Australian Terrorists; Abbott on Budget; Missing Graphs; Renewable Energy Bad: Indonesian Leader OK:

Australia’s Terrorists: How Serious?

It is difficult to assess the seriousness of reports of statements uttered by Australian Islamics who are apparently beheading apostates overseas while threatening “fireworks” here. But it is of some comfort that, by contrast with his predecessor, Attorney General Brandis is taking such threats seriously and making the public aware that we are susceptible to damaging action here. It is important that he obtains sufficient powers to counter terrorists. It is difficult to understand why it was difficult to obtain arrest warrants over the two mentioned in the article.

An important missing response to the extremism in the Middle East is the failure of leaders of western countries (and the churches) to respond in any meaningful way to the attacks on Christian communities. And Obama’s handling of the Israel situation gets worse as he seems to treat Hamas as an equal combatant rather than a terrorist one. He and leaders of other western powers are missing an opportunity to condemn the extremist activity.

Selling the Budget & Missing Graphs

The role Abbott is to take on “selling” the budget remains unclear but the report that he will spend “several days” on trying to overcome infrastructure prevention activity is a possible start. A difficulty with the “selling” to date is suggested by the report (extract below) that certain indicators in graphical form were omitted from the budget papers. The omitted analysis of the “outcome for families” might have provided a basis for better explaining some of the reductions in spending and, in some cases, adding to or stopping some of them.

Renewable Energy

As Nick Cater pointed out yesterday (see below), the retention of the renewable energy target would maintain another form of carbon tax which would have serious adverse effects on Australia’s competitiveness. The government’s decision on the imminent Warburton report on RET will be an important indicator as to how far it is prepared to go down the reform path here.

Indonesia’s New Leader Looks OK

Greg Barton is an accomplished assessor of the Indonesian political situation. His article below is encouraging from both a bilateral situation perspective and, more generally, in terms of less developed countries.