about what strikes us to care what the remainder of the world thinks about us.

The MV Tampa incident in August 2001 readily come to thoughts.

Shocked world headlines reported the Australian authorities refused entry to the Norwegian freighter with its depressing cargo of greater than 400 shipwrecked and distressed males, girls and youngsters on board.
Not solely was this a breach of the regulation of the ocean it was a rejection of human rights obligations we had ratified.

Three months later the Howard authorities was returned to energy after defiantly proclaiming “we are going to resolve who involves this nation and the circumstances by which they may come”.

A defiance imitated by Howard’s political opponents with Labor now embracing the opaque “cease the boats” coverage crafted by Scott Morrison with persevering with questions over its worldwide legality.

The Tampa affair introduced worldwide consideration to our disregard of human rights.

Jesuit priest and lawyer Frank Brennan, who chaired then prime minister Kevin Rudd’s Nationwide Human Rights Session in 2009 with a view to having a legislated Invoice of Human Rights, noticed his committee’s work ignored when there was no urge for food in Parliament to have such an instrument holding it to account.

A profound disconnect

There’s a profound disconnect between how we see ourselves as a world-leading champion of human rights within the post-World Warfare II period and the truth.

We’ve got signed as much as the key human rights conventions of the United Nations and each elective protocol as they apply to the remedy of refugees, prisoners, youngsters and Indigenous folks.

We’ve got willingly accepted that these protocols topic us to worldwide scrutiny with UN rapporteurs or inspectors welcomed, besides after they aren’t.

In February this yr the Australian Human Rights Fee was severely embarrassed when a delegation from the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture suspended its tour of Australia after being refused entry to locations of detention in New South Wales and Queensland.

The fee identified on the time that the choice got here “precisely one month after Australia missed its prolonged deadline on January 20 to implement an important human rights framework, the Elective Protocol to the Conference in opposition to Torture”.

The Human Rights Fee accepted this rebuke from the UN was deserved as a result of “we now have did not ship on our treaty guarantees”.

There was no hullaballoo within the media, no wall-to-wall protection with specialists of each hue and color approached for remark as we noticed greeted the scrapping of the fading Commonwealth Video games for causes of extreme prices.

A case of selective embarrassment

And but we noticed on the weekend the federal Opposition accusing the Prime Minister of failing in his nationwide management for not intervening and doing nothing “to revive our repute”.

Appearing Opposition Chief Sussan Ley known as it “a global embarrassment”.

The Liberals are very selective about their considerations for our standing on this planet.

Do they actually suppose it is going to be enhanced if their strident marketing campaign in opposition to recognition of our First Nations folks within the Structure giving them a say on issues that have an effect on them is rejected?

Way back to 1992 when the Excessive Court docket recognised prior possession of this continent within the Mabo Judgement granting Native Title, it famous our frequent regulation ought to sustain with developments in worldwide regulation recognising Indigenous rights and never take its inspiration from what utilized in earlier eras of racial discrimination.

The Excessive Court docket laid the inspiration to carry the Structure consistent with a professed understanding of ourselves as a good folks acknowledging the truth of the particular place within the historical past of our continent that First Nations folks have.

This isn’t a racist proposal because the ‘No’ marketing campaign says, however somewhat the acceptance that there are a folks amongst us – members of the human race – who’ve a particular connection to the 65,000 years spent residing right here and there’s a tragic hole between their wellbeing and that of the bulk.

Strategic communications guide Feyi Akindoyyeni stated final week on The Drum the ‘Sure’ marketing campaign provides the principle motive to vote for the referendum as it’s the proper factor to do, which she says “ we all know by no means wins”.

So one thing else is at work over-riding any care about injury to our worldwide repute, and that’s the highly effective emotion of concern – concern of the lack of one thing, of the unknown.

In campaigns any exaggeration, any scare, any doubt will likely be shamelessly pushed to win the prize as they’re now.

Within the referendum the prize the Dutton Opposition needs to win, in response to former Liberal Aboriginal affairs minister Fred Chaney, is to provide Anthony Albanese a bloody nostril.

Will probably be embarrassing – however that gained’t be setting any precedent.

Paul Bongiorno AM is a veteran of the Canberra Press Gallery, with greater than 40 years’ expertise protecting Australian politics