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RC; US-Israel Relations; Obama; Border Controls

Union Corruption

Today’s Herald Sun continues its extensive coverage of the RC, which examined damning evidence from Boral suggesting that the CFMEU had been guilty of various offences but that it (Boral) had been unable to get an effective response from  relevant authorities, including the ACCC, for dealing with CFMEU actions. The Herald Sun reports that Victorian Attorney-General Clark said that there have been discussions between the state and federal governments on “stronger measures to tackle organised crime”.

Below is a report on the Boral evidence by Workplace Express which includes comments by the RC Counsel on a range of possible offences by the CFMEU and is presumably a warning to that union (and others) of what they might expect if the government implements the RC’s probable recommendations.

Counsel’s comments imply that there is potentially another possible way of limiting the application of the FW system viz by having union activities of the kind used on Boral declared a monopolistic practice. It appears that the ACCC is investigating this but the present head of that body seems  inclined to focus on corporations.

US/Israel Relations

I have been increasingly critical of Obama’s policies (or non-policies) in response to Islamic extremist activity and to the handling of that by Kerry. This criticism applies to the attempt to force Israel to reach a two state agreement with the Palestinian Authority and the adverse implications such forcing has for attitudes taken by Islamic extremists generally and for the Hamas (terrorist) group’s relations with the Palestinians in particular. The murder of three Israeli youths, probably by Hamas, has now almost led to outright war between Israel and Hamas (see below). But, significantly, Netanyahu has not made any public appeal for US condemnation.

While this may not be surprising given the (verbal) attack on his government and Israel generally by a “special assistant” to Obama at a conference in Tel Aviv, the situation is extremely worrying not only for Israel  but in regard to US policies in the Middle East generally. It should go without saying that the US (and Australia) should be prepared to assist the only democracy in that area when it is under attack. One hopes that the Australian government will at least condemn the aggressive activity by Hamas.

Obama & Border Controls

The failure by Obama to support Israel occurs at a time when he is being heavily criticised on domestic policies and when Speaker Boehner has said he will move in Congress that Obama is exceeding his legitimate powers as a President. Reports today indicate that former possible presidential candidate Sarah Palin has called for Obama to be impeached for, among other things, failing to protect US borders. While this seems unlikely, the immigration control issue has also prompted protesters near the border to turn back buses bringing immigrant children further into the US from the Texas border (see below).

The issue is, of course, relevant to the current dispute about asylum seekers policy in Australia and the attempt to undermine the government’s policy of allowing only refugees from recognised UN centres.