The Guardian January 31, 2001


Editorial:
The Australia Day Honours list

As with most things in society, the Australia Day Honours list is all 
about politics. Among this year's recipients are many deserving people who 
have done much in the fields of medicine, science, engineering, 
architecture, the environment, for the community, etc. and no-one would 
deny them their recognition.

However, one will look in vain for awards to militant trade union leaders 
or the leaders of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) who have achievements 
in the fields of improving the lives of their members or campaigning 
against the economic, environmental and social devastation caused by the 
TNCs. Neither can any left-wing politicians look for any acknowledgement of 
their work.

The awards this year reflect the growing militarisation of Australian 
society being assiduously promoted by the Howard Government. Not only is 
there a swag of medals for the various arms of Australia's military forces 
but the award of Australian of the Year to Lieutenant-General Peter 
Cosgrove is part of the military promotion.

Cosgrove came into prominence as a result of being the commander of the UN 
forces in East Timor but he also took part in the war in Malaysia against 
those fighting against British colonialism in the 1950s. He took part in 
the dirty war in Vietnam, a criminal war to reimpose French and US 
colonialism on that long-suffering nation.

His comments on receiving the Australian of the Year award indicate that he 
will admirably perform his task in the further promotion of militarist 
attitudes. He claimed that "an Anzac heart beats in every one of us" and 
that "Cathy Freeman embodies every Anzac quality". He went on: "Elite 
sportsmen and women are diggers in white or diggers in swimming cossies or 
football togs." So, everything according to Cosgrove, has its military 
connotation.

"We are a lucky, peaceful nation", said Cosgrove. The majority of the 
Australian people are peaceful, but it is also a fact that Australian 
governments have drafted Australia's military forces into a number of wars 
 Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, to name a few. The 
government is now preparing for Australia's participation in even bigger 
wars in Asia under the umbrella of the United States.

It is of interest in this respect that one of the recipients of an 
Australia Day award was Lieutenant Colonel Brian Scott of the US Marine 
Corps. His citation reads: "For outstanding achievement in the field of 
International Engagement, Joint and Combined Exercise Development and 
Doctrine within HQs Australian Theatre."

When it comes to the politicians, the Coalition Parties and the Labor Party 
share the honours. The ruling elite who choose the awards, can be quite 
satisfied with the loyalty to the ruling class of both Parties.

Ian Sinclair former National Party leader (who had a close shave over land 
deals some years back) and Gareth Evans both get a gong. Evans is still 
being generously bankrolled since he left parliament in a sinecure job in 
Brussels as a member of the "International Crisis Group".

Evans can be remembered for his attempt to have colonialism reimposed on 
Cambodia through occupation by United Nations forces and by organising so-
called "free" elections. This was a scheme fathered by the United States, 
with Evans merely the "front man". Fortunately for Cambodia its leaders 
were able to overcome this plot and retain their independence although it 
delayed recovery from the devastation caused by Pol Pot for many years.

Evans can also be remembered for his treacherous support for Indonesia's 
occupation of East Timor during which more than 200,000 East Timorese died, 
and for his support for the war and blockade against the people of 
Bougainville with the loss of 12,000 or more lives.

At one time Gareth Evans aspired to become the Secretary-General of the 
United Nations and it was fortunate that this scheme did not succeed 
either. Evans is 100 per cent pro-American and as UN Secretary-General 
would have done the bidding of the US.

Gareth Evans now has a medal with thanks from the ruling class for services 
rendered  and to soften his disappointments.

Congratulations to the many worthy recipients of Australia Day awards. To 
others, we reserve our scorn.
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