Australia's diminishing political capital

Are there any more reluctant takers in Asia-Pacific ? Friends, this is the SMH news article exactly one years ago, saying the Philippine wasn't going to take any of Australia's offshore asylum-seekers on Manus and Nauru. Recent knocking down against the case of Manu asylum-seekers from PNG Supreme Court, along with previous rulings in April 2016 about unlawfulness of detentions, it is too evident that Australia has been deliberately imposing these unfair and messy condition upon a weak state, such as PNG. All the neighbouring countries in Asia-Pacific, and probably the world, are watching what is happening here down-under.

This SMH news must be read in proper contexts. This is the signal that Australia is losing its prestige and political capital. Just think about the era of the Prime-ministership of Hawke and Keating. Any Australian PM can literally walked into any of State's Highest Office in Asia-Pacific, can ask any type of cooperation from the leadership of that country. As an Australian Prime Minister of any political stripe -- he/she so would be entitled to of course -- the request will be well received, considered and cooperation can be assured by the leaders of other states. These are the type of gentleman's agreements and cooperations in goodwills, informal and nothing to set against any legal frameworks. We've seen the last of such cooperation from PNG with Rudd in 2013.

However, with the continued failure to resolve the mess Australia had created, and wantonly maintained that mess there offshore for unarticulated reasons, the community in Asia-Pacific is not blind nor too naive to see what's going on in Australia. The cooperation on such matters will not be forthcoming in the future.

We may view the political capital, like other asset capitals, can be used to purchase 'political influence' -- the influence in political decision makings. As such, Australia had lost its political capital. Apart from the prestige, respect and potential cooperations, what other else had Australia lost ? May be opportunities. But, we may never know; and we can never know in politics. Meanwhile, the narrow-isolationists in Australia will continued to argue "all politics is local".

-- Solidarity, U Ne Oo, Australia.

29/10/2015: Sydney Morning Herald,