ANU Programs, Abbott’s Priorities, Turnbull Wrong Again on CC, Iran Problem, Summit

ANU Programs Funded From Arab Money

My Commentary of 5 June suggested that the ANU should explain if programs funded by Arab money are free from attempts to persuade students of the benefits in the Koran. It appears that so far there has been no such explanation and Vice-Chancellor Schmidt has refused to interview The Australian’s rep (see ANU’s Program on Arab/Islamic Studies). However, according to The Australian report, the ANU’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies “has been at the forefront of contentious discussions around Middle Eastern politics and society with minimal backlash from its ­academics” and has received “sizeable donations from the United Arab Emirates and the governments of Iran and Turkey, frequently publishes ­articles supportive of a Palestine state and Iran, hosts lectures on ‘deconstructing the extremist narrative’ and ‘Islamophobia in post-communist Europe’, and has featured guest speakers who are critical of US policy”.

Even the Deputy Director of the Centre, Prof James Piscatori, has acknowledged that the clumsy handling of the question may be interpreted as “literary terrorism”.

So far, only two members of the Coalition have been reported in the media: Craig Kelly told Sky News that  “They are accepting money from Iran. That’s a despotic government … that does everything to suppress academic freedoms, the freedoms of women”; and Tony Abbott also pointed out the “hypocrisy” of the union opposing the course on Western Civilisation when the university had accepted funds from Dubai, Iran and Turkey in the past. Today, however, Turnbull has indicated that he will discuss the matter with Schmidt. One wonders whether he might mention the extent to which his government funds the ANU.

Abbott’s Priorities

As it happened, Abbott had just co-launched a new relevant book by education expert, Kevin Donnelly, titled How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia; Enemies Within and Without. Fellow launcher, and top rating Radio Broadcaster, Alan Jones, praised Abbott for sticking around “as the nation confronted a crisis in leadership”. Responding to a comment by Jones that a crisis in Western political leadership and education would not have continued if Mr Abbott remained prime minister, Mr Abbott said: “I wish. What you discover in big jobs is that you don’t have all the power that you would like.I discovered, for instance, as prime minister that there were many things the government couldn’t do. It couldn’t get every aspect of its budget passed because the Senate wouldn’t let us. All too often, centre-right governments are in office but not in power.”

Asked to nominate one thing he would “fix” if prime minister again, Mr Abbott picked two.“Take the pressure off the cost of living by doing something about power prices,” he said. “The next thing you would do is scale back the rate of ­immigration.” (see Abbott’s Priorities).

Turnbull Wrong Again on CChange

In his tour of rural areas experiencing drought conditions, Turnbull told the farmers “There’s no doubt that our climate is getting warmer,” he said. “I don’t know many people in rural NSW that I talk to that don’t think the climate is getting drier and rainfall is becoming more volatile.” As pointed out in The Australian’s editorial, there is no evidence of increases in droughts and, as I have indicated many times, there is no co-relationship between increases in temperatures and in usage of carbon dioxide (see Turnbull Wrong Again).

In fact, the Wall St Journal has published an article by  an expert in California pointing out that “while opinion surveys find that roughly half of Americans regard climate change as a problem, the issue has never achieved high salience among the public, despite the drumbeat of alarm from the climate campaign. Americans have consistently ranked climate change the 19th or 20th of 20 leading issues on the annual Pew Research Center poll, while Gallup’s yearly survey of environmental issues typically ranks climate change far behind air and water pollution” The author suggests that “climate change as an issue is over” (see Climate Change Over as Big Issue).

Increasing Recognition of the Iran Problem (But Not By ABC)

Israeli PM Netanyahu is providing support for Trump in his announcement that the US is withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu is having head to head meetings with the leaders of three major EU countries who still adhere to it. That their Finance Ministers are seeking support for exemptions from the sanctions being imposed on Iran by Trump suggests that he may be having some affect (see Netanyahu Meets Macron on Iran Deal).

The Australian has also weighed in, arguing that the three countries should withdraw. As its editorial points out,  “the deal’s boost to Iran, with $US100 billion from the US in sanctions repayments, has done much to further Tehran’s ambitions across the Middle East, propping up the Syrian regime and providing weapons and resources to Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists who want to destroy Israel. Whatever the commercial imperatives, European cosignatories cannot remain blind to the grave shortcomings of the Obama deal. They will be ill-serving the West’s strategic interests in doing so” (see New Evidence on Iran).

One might add that the Australian government should announce that it supports the US withdrawal.

AIJAC leader, Colin Rubenstein, has also complained at the failure of the ABC to provide any significant coverage of one of the most deadly recent attacks launched by Palestinian militants (who are supported by Iran/Hamas) ­despite more than a hundred rockets being launched indiscriminately toward Israel. As Rubenstein points out, this is only one of many failures by the ABC about the attacks on Israel and even Minister Fifield has sought an official response from the ABC.

NK Summit Supported By Kim

Reports of internal action taken by Kim indicate that the Trump/Kim summit will go ahead on June 12 ( a separate report says that a top NK official begged on his knees to have the summit !)

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