New Measures to Stop Terrorists; Morrison Attacks Labor’s Energy Policy

Possible Additional Measures to Stop Terrorists

Not surprisingly there has been no response to my suggestion in yesterday’s Commentary that Victorian Attorney General Pakula should resign because he falsely  told Victorians that the Victorian police had not received information from Federal agencies indicating that Shire Ali was a jihadist. Now, we also know that, for six days, Victorian Premier Andrews “kept to himself the fact that Shire Ali … had actually been out on bail” (see Bolt on Muslim Immigrants).

This mishandling by Victorian ministers and police of the Shire Ali incident could have cost more than one life but fortunately they recognized the risk in time to arrest the three jihadists who had been planning for some months to attack a crowd in Melbourne. But the mishandling of Shire Ali case reflects the generally poor administration by Victorian Labor as outlined in today’s Herald Sun (see Victoria Under Andrews).

Opposition leader Matthew Guy did not take full advantage of this poor administration when he debated Andrews last night at a public forum (the only one of such happenings during the election) and, in particular, he should have made more use of the mishandling of the Shire Ali incident and the gangs of Sudanese.  There are more examples quoted in the above piece by Bolt, who suggests that “Victoria takes the cake”.

The most encouraging development in handling terrorism is this morning’s report that “the Morrison government is preparing to strip extremists of their Australian citizenship if they are entitled to acquire a foreign one based on where they, their parents or even their grandparents were born. The plan to deport terrorists who are solely Australian citizens is also understood to have been discussed at the high-level ­National Security Committee of Cabinet and the indication that the government is also planning to announce strong new laws around dual-national terrorists living in Australia. The current legislation is unworkable because it requires an extremist to have been convicted of a terror offence with a sentence of six years or more before they can be booted out of the country” (see Possible Additions to Anti-Terrorist Legislation). Some more details are in Terrorist Laws to be Tightened before Xmas.

If the changed laws can be passed by Parliament before Christmas, it will be the most important action taken since the Morrison government started and may indicate that Morrison is more clearly separating himself from Turnbull, who is reported as taking action to try to prevent Abbott from standing in his electorate and generally undermining the Liberal party. It appears that several branches of the Liberal Party in NSW favour expelling Turnbull from the party (see Turnbull Sabotages Libs). Such action would not be supported by Morrison, and would pose difficulties for the so-called moderate section of the party, but  Turnbull’s views will have a much reduced influence.

Energy Policy

Meantime there are signs that the Morrison government may be prepared to modify its climate change policy in response to Shorten’s announcement of Labor’s energy policy. It is reported that Morrison “lashed out at Mr Shorten’s energy policy, which promises to put $15 billion into fixing the national energy network and subsidising solar storage batteries for 100,000 households”. Dutton has also joined the offensive against Labor’s planned $2000 handout for home battery installations, invoking Kevin Rudd’s botched home insulation scheme and the “Cash for Clunkers” program this morning as he dismissed Mr Shorten’s plan. “This pink batteries debacle is like the Cash for Clunkers,” he told 2GB, “These people just don’t learn the lesson.” (see Labor’s Energy Policy on Batteries).

If the Coalition can at least modify its present emissions reduction policy as part of an attack on Labor’s policy, that could also improve its polling. The fact that Dutton has joined the attack, which would not have happened under Turnbull’s leadership, is promising.

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