As expected, Abbott’s statement on national security produced critics, with the ABC’s 7.30 report sinking to depths not previously experienced (see transcript below). The focus of the 7.30 story was on Abbott’s public criticism of an Australian Muslim calling from Iraq/Syria for terrorist recruits as an example of the threat to Australia: according to 7.30, Abbott’s action prejudiced the legal position of a man arrested here. Even if that were the case, is that the issue.
Sales “forgot” to mention until the end of the story that the magistrate refusing bail said he had not been influenced in his decision by Abbott’s comments. Nor did she mention that the Grand Mufti in Australia, in a video called Muslim Community Confronts Abbott, had recently made common cause with one of our most extreme Islamist groups (see Bolt on Muslim Attitudes here). Beyond that one might have expected at least one expression of concern by the ABC about the threat to ordinary Australian citizens. Another disgraceful performance by the ABC.
A bit late but I had an insignificant offset in a letter published in the AFR today (see below). And Janet Albrechsten has an excellent article on this subject in today’s Australian (see attached).
Some are concerned that criticisms of the apparent sympathy of some Muslims with terrorist activity has “racist” implications and repercussions and will build antagonism to freedom of speech. But freedom of speech should not include freedom to advocate the murder of innocent citizens. That is a vital reservation that must be discussed about freedom of speech.
The new Treasury Secretary has made an excellent start in an interview with The Australian’s economic editor. Not only have his comments illustrated the line that the Abbott government should have been taking since elected (but hasn’t). They also illustrate what a well run Treasury might have been saying publicly for some considerable time in the past. There is no magic solution here. But Fraser offers potential to effect a considerable improvement.