Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

Home Issue 45 Democracy in full swing. Not.

Democracy in full swing. Not.

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Silence and a platitude were the respective responses from two Federal politicians in the NT responding to a request for comment on the Commander in Chief, Donald Trump, of what is broadly assumed to be a first strike nuclear target, 19 kilometres from Alice Springs, namely Pine Gap.

We put the following questions to CLP Senator for the NT Sam McMahon, and the Labor Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, at 7.15am yesterday:-

“The New York Times reports that President Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark T Esper, ‘the latest casualty in the president’s revolving door of top national security officials who fell on the wrong side of their boss’.

“Mr Trump will remain Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces until January 20, 2021, and hence he is ultimately in charge of the American use of Pine Gap which is widely regarded as a first strike nuclear target.

“The Times also quotes sources expressing concern that Mr Trump will initiate overt or covert operations against Iran or other adversaries in this last period in office. 

“How will you represent the interests of your constituents ensuring that Mr Trump does not use Pine Gap in a way that could trigger catastrophic harm to the people of Alice Springs?”

Mr Trump has still not conceded and is indicating he will be seeking the invalidation of Joe Biden’s election.

Senator Sam McMahon answered at 7.48am: “Both our Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministers maintain close relationships with Mr Trump and any other foreign ministers who have the potential to impact on Australia’s sovereign status.”

We received no response at all from Mr Snowdon, other than an automated acknowledgement that anyone gets who sends an email to him – assuring them that their “views, concerns and enquiries are important to me as they help me to better represent the electorate of Lingiari”.

Photo (from left): MaMahon, Trump, Snowdon.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Here is the news: “The Territory ALP has supported the removal of US military bases in Australia.
    “In a close vote at the weekend conference, the party adopted a resolution calling on the ALP Federal Conference to pursue ‘non-renewal of all agreements … relating to JDSRF (Pine Gap), North West Cape, Exmouth and Nurrungar.
    “The resolution provoked an intense and at times heated debate.
    “Outgoing party president John Reeves said it was ‘arrogant and futile’ for the party to oppose the bases.
    “He said it was arrogant because it suggested the Federal Government’s statements on the bases’ role was inaccurate.
    “Who are we to say the opposite is the case?’ Mr Reeves said. The move was ‘futile because the vast majority of the Australian public support the base,’ he said.
    “But party secretary Peter Tulgren said this was ‘a load of frogs droppings.’
    “The fact is most people believe this is all safe because we keep telling them that they have nothing to fear.’
    “Mr Tulgren compared this to public opinion in the early years of the US involvement in Vietnam and said it did not resolve the issue.
    “Senator Bob Collins said the debate was misguided because it ignored the realities of nuclear strategy.
    “‘Australia is a target whether the bases are here or not,’ Senator Collins said.
    “You can be sure there are missiles in the Soviet armoury with Sydney and Melbourne written on their nose-cones, simply because there are an over-abundance of nuclear missiles and we are an identified strong ally of the US.’
    “Mr Collins said a more fruitful course would be a full debate over the desirability of non-alignment” (“Territory ALP votes against US bases”, Centralian Advocate, 5/8/87).
    This NT ALP conference was held within a month of that year’s Federal elections (July 11, 1987) which was the first time that Warren Snowdon was elected as the Member for the Northern Territory.
    So what was Mr Snowdon’s opinion about Pine Gap at the time? Some idea may be gained from this report: “Territory Member Warren Snowdon has defended his attendance at an anti-US base demonstration at Pine Gap on Sunday.
    “Mr Snowdon, who was active in the peace movement prior to his election, said he was representing his constituents as well as pursuing his personal interest by appearing at the demonstration.
    “I received representations from some constituents who expressed their concern about the presence of Pine Gap in Central Australia and I was there on their behalf,’ Mr Snowdon said” (“Snowdon defends stand”, Centralian Advocate, 21/10/87).
    In reply to criticism from Araluen MLA Eric Poole and Member for Katherine Mike Reed that Snowdon was appearing on behalf of a ‘small vocal minority’, he “denied this and said he was fulfilling his role as an elected representative by attending the demonstration.
    “I did not receive any representation from people who supported the base but if I had I would have been more than happy to speak on their behalf,’ he said.
    “My job is to represent the views of my constituents, regardless of my personal view.’
    “Mr Snowdon’s presence at the demonstration was relatively low key, unlike that of West Australian Senator Jo Vallentine, who was arrested as she crawled through the outer perimeter fence at Pine Gap on Sunday.
    “I did not see any need to go and put myself in the public spotlight by breaking the law,’ he said.
    “As a Government member I can make my stand by making representations through Government channels.’
    “Mr Snowdon said he would do this by backing the anti-US bases resolution passed by the Territory ALP at their branch conference this year.
    “The resolution calls for the terminations of the Pine Gap, North West Cape and Nurrungar agreements.
    “Mr Snowdon said he would also be joining the Labor Parliamentarians for a Nuclear Free Australia at the earliest opportunity.
    “Three MHRs from the group backed the call by the Australian anti-bases campaign coalition for a public enquiry into US bases in Australia.
    “I support this call for an enquiry,’ Mr Snowdon said. ‘It would bring information on the bases to the public, promoting reasoned debate” (Ibid, 21/10/87).
    In light of the non-response from the Member for Lingiari now, perhaps we just have to rely upon his opinions expressed well over three decades ago.

  2. Australia should ring the island with transportable American missiles to enable the defence of our nation.
    More American bases and personnel should be encouraged especially nuclear powered submarine bases.
    The Communists of the Labor greens would dearly like to leave Australia defenceless to aid their Communist friends.

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