Mar 09, 2021 Last Updated 9:51 PM, Mar 7, 2021

After Abbott, who?

POLLS are so crucial in politics in Australia that it can turn a government or even a prime minister from a hero to zero within a day or days.
Newspaper and electronic public polls over January and February suggest voters are keen to ditch Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his government coalition of Liberal and Nationals Party after only 15 months in office – an embarrassing feat for a leader elected with promise of creating half a million new jobs in five years and generating unprecedented prosperity for a country, ranked in the world’s top 20.
Since overwhelmingly winning power in September 2013, Abbott’s policy failures and own-party fallouts by far outweigh achievements and accolades.
Unemployment hovers around 6.5 per cent and economic growth is so bleak, forecast at 2.5 per cent this year with the possibility of rising to 2.75 per cent in 2015-16. Both figures are painfully well out of Australia’s capacity.
Last month, heavyweights from within the Australian Liberal Party debated in favour of retaining Abbott at the helm but only until he makes a few more policy blunders and annoys more voters.

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By Davendra Sharma

West Papua's diplomacy games

Indonesia recruits former dissidents to woo leaders ahead of summit

SHOCKED by the effectiveness of a campaign by West Papuan dissidents to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Indonesia sprang into action early this year.

Foreign Minister RetnoMarsudi was despatched on a whirlwind tour of Melanesia to reiterate Indonesia’s commitments to the region.

Despite that visit, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has not withdrawn his stinging condemnation of human rights abuses by Indonesia’s security forces in West Papua. Indonesia, therefore, remains condemned by its closest Pacific ally geographically.

O’Neill has stated his willingness to stand against human rights violations against West Papuans whom he referred to as “our brothers and sisters”.

Social media in Melanesian has been inundated with videos of Indonesian security forces torturing indigenous villagers or calling them “monkeys” and “animals” in Bahasa.

This has invoked the ire of Melanesians and drawn their attention – and those of their governments – to the level of abuse. In late April, Fijian Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola met senior Indonesian officals in Jakarta just weeks before a planned MSG summit.

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by Netani Rika

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