Friday, July 09, 2004

Australian Anti-Americanism - GO HOME YANKEE

A deal has been signed between the US and Australian governments for US military to set up permanent military training camps over here in both Queensland and Northern Territory. The purpose of the bases is so that:
tens of thousands of US and Australian troops can use it to practice combined air, land and sea operations. [And]where US and Australian troops will carry out operational training, including bombing runs with live munitions
Apparently the QLD government even lobbied for this possessed with some fool idea that it will be 'good for the economy'. Hmmm like the US bases in Korea have been good for certain parts of the economy in Itaewon, Pyeongtaek, and the like, not to mention all the good experience the police might get dealing with US military crimes at overseas bases. We already had an alleged rape incident in Darwin earlier this year (of which further newspaper searches revealed no follow up to what happened so if anyone knows, please share the information. I think they had some kind of hearing in June). Despite bi-partisan support for this, Anti-base has launched a campaign to protest the move. And Peter Garrett who recently made a rather unspectacular entry into the Labour Party has stood up and said he opposes the move so we respect him for that.

Australia also signed on to the missile defence project which promises to cost us a lot of money so that US can get a hi-tech defence system.

And in case we didn't think we'd given up enough sovereignty, details of the Unfair Trade Act with US reveal that,
after the Free Trade Agreement is ratified, they say, "The inclusion of US Trade Representatives in Australia's quarantine decision-making processes will now give foreign trade officials the power to intervene in policies of utmost national importance for economic security."

This will be done through the inclusion of American trade representatives on the new Australia-US Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Matters, which is supposed to deal with the scientific basis of quarantine decisions.
Does Australia think it will honestly be able to uphold its quarantine standards with US bullies having a say in the decision-making process? Australia was unsuccessful in getting sugar in the FTA deal, which had presumably been a 'make or break' issue. It certainly doens't bode well for future negotiations.

Extra - off topic

I want to add a bit more to the on-line shopping issue that I mentioned in my previous blog entry. First, Kimchee GI also picked up the story and made the good point that the lackluster approach to opening up to foreigners was not becoming of a "Asia Hub" wannabe. I also had a further thought that when I was in Korea signing up on-line for marathons was an easy process even when the event was organised by smaller local clubs. The system simply required foreigners to put their birthday date for the first part and for the remaining numbers, girls would type 1000000 and boys would type 2000000. This was not only easy, gave all the information they needed to categorise us for the running divisions, it also had the advantage of not asking for too much information. The fact that even small clubs had this available would indicate that is not an expensive thing either.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui