You have to feel sorry for Rory Callinan, a ‘ruperter’ who writes for the Australian; he has had to come up with a story that epitomises the ‘Kill Bill’ mentality of the Murdoch ‘newspapers’. His story is entitled ‘Shorten accepted upgrades at hotel under a human-rights cloud’ and it relates the story that Leader of the Opposition “accepted free room upgrades from a hotel business that has been boycotted by public figures over its connection to a monarch [the Sultan of Brunei] who wants to legalise the stoning to death of homosexuals and adulterers”1.
Shorten accepted six upgrades from the Brisbane-based Royal on the Park hotel, which is owned by the sovereign wealth fund of Brunei. Shorten’s register of interests shows he accepted the upgrades when campaigning in Queensland during the run-up to the July by-elections2. The sovereign fund also owns the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. A spokesperson for Shorten said that “it is impossible to vet every single hotel or motel that he stays in”1.
In 2014, the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, “promised to introduce sharia-style laws to his kingdom, including a penalty of stoning to death for same-sex relations and adultery, and amputation and whipping for theft”. Callinan states that these laws are expected to be rolled out in the next two years1. However, despite calling for these laws 4 years ago, there has been little public explanation for the delay in implementing them. This has led to speculation that Brunei is sensitive to outside perceptions, particularly as the nation courts more foreign investment, especially from China, to help change its long dependence on fossil fuel revenues amid fast depleting oil and gas reserves3, and the seemingly long, slow, terminal decline of the fossil fuel business across the world.
So, the story is about Shorten, while campaigning for by-elections, accepting upgrades while staying in a hotel owned by the sovereign wealth fund of a majority Islamic country, that is planning to introduce sharia law1.
Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull accepted gifts from the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultan’s wife respectively (both gifts were surrendered to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet)2. Malcolm Turnbull has also accepted a gift of a telescope from Donald Trump, which he kept after paying the difference between the allowable limit and the estimated value2. Trump is hardly an upholder of human rights, forcefully separating very young children from their parents prior to deporting the latter4.
Marise Payne accepted a book as a gift from the Minister of Defence of Brunei and cultural ornaments from the Foreign Affairs Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while Peter Dutton accepted a gift of a coffee table book from the same UAE minister. Apostasy is already punishable by death in the UAE5, and homosexuality is apparently sometimes punishable by death6. Furthermore, the federal government’s behaviour in dealing with the asylum-seekers on Manus and Nauru is disgraceful, so pointing at others’ human rights record is, at best, hypocritical. The government’s callous disregard for the wellbeing of asylum-seekers is well documented, and even extends to attempting to prevent them being transported to Australia for urgent medical treatment, a criminal travesty which has been responsible for at least one death7.
Not many of the parliamentarians have kept their register of interests as up-to-date as Shorten, so it is impossible to find where all the Coalition members stayed when they were campaigning prior to the by-elections. It will be interesting to see the results when these lazy gits actually can be bothered to update their register of interests. I also expect that none of these parliamentarians ever check the shareholders of the motels in which they stay, as Shorten didn’t. I have never done that either, but then I am not a member of parliament and rarely ever get upgrades, because I am presumably not worthy.
The trivial counter examples I list above, clearly demonstrate to what level the ‘ruperters’ of the Murdoch press will stoop in their efforts to ‘Kill Bill’. They really are pathetic.