Immigration Policy; Turnbull Rampant; Terrorist Identification Rules

In last Thursday’s Commentary I drew attention to an article in The Australian by John Stone suggesting that immigration isthe most obvious example of Morrison’s present policy deficiencies and arguing that the permanent settler program should be cut by 60,000. Stone added that if Morrison was “prepared to say that Australia will continue to be non-discriminatory on racial or ethnic grounds, but will henceforth reject all permanen­t visa applicants judged to be culturally incompatible with our Australian way of life, he would enormously enhance his electoral prospects next year”.

Continued Concern on Islamic Threat

As expected, more information is emerging about the activity of radicalised Muslims and their relationship with the Hume Islamic Centre. The most worrying development reported today about the Bourke St terrorist, Shire Ali, is that he was on bail when the killing occurred and had a record of getting away with breaking previous bails. This information would have been available to the Victorian government and to senior police. In those circumstances Shire Ali should have been at least closely watched but there have been no reports that he was. More details will be available tomorrow but there is no doubt that this will become a major issue in the imminent Victorian election.

More on Islamic Killing; Further Downturn in Newspoll

Last Sunday’s Commentary on the killing by a Somalian (Shire Ali) in Bourke St gave the gist of PM Morrison’s reaction that “I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but it also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism,” he said. “Religious extremism takes many forms around the world, and no religion is immune from it … But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism … is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.”

Trump Succeeds in US Elections

For Republicans the US mid-term elections provide a forecast increase in Senate seats to 52/48 (from 51/49) and a forecast reduction in House seats to 197/235 (from 241/194). All 435 seats in House were up for election but only 35 of the 100 Senate seats were. If the forecast loss by Republicans of 44 seats occurs in the House, that would be the smallest mid-term loss under a post war President except for Reagan’s loss of only 26 seats in 1982 ie a mid-term loss of House seats is “normal”.

Morrison Active But No Major Policy Statements

My last Commentary (4 November) was headed “How Much Longer Can Morrison Last” and suggested that he must quickly address major policy issues and stop announcing handouts mainly designed to demonstrate that he is an “active” PM. But his decision to establish a electoral promotion bus to travel around parts of Queensland has so far not produced major policy statements. Of some interest is that senior Queensland Liberal Steve Ciobo (who voted for Dutton in the leadership spill) “refused to say yesterday whether the leadership switch to Mr Morrison would help improve the government’s stocks in the state”: ‘I don’t think it serves anyone’s purpose and I also don’t think, frankly, that Queenslanders or indeed Australians more generally, care about what’s happened,’ Mr Ciobo told Sky News (see Morrison Qld Bus Tour).

Morrison’s Leadership Still Astray

In my Commentary on 29 October I suggested that last Monday’s Newspoll of a 46/54 TPP, and the negative personal “Satisfaction” rate for Morrison himself, required him to quickly change his current strategy or face the question as to whether he should continue to be leader. I noted that, while Abbott was not currently presenting himself as an alternative PM, he is participating actively in the general political debate and previous PM candidate Dutton is also active as Home Affairs Minister. But on last Monday’s Newspoll Dutton and other Coalition MPs would likely lose their seats and he and other Coalition members ought to be pressing Morrison to address major policy issues and stop announcing fewer handouts designed to demonstrate that he is an “active” PM.

Newspoll & Failed Recovery Strategy

Today’s Newspoll show that the Coalition and its leader Scott Morrison are going backwards and the strategy of trying to recover through announcements of purported benefits to selected groups is missing the main game. That requires policy statements on climate change, immigration, refugees, budget etc which differ from those under Turnbull and a statement saying that mistakes were made under Turnbull. This would be timely given that Turnbull in Bali is reported as having welcomed (!) this Newspoll (see Turnbull likes Newspoll). Even the highly publicised announcements for drought stricken farmers would not produce funding before the election and the “boosts” for small businesses are still being developed by three (!) ministers.

More ‘Movement at the Station’ Needed

Many will be aware of Banjo Patterson’s ballad on The Man from Snowy River, which began with “There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around That the colt from old Regret had got away, And had joined the wild bush horses”. Clancy of the Overflow then caught the escaped horse and turned around the other horses which had formed a collective with the colt. But Clancy had first to overcome numerous obstacles.