On the subject of...

Immigration

27
Sep
2016

Ken Henry on Budget Problem, Aleppo Highlights US Failures Under Obama, Ban Muslim Migrants?

The Weekend Australian ran as the lead report an interview by Paul Kelly with former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, who is now Chairman of the National Bank. Henry said that more needs to be done to reduce the budget deficit instead of talking about it (see Ken Henry on Budget Deficit). This provided an opportunity to point out that the “times have changed” since Henry was the TS and advised Rudd to go for broke: indeed the advice to Rudd was, at best, highly questionable if not wrong (see my letter below). The Australian is to be congratulated for continuing its helpful advocacy today partly through publishing a swag of supporting letters and partly by having its Canberra Bureau Chief, Phillip Hudson, pen a separate article (see Everyone to blame for our budget spiral of hopelessness). Hudson points out that one of the problems is that “ Neither Labor or the Coalition, on their current trajectory, ­promise a surplus before the next election. Morrison hopes for one in 2020-21. Labor went to the last election with a plan that would leave the budget $16bn worse off over the next four years before making everything tickety-boo within a decade. These scenarios are based on Australia continuing on its growth path of the past 25 years. What happens if something goes wrong?”
18
Sep
2016

Budget (?) “Wins”, Immigration Policy

Although we had a long election campaign during which Parliament was not sitting, it now has another “break” until 10 October during which Turnbull and two other ministers (including Immigration Minister Dutton) will travel to the US. In this coming week Turnbull is scheduled to attend what his press release describes as “the biggest summit on the international calendar” - the UN General Assembly Leaders’ Week, which will include “summits on refugees and migration” hosted by Ban Ki-moon and a smaller one arranged by Obama. But, while discussions at UN General Assemblies rarely produce meaningful policies for use back home, the risk is that Turnbull may relax our refugees policy and, as Abbott did, agree to take more refugees. Given the tightening of border controls by European countries, and increasing concern about terrorists being amongst asylum seekers, Australia’s existing policy would seem justifiable.
29
Jun
2016

Some Important Implications of Brexit, Failures in Interpreting Muslim Religion

David Cameron has been British PM since May 2010 and won a second term in May 2015 with an all Conservative government (his first government was a Coalition with the Liberal Democrats). That second term was won with a much larger majority (331-232) than predicted by polls, probably because the polls under-estimated the (then) unpopular proposals by Labour Leader Millibrand (now replaced by the extremist Corbyn!). An independent inquiry into the polling suggested that the polling methods resulted in conservative voters being under-represented. The 72.7% who voted on the EU referendum exceeded the proportion in the May 2015 election (66.4%) and the 1975 European referendum’s 64.62%. Reports indicate that those who voted to leave appear to have comprised a high proportion of lower-middle income groups.
24
Jun
2016

Unfavourable Polling for Coalition & Some Reactions to Turnbull Dinner

The reactions to Turnbull’s dinner at Kirribilli House with “dozens” of Muslims vary but will likely have only limited electoral influence in a context where the latest Fairfax –Ipsos poll shows for the second time that Labor is ahead at 51/49 on a TPP basis. While the Newspoll of marginal seats suggests this may not be sufficient to win (because the support for Labor is not fully reflected in marginal seats), the Fairfax poll seems to confirm that there has been a slight swing against Turnbull since the election started. In one sense this is surprising given the greater extent of promised additional unjustified expenditures announced by Labor, the fact that it has acknowledged that it would have higher Budget deficits than the Coalition over the next four years, and numerous policy announcements that provided the opportunity for extensive criticism, including the claim that Turnbull would privatise Medicare (Turnbull favours government interventions and the claim just gave him justification to confirm that without upsetting colleagues). But Turnbull has so far failed to exploit Shorten’s poor budget policy partly because the Coalition itself has already budgeted for high deficits and this makes it more difficult to distinguish between the two major parties. In addition, Turnbull has continued to announce expenditures which while claimed as already provided for in the Coalition budget estimates (The Australian’s SPEND-O-METER shows $5bn announced by Turnbull cf $16.2bn for Labor during the election campaign) give the impression that both sides are adding to deficits and that the differences between the two are small.
19
Jun
2016

Turnbull’s Islamic Policy

Due to the time needed to complete the sale of the house Felicity and I owned at Malua Bay, I have not been able to send a Commentary since 29 May. With the house sale completed today, it is opportune to comment briefly on an attempt by Turnbull to portray a close relationship with Australia’s Muslim community while at the same time acknowledging that “in this age of terrorism –overwhelmingly inspired by radical Islamist ideology –our security agencies must have the trust of Isalmic communities in order to succeed”. Attached are reports from today’s Australian, which gave front page treatment to Turnbull’s dinner invitation “dozens” of Muslims.
29
Nov
2015

Paris Terrorism Attacks -Responses

Since the Islamist terrorists launched their attacks in Paris on 13 November there have been terrorist attacks in other parts of the world and statements by world leaders at several international meetings condemning the ISIS group and supporting the need to destroy that group and its caliphate. But apart from additional air strikes on military target and some tightening in counter-terrorism policies, particularly by giving police additional powers under declarations of emergency, there appears to have been precious little action by governments (in fact almost all of the Paris terrorists appear to have adopted the Islamic suicide fate rather than allow themselves to be shot by police or imprisoned).
29
Nov
2015

Turnbull, 7.30 Interview and Related Developments

On Tuesday I circulated a strong critique of Turnbull’s National Security statement. This is on my Institute for Private Enterprise web site. By contrast, almost all commentators praised it, although in both Wednesday’s and yesterday’s The Australian political editor Dennis Shanahan expressed some reservations, including in regard to Turnbull’s dismissal of the idea of attacking ISIL by sending troops –or, as it is commonly called, “putting troops on the ground”. Shanahan also suggested that having “a prime minister use a security address to parliament as an instrument to respond to a backbencher — albeit one who was prime minister only two months ago — devalues his own message and simultaneously emboldens and enrages Abbott” (see “Turnbull v Abbott –Shanahan” and “Interpretation of Turnbull’s Security Statement”).
22
Nov
2015

Some Responses to Paris Attacks

Immediately following the terrorist attacks in Paris world leaders (sic) met in Turkey and issued a joint statement. Although I have not so far obtained the full text, it is evident from extracts in this attachment that the basic problem was not addressed. In one sense that is not surprising: the G20 has a poor record in addressing fundamentals and has tended to use meaningless general phrases. And its membership includes countries whose populations accept religions which to varying extents derive from the Koran and which were the religions of the suicide bombers in Paris and those who planned the attack, reportedly in Syria.
22
Sep
2015

Coalition TPP Up under Turnbull. Turnbill on 7.30. Environment Threats as Paris Nears. A Greek Victory?

The Coalition’s Newspoll increase from a TPP of 46/54 to 51/49 is encouraging, particularly for Turnbull supporters, although it suggests a “wait and see” picture rather than the establishment of a conclusive electoral position. More encouraging is Turnbull’s improvement in the Better PM verdict from a minus 4% net under Abbott to a plus 34% net. Even here however there is a wait and see element in the 24% who remain “uncommitted”. Roy Morgan’s index of consumer confidence also jumped but only to fractionally above the long term average.
15
Sep
2015

Muslim Problem being Recognised

Yesterday’s Commentary drew attention to reports that indicated a significant proportion of the refugees to Europe (more strictly, to Germany) may be “economic” migrants using the refugee label and that opposition to an open door immigration policy appeared to be increasing there. I also referred to analyses by the non-partisan US think-tank Gatehouse Foundation suggesting the 6 million Muslims in Germany are heavily under the influence of an extremist group and that the problems arising from extensive cultural differences were not being recognised. This poses, I noted, a serious threat of a break-up of the EU and possible forcible internal resistance in Europe.