Three More Terrorists; Fairfax/Ipso Poll; Immigration Policy

Serious Deficiencies In Security Revealed in Victoria

In my Commentary published on 18 November I suggested the handling of the Bourke St incident indicated serious deficiencies. This has been confirmed by developments since then.

Most important has been the statement by Victorian Attorney General Pakula that Victorian police had not received information from federal sources which would warrant them acting to at least monitor the now dead Muslim terrorist, Shire Ali. But Victorian police chief Ashton subsequently announced that they had in fact received the necessary federal information. This prompted me to send a letter to the press arguing that Pakula should resign but, as he has stuck to his guns and has been supported by Victorian Premier Andrews, that won’t happen a couple of days before the election (see OZ on Bourke St Terrorist Revelationsand Pakula Claims Not Informed of Terrorists Passport Withdrawal).

My letter was published in today’s Australian (see below)  and the Herald Sun published a slightly different version

Fix terror tracking

The Australian, Letters, November 21

Following the killing of Sisto Malaspina by terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali and the many questions about the performance of security, police services and Victorian ministers, three men have now been arrested over another alleged terrorist plot (“Melbourne terror raids: three men charged over plot designed for ‘maximum casualties’”, 20/11).

While the capacity of protective services to prevent terrorism is limited, it must be given top priority in monitoring suspects. But despite removal of his passport, and frequent attendance at Muslim prayer bodies, Shire Ali was not.

Information about potential activists must be fully exchanged between state and federal agencies and ministers. Despite the initial denial by Victorian Attorney-General Pakula (“ASIO, Home Affairs contradict Martin Pakula on Shire Ali’s passport”, 19/11), this now appears to have been the case. This avoidance of facts, and failure to stop Shire Ali, calls for the resignation of Pakula.

Most importantly, federal and state governments need to review what appear to be serious deficiencies in arrangements for preventing terrorist activity.

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

Debate on this incident will doubtless continue but public attention moved yesterday to the announcement by Victorian police that three Muslims had been arrested as terrorists. It appears that these three had been planning a shooting expedition into a large crowd and their planning had been followed by police for some months despite their use of encryptions (see Objectives of Three Terrorists). Note that they were influenced by“Anwar al-­Awlaki, a Yemeni-American ­cleric who was killed in a drone ­attack and whose hate sermons inspired two of America’s worst terror attacks: the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, and the San Bernardino shooting”.

The report also reveals that “­Armagan Eriklioglu, the father of two brothers in the alleged terror cell, posted a link to a Turkish-language Islamic State Facebook –account”. He was not arrested yesterday and the report says he “is not suspected of being part of his sons’ alleged plans”, which seems surprising.

It is possible that this decision by Victorian police to arrest three was timed in order to demonstrate their efficiency (sic) after their poor performance in handling Shire Ali!

As to encryptions, Home Affairs Minister Dutton took the opportunity to call for “the Intelligence Committee today within the parliament to return their advice back to parliament very quickly because this is legislation the government needs to deal with very quickly,” he told reporters. “We have a bill before the parliament that provides the appropriate safety mechanisms, the privacy protections in place, but it allows police and ASIO to do their jobs in relation to these terrorist investigations”. “Mr Shorten has been opposed to this legislation but he needs to review his position as well. We are in a position of vulnerability” (see Dutton Seeks Shorten’s Support on Encryption).

Fairfax-Ipsos Poll Shows Increased Coalition Rating

The Fairfax/Ipsos poll for Nov 14-17 shows an increase in the Coalition’s rating to 48/52 TPP from 45/55 in Oct 10-13. At this level the Morrison government is at a higher rating than the Turnbull one was when he was deposed. But there is still a long way to  go for the Coalition and Morrison’s personal performance rating fell to 48 per cent from 50 per cent and his preferred PM rating also fell by a percentage point to 47.

The poll also asked pollers about their views on Energy Policy and Immigrants from Muslim countries, viz

  • Main energy priority for Government is 47% for Reduce Household Bills cf with 39% for Reduce Emissions.This suggests that, once the cost of reducing emissions hits bank accounts, there is a tendency to reduce support for measures which add to living costs. If the Morrison government were to reduce the cost of emissions (and hence Household Bills) that would likely further reduce support for the mythical dangerous warming thesis.
  • For views on Immigrants from Muslim countries, 47% say they should be reduced (cf 45% in previous poll) compared with 35% who voted for them to stay the same (cf 29% in previous poll). Those favouring an increase fell from 23% to 14%.  As this poll was taken before the Bourke St killing, it probably understates those who think Muslim immigrants should be reduced, as does the latest arrest of three Muslims. A more appropriate assessment would likely occur if the government were to publish an information paper on Muslim beliefs (see Fairfax-Ipso Poll Opposes Increased Muslims)

Immigration Statement by Morrison

In his so-called population speech on Monday, Morrison “floated the idea of reducing the permanent migration cap by about 30,000 people a year. This would bring the maximum permanent intake to the level to which it has fallen in the past year, despite the current cap being 190,000. The population plan will be discussed at the next meeting ­between state and federal govern­ments on December 12” (see Possible Immigration Targets).

While Labor has indicated it may support a reduction, this is a disappointing response to the many commentators who have argued for a higher reduction figure and to the decision not being made by the Federal government, which should be the policy determinant.

However, Morrison is reported as saying that “Australia will refuse to sign up to the UN’s migration pact, which has already been rejected by the US and several European countries, on the grounds it would weaken border security and undermine the annual immigration program”. He took the position that the compact is

“contrary to the ­national interest and would be used against Australia by critics of its border policies”. “I’m not going to sign up to an agreement that I believe will only be used by those who have always tried to tear our stronger border policies down”… “I experienced this first-hand back when I was responsible for stopping the boats. We must ­always decide on these issues and not have our laws undermined by outside influences” … and has a “fundamental flaw” in failing “to distinguish ­between illegal and “proper” ­migration when it came to the provision of welfare benefits” (see Australia Not Signing UN Global Migrant Pact).

Hopefully, this decision may also lead to rejecting other global agreements, such as the Paris one on climate change which is clearly not in Australia’s interests. But his statements justifying our immigration policy also need to emphasize that, while reflecting the cultural basis of our society, it is non-discriminatory. As indicated in the recent report by the Centre of Independent Studies, the social cohesion objective is an important component of immigration policy (see CIS Report on Immigration).

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