Whatever the outcome of the election, the 2.8% swing against the Coalition, and thenow very real possibility that it will be unable to form government on its own, is clearly a vote of no confidence in Turnbull and the policies he presented since taking-over from Abbott – or rather the lack of them. Those who were characterised as Del-Cons, which included myself, correctly identified that Turnbull is at heart a big government interventionist who lacks the capacity to adopt policies which would encourage private enterprise and should not be a leader of the Liberal Party. His attempt to persuade the electorate that he had an “economic plan” was unconvincing and wrongly used the word “plan”. Concern remains that a government led by him would aggressively pursue policies supported by him in the past, such as global warming, but not outlined before or during the election campaign.
Leading Columnist Andrew Bolt has called on Turnbull to resign (see Bolt on Election). Tony Abbott told today’s Herald Sun “this election is not about me. It’s about Malcolm Turnbull”
More generally, one of features (sic) of the election campaign was the failure of the various contenders to deal with probably the most important policy issue facing Australia and other Western countries – the growing threat from Islamic extremism, with the latest example of IS activity being the killing of 26 in the diplomatic area in Dacca, Bangladesh. In the campaign Turnbull limited his remarks on defence policy to talking only about the building of French submarines in South Australia. One can only hope that the incoming government will make a tougher response to statements by Muslim leaders which are inconsistent with Western beliefs.
Turnbull did reject the idea that there should be a “ban” and possible beheading for homosexuality (see Sheridan on Muslim attitude to Homosexuals). That had previously been made publicly by one of the religious leaders invited to his dinner at Kirribilli House, namely Sheik Shady Alsuman. This sheik is President of Australian National Imams Council and, given the Muslim belief in sharia law, such preachers play a more important role in Muslim societies than their equivalent in Christian societies.
The statement by the Australian leader of Muslims, Grand Mufti Mohammed, that “no person can ever change” Islam’s rejection of homosexuality thus assumes considerable importance and illustrates the problem faced by our society in regard to the Islamic religion (see Grand Mufti attacks Turnbull). My letter on this was published in The Australian (see below).
That problem becomes even greater once account is taken of the fact that some imams also support the adoption of sharia law and jihadist activity both in Australia and in overseas countries with whom we have friendly relations. This support extends to many more than the “tiny minority” which is sometimes used by commentators the describe the threat.
Freedom of religion can surely not include a religion or those sections which support beheadings of homosexuals, sharia law and jihadism. Turnbull’s decision to hold a dinner with leaders of our Islamic community was apparently designed to welcome them as part of Australia’s multi-cultural society. But in doing so he showed an ignorance of those beliefs which “no person can ever change”. Just as he condemned Sheik Shady’s comments on homosexuality, so too must he or his successor tell Muslims that the advocacy of or support for sharia law and jihadism are not acceptable in Australia,.