Polling Does Not Support Budget
Turnbull’s further shift to the left (where is the middle now?) didn’t get any substantive support from the latest Newspoll, with the TPP percentages (47/53) unchanged. Some say that there was no budget “bounce” but the fact that it didn’t rise one bit sends a bad message on both the budget and Turnbull’s leadership even though his satisfaction ratio rose very slightly (so did Shorten’s). One commentator said that “the trend is set and it favours Shorten”.
What could the Coalition do now to even get to equal with Labor? The failure of Turnbull to make use (politically) of the Manchester bombing seems to confirm that he is not up to the leadership role. He had a marvellous opportunity to state that Islam is the source of terrorist activity, as Trump did in Saudi Arabia, and to say that the government will develop an assessment of extremist Islam with a view to disqualifying people from receiving citizenship and tightening policy against the preaching and advocacy of behaviour inconsistent with western values. The discussion paper issued recently under the names of Turnbull and Dutton and titled “Strengthening Australian Citizenship” provides a starting point for a policy on measures to protect democracy from terrorism. We also have counter-terrorism legislation which provides a basis for prosecuting foreign fighters returning to Australia. Yet we find that Attorney General Brandis is refusing to say how many such extremists have been prosecuted under that legislation, although the government has introduced a new offence for visiting a declared terrorist zone (article by Sharri Markson today not digitalised). It is timely to expand counter-terrorist policy.
Recognition of the Source of Terrorism Needed
Never before has there been such an important need for our political leader to make a statement on the source of almost all terrorist activity, Islam. As mentioned in yesterday’s Commentary we have the outrageous assertion by our head of ASIO, Duncan Lewis, that there is no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism. Andrew Bolt says today that “if the ASIO chief truly doesn’t know of any links between refugees and terrorism, then he must be sacked, instantly, for being asleep at the wheel” (see Bolt on Lewis). But Lewis has also asserted that “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion.” To coin a phrase, in some way this is an even worse statement for the Head of ASIO to make. This situation requires a statement by Turnbull explaining that Lewis’s remarks do not reflect government policy and that he has asked Lewis to stand down.
The need is enhanced by a submission made by the non-government Public Health Association to the Inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Tradeinto The status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief. The PHAA says in its submission that the committee should include a recommendation that disavows the notion there is any inherent link between Islam and terror and that any politician who refers divisively … to any religious or ethnic group for the purpose of political gain should be disavowed (see Doctors Say No Link). The PHAA submission was co-signed by its president and former politician Michael Moore, Curtin University professor of international health Jaya Duntas, and David Legge, a scholar emeritus in public health at La Trobe University. With almost 2000 members, the association’s aim is to enhance population health results based on prevention, the social determinants of health and equity principles. To date, almost 200 submissions have been made to an Inquiry which is seemingly fruitless and will only serve to cause divisiveness.
Another development relevant to increasing terrorism (although not directly in Australia) and to “big government”, is this article on Islamic Influence Under Macron, the new French President. This article is by Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris who is the author of 27 books on France and Europe. Milliere claims that:
- Macron’s victory was not decisive, that more than half of those who chose him were apparently voting against Marine Le Pen, and that Macron won by default because he was the last man standing;
- He is not a centrist, was discreetly supported by most of the Socialist Party’s leaders and by the outgoing Socialist President, François Hollande, and all of Macron’s team-members were socialists or leftists;
- Macron’s entire program is socialist, proposals for additional public expenditures abound, “climate change” is defined as “the key issue for the future of the world”;
- Macron is the pure product of what analysts described as the “French nomenklatura” — an arrogant élite, composed of senior officials, political power-holders and the businessmen working in close collaboration;
- His aim is to consolidate the power of those who placed him where he is; their goal is to create a large, single, center-left, technocratic political party that will crush the old political parties;
- Another goal is to entrust ever more power to the technocratic unaccountable, untransparent and undemocratic institutions of the European Union: it is a goal Emmanuel Macron never stopped emphasizing;
- Macron says the demographic deficit requires more immigration, to encourage mobility between the two shores of the Mediterranean, and to offer asylum to all those who seek its protection;
- With almost all refugees arriving in France being Muslims, Macron wants Islam to have more room in France, a new structure will make it possible to relaunch the work sites of the Muslim religion in France;
- The French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood congratulated Macron on his victory, publishing an official communiqué saying the new President of the Republic will allow the reconciliation of France with itself;
- Macron’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and favoured their installation in the city of which he is the mayor, Le Havre;
- Richard Ferrand, a Socialist MP, now Minister for the Cohesion of Territories, has been financially contributing to the anti-Israel BDS movement and to “pro-Palestinian” organizations for years;
- Gerard Collomb, the Socialist Mayor of Lyon, and now Interior Minister, financed the French Institute of Muslim Civilization that will open its doors in December 2017;
- Macron said he was “dismayed” over the Manchester Arena terror attack, adding that he was “filled with dread”, but did not express the necessity of confronting the danger. The French have every reason to be nervous.
Whether these objectives will be achieved remains to be seen, but they send a warning note of what can happen when a large body of Muslims accumulate in a country (France has the largest proportion of Muslims of any European country).
Climate Change Policy
Developments since the G7 meeting in Sicily suggest that, although our left media have claimed that Trump was “isolated” there on climate policy, a better interpretation is that the other 6 have been put on the defensive, with Merkel reportedly “angry” about Trump refusing to endorse the Paris Agreement and stating publicly that with Brexit and Clexit Europe is now on its own. As such, it will need to stop being angry and adopt some better policies.
The body in the US which has adopted a sceptical view for many years (The Science and Environmental Policy Project or SEPP) points out in its latest newsletter that “Those advocating the Paris Agreement have never offered physical evidence that CO2 emissions are the primary cause of global warming / climate change. They just assumed it. So did the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other political bodies such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), with a budget of about $2.5 billion per year”. One might add here that Australia’s supposedly scientific bodies also provided little substantive argument in support of the dangerous warming thesis and that Australian political leaders swallowed the hook.
If Trump now arranges for the EPA under his newly appointed leader Scott Pruitt to publish a meaningful document on what SEPP describes as the “physical evidence”, it will expose how these assumptions were foolishly accepted by politicians and scientists, including those in Australia. SEPP also refers to the latest economic forecasts by the OECD for G7 countries as being for Canada (2.34%), France (1.59%), Germany (1.74%), Italy (1.03%), Japan (0.83%), the United Kingdom (0.96%) and the United States (3.00%). It argues that, from this, one can conclude that there is no other country on the list whose economic policies are desirable for the US to imitate and concludes that “Mr. Trump has a powerful economic reason to abandon the Paris Agreement and no scientific justification for staying in the agreement”. Of course, the differences in growth rates cannot all be attributed to climate change policy differences. But Europe has been more global warmish than elsewhere and SEPP points out that “the economies of countries such as the UK, Germany, and Italy are stagnating in part due to government policies that did not appropriately account for the increases in electricity costs that occur in shifting from reliable fossil fuel generation to unreliable solar and wind generation. Germany is compounding its problem by shifting from reliable nuclear generation and is being forced to expand power plants burning brown coal, which produces more CO2 than black coal (a higher thermal content)”. Here too Australia is on the same economically wasteful track.