2017: The Year In Review

Well, 2017 is just about done. And what a year it has been in the world. So many things have happened in 2017 locally more close to home, and worldwide. From Trump to Turnbull, from North Korea to the Citizenship Crisis, it’s been a pretty big year. And so, in this somewhat comprehensive review of the year, we are going to cover the big events of the year, and maybe even some of the more minor things that have occurred throughout the year. So, for the last time this year, let’s get right into it.

We’ll begin with the leadership news of the year. At the commencement of 2017, we had the major news rolling in from the US, with Trump being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. With his presidency becoming official, we saw many emotions being displayed by all sorts of people, particularly the Americans. There were those who were triumphant, becoming so elated at the fact that such a man had been elected and sworn into office, and there were those who simply could not bear the news, becoming irritated, upset, or even protesting the matter. Leaders around the world congratulated Trump, including our own Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. However, although Trump had now been sworn in, and the people would just have to come to terms with it whether they liked it or opposed it, it would not be an easy Presidency, as the world was soon to discover. Throughout the year, President Trump came across many issues, and was faced with many trials and tribulations. He talked to the leaders of many countries, and a phone call between him and Malcolm Turnbull became infamous, with reports surfacing that he had become irritated at our Prime Minister and hung up on him. He faced tensions from China and Mexico, and within his own Cabinet. In fact, many members of his administration either resigned or were fired throughout the year. So let’s quickly take a look at this list. In no particular order:

⁃ Michael Flynn: National Security Adviser

⁃ Preet Bharara: US Attorney for the Southern District Of New York

⁃ Derek Harvey: Top Middle East Adviser for National Security Council

⁃ Katie Walsh: Deputy White House Chief of Staff

⁃ James Comey: FBI Director

⁃ Reince Priebus: Chief of Staff

⁃ Michale Dubke: Communications Director

⁃ Walter Shaub: Office of Government Ethics Director

⁃ Anthony ‘the Mooch’ Scaramucci: Communications Director

⁃ Sean Spicer: Press Secretary

⁃ Michael Short: Press Aide

⁃ Steve Bannon: Chief Strategist

⁃ Sebastian Gorka: Deputy Assistant to the President

⁃ Tom Price: Secretary of Health and Human Services

⁃ Omarosa Manigault: White House Office of Public Liaison director of communications

What a list. As you can see, it’s been a big year in the US. And for Trump, it just keeps coming. During the year, a Special Counsel with former FBI Director Robert Mueller at its head was established to launch a probe/investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign/administration and Russia. And whilst the investigation is ongoing, there have been multiple developments throughout the year, with both Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner being involved and making some revelations about what occurred. However, we’ll move on from that for now.

One other major ongoing issue for the US, and indeed the world, has been that of North Korea and their nuclear weapons. The country’s leader Kim Jong-Un, has been at the centre of a war of words with countries such as the US and South Korea throughout the year. And their nuclear weapons have been developed much further than ever before, with the development and testing of a hydrogen bomb, capable of mass destruction and wiping out entire populations, the EMP (electro magnetic pulse) bomb, capable of destroying susceptible electronic equipment over a wide area and therefore being able to wipe out the electricity of an area, and potentially destroying power needed for factories to produce essential goods for people to survive, and more recently, attempts to attach the anthrax virus to their bombs and nuclear weapons so that it will disperse upon impact and infect the surrounding area. And so, throughout the year, numerous attempts have been made by other countries to try to come to some sort of agreement of peace with North Korea, even just to chat about it. And whilst some say North Korea may be just about ready to open talks, others believe a war is imminent. It would however be best to do everything possible to avoid a war, let alone one that could escalate and become nuclear.

Continuing on with the politics of the year, closer to home we had a very interesting year to say the least. Parliament was, as always, entertaining, and it sure did have its talking points this year. Whilst Malcolm Turnbull continued to do what he could with his Prime Ministership and his small majority government, it was inevitable really that something else that was highly problematic would come along. And of course, as always, issues relating to Parliament never cease to amaze. And so, 2017 became the year of the mass debacle that became famously known as the Citizenship Crisis. Earlier in the year, a barrister just happened to be doing some investigating into the New Zealand registry for citizenship, and discovered that now former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam happened to be a citizen of New Zealand. And to almost anyone else, this minor detail probably wouldn’t have mattered. But lucky for us, this barrister was experienced in law, and even better, he was particularly experienced in constitutional law. And so, he knew that under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution: ‘any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.’ And so the barrister informed Ludlam. And soon after, Ludlam resigned as a Senator and Deputy Leader of the Greens. And the Australian people thought that was it, just a one-off incident. But nothing is ever that simple in Australian Politics. And so it showed, as the other Deputy Leader of the Greens, former Senator Larissa Waters, discovered she had Canadian Citizenship, and so she resigned. Over in the governing Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull was feeling amused, seeing this as sloppy errors being made by the Greens. Barnaby Joyce was also joking about the matter in interviews, thinking it was funny and saying that when you woke up from sleeping you’d have to make sure your mother hadn’t made you a citizen of Botswana. How ironic. Because the Citizenship Crisis didn’t stop there. No, it claimed many more Parliamentarians, in both the Senate and the House Of Representatives. In fact here’s a full list of those it claimed:

⁃ Scott Ludlam: Greens Senator, Greens Deputy Leader

⁃ Larissa Waters: Greens Senator, Greens Deputy Leader

⁃ Matt Canavan: LNP Senator, Cabinet Minister (returned)

⁃ Malcolm Roberts: One Nation Senator

⁃ Fiona Nash: LNP Senator, Deputy Leader of the National Party

⁃ Nick Xenophon: NXT Senator, NXT Leader (returned, but resigned from Senate)

⁃ Barnaby Joyce: LNP MP, Leader of the National Party, Deputy Prime Minister (returned)

⁃ John Alexander: Liberal MP (returned)

⁃ Stephen Parry: LNP Senator, Senate President

⁃ Jacqui Lambie: Independent Senator

⁃ Skye Kakoschke-Moore: NXT Senator

⁃ Katy Gallagher: Labor Senator (referred to High Court)

⁃ David Feeney: Labor MP (referred to High Court)

As you can see, it’s been a chaotic year for federal Parliament in Australia, with Malcolm Turnbull almost losing his majority in the Lower House twice, and many Senators being forced to resign from their positions. And whilst many other events have also occurred within federal politics, in particular the debacle surrounding Michaelia Cash, issues surrounding Bill Shorten, the CFMEU and GetUp!, the Sam Dastyari Saga, and world issues such as relations with the US and China, the Citizenship Crisis has been one of the biggest events of the year in Australia in terms of politics. And in conjunction with that, the process to legalise same-sex marriage took to the stage, as federal Parliament decided to let the people have their say and use a postal plebiscite to decide if they should legalise same-sex marriage in Australia. And so the people voted, the votes were counted, and a Yes majority was declared. And after a couple of weeks of Parliamentary sittings and determinations over the Dean Smith bill and potential changes that could be made, the final Parliamentary vote was taken, and same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, to the celebrations of many.

2017 also saw immense tragedy, with terror attacks in London, Manchester, Paris, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Manhattan, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Westminster, the Louvre, Coptic Christian churches in Egypt and the Middle East, and at a Christmas market in Germany. Many people lost their lives, with some Australians among those who sadly died in the attacks, including 7 year old Julian Cadman, who became one of the faces of the Barcelona terror attack, a very very sad loss, especially for his family and friends. And there were major tragedies that occurred more close to home in Australia, in particular Of note the tragedy that occurred in Melbourne, which resulted in one man sadly losing his life, and the crash that occurred on Bendalong Road near Sussex Inlet on Boxing Day, in which 4 people have died and 1 remains in hospital. The family involved in the crash was the Falkholt family, known due to Jessica Falkholt being an actress who appeared on Home & Away in 2016. Sadly, she is the only survivor, as her mother, Vivien, and father, Lars died in the crash, and her younger sister, Annabelle, passed away in hospital a few days after the crash. Jessica remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital, still comatose, with doctors uncertain as to when she will wake up from her coma. I know that you would join with me when I say our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by tragedy this year, and we will keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers.

And now to a bit of entertainment news. This year saw the release of many films, many new television shows, the return of many television series’, and many big happenings in the world of entertainment. The 89th Academy Awards (Oscars) were quite the show, with the Award for Best Picture being awarded to La La Land, before the realisation that a mistake had been made, and Moonlight was proclaimed as Best Picture for the 2016 year. And more recently, the news broke that Disney, who own Marvel and the rights to most of the Marvel Superheroes, and who created the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), have finally made a deal with Fox amounting to somewhere around $52.4 billion, which sees Fox sign over many of their own cinematic productions, as well as studios, and which means that Disney now owns the rights to the X-Men Universe, the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool, which ultimately means that they outright own the rights to almost all of the Marvel Superheroes, and which also means we could see all of the superheroes finally appearing together in a major cinematic production. So big news. And apart from that, in television news, Doctor Who has seen yer another big change, with Peter Capaldi’s time as The Doctor coming to an end, and the announcement of the first female Doctor in the form of Jodie Whittaker. And with that, a new set of companions, and a brand new TARDIS. We anticipate what is to come in this famous long-running television series.

In sport this year, we saw some triumphs, and some losses. The Socceroos, after a long, hard-fought battle through the qualifiers, and after two lots of international qualifiers, finally made it to the World Cup that will be played in Russia in 2018. With the qualification came major football news, with Ange Postecoglou deciding to call time on his international managerial career at the Socceroos, ending months of speculation that he would leave the post. He later signed to a J-League club, one which is part of the Manchester City Group. And with that the FFA had to find a new coach for the Australian National Team. And whilst many names have been thrown into the mix, the search continues. And whilst we’re on the subject of the FFA, it’s been a chaotic year for them, with failure to commit to reform, with the General Meeting they conducted failing to gain the vote they so desperately wanted and needed. With the threat of FIFA stepping in to take over, its been a tough time for them, and the future of Steven Lowy and David Gallop was thrown up into the air with the loss of the vote. However, FIFA are giving them another chance for now, although with the controversy that has surrounded them in the last year or so, it’s going to be a tough road ahead for them. And with repeated threats from the A-League clubs to rise up against them, it’s only going to get harder. In other sporting news, Chelsea won the English Premier League, Arsenal won the FA Cup, Real Madrid won the Champions League, Manchester United won the Europa League, and, closer to home, Sydney FC won the Premiership and the Championship in the A-League, as well as the FFA Cup. And staying in the A-League, Western Sydney Wanderers had a rough year, with the departure of their long-time and only coach, Tony Popovic, departing the club one week before the commencement of the 2017/18 season, resulting in a search beginning for a new head coach. Hayden Foxe took the reigns as Caretaker Coach for about 6-7 weeks, until finally Josep Gombau was reeled in and took over the position of head coach permanently. Everyone began to think it was a good move, however, as of now at the end of 2017, the Wanderers supporters, and indeed some of the players, are uncertain as to whether or not Gombau is the best man for the job, and are questioning some of the moves he is making, and indeed the changes he is making to his squad and line-up each week, after the many major losses he has recorded during his time as coach. And so we’ll see where 2018 takes the Wanderers.

And finally, in a bit of miscellaneous type news, it’s been an entertaining year, with some really humorous and odd things occurring, as well as some out of the ordinary events. There was the eclipse in the US, which saw many looking to the skies in their special glasses to catch a glimpse of this rare event. Except, of course, President Donald Trump, who decided to look at the eclipse without the glasses, something which is highly advised against, but he did it anyway. And has anyone heard from Shaun Davidson recently? The Australian managed to escape Bali’s notorious Kerobokan Prison back in April/May this year with a few others, and hasn’t been caught since. As far as anyone knows, he’s still on the run 8 months later. There was also a guy on the internet who was claiming to be from the future, circa 2050, and who had come back to collect information and apparently chat to people about the future and answer some of their questions, which was really ridiculously funny. There was, as always, a large collection of memes and trends that were created in 2017, and so I’ll list a few below:

⁃ The Floor Is Lava Challenge

⁃ Trump’s First Order Of Business and the Trump Orb

⁃ The Apple Glitch (which saw an ‘A’ and a question mark in a box replace an ‘i’ when people tried to type it.

⁃ The ‘Cash Me Ousside’ Girl (who appeared twice on Dr. Phil)

⁃ Salt Bae

⁃ IT Pennywise Gutter Meme

⁃ Porgs (the famous new Star Wars sidekicks)

⁃ Spotify Playlists

⁃ The Snapchat Hot Dog

⁃ The ‘He Protec But He Also Attac’ Meme

⁃ The Ting Goes/Man’s Not Hot Meme/Song (Big Shaq/Michael Dapaah)

So as you can see, there was quite the bit of humour in 2017. In addition to the memes and trends, there was the infamous Facebook event created by a Sydney resident who decided he wanted to go get some chicken nuggets from McDonald’s on George St in the city. And it turned into a massive event, with many deciding to say they were going, and about 9000 people interested. The man’s name who started it, Corey Dunkin. And so Maccas had a big night of people eating chicken nuggets and sweet n sour sauce. They even had a designated line/cashier for chicken nuggets. And then there have been those funny politicians with their odd remarks, like Bob Katter. Katter’s just about the most odd politician you’ll come across probably. This year in particular, he’s become known for his quick changes in tone, in particular in his infamous speech/interview where he was discussing the same-sex marriage issue in a light tone, and then changed rapidly to talking of people being attacked by crocodiles in North Queensland every 3 months in a quite aggressive tone. It’s quite amusing really. And then there was that time when the Central Coast Mariners mascot, the BBQ Sauce Bottle, decided to flip off the Newcastle supporters at the F3 Derby a few months ago. That was quite the And that’s the humour for the year I think.

Anyways, I know this has been quite a long post, but I wanted to just do a bit of a wrap up on the year’s news, and it definitely has been a big one with lots to talk about. And as the year comes to a close, I want to thank each and every one of you for keeping up with the blog this year, and for all of your support. When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure what would come of it, and I wasn’t too certain of what I would actually write about, but it’s come a fair way, and I really do hope that we can expand the audience a bit more in 2018, and gain many new readers and followers. At the start, it was just a simple Facebook Page, but now we have a website, and we are gaining a few followers on there, so it’s great to see. So make sure you continue to share the blog, tell people about it, get people to follow it. I’d like to attempt to gain an even stronger supporter base, and have larger numbers if we can do it, so that I can get more and more people thinking about issues surrounding our world, and the possibilities that could be out there. Again, thank you all for the ongoing support, and I’ll be back in the New Year for more writing, more news, and more stories. I hope you all have a very happy and healthy New Year, enjoy the celebrations, and remember, if you want a perspective or something new JJ’s Outlook is the place for you. (Yes, I’ve got a catchphrase.)

JJ

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