On the subject of...

Terrorism

25
Apr
2019

Uncertainty in Labor’s Policies; Islamic Threat

Today’s Australian has published considerable material on the failure of Labor to clearly enunciate its policies. I have previously drawn particular attention to Labor’s failure to publish aggregates alternative to those in the Coalition’s budget and to costings for the economy of its global warming policy. This defect remains. But the recent emergence of many questions about Labor’s policies on specific policy issues has opened the way for much wider challenges to be made. The opening up of this area should also allow Morrison to reduce his announcements of funding small projects, which appear too much as vote buying, and focus more on attacking Shorten. It has also led The Australian to inter alia run the main letters column today with the heading Uncertainty Surrounds Labor’s Announced Policies. I was fortunate in having my epistle included as “lead letter”
17
Mar
2019

NZ Killings

As expected, there has been universal condemnation of the killing of 49 Muslims in two NZ mosques by an Australian using automatic weapons. That person is Breton Tarrant, who seems to have planned the killings carefully, including by spending three months in Christchurch and maintaining contacts with 3-4 colleagues. The incident has naturally raised questions about the implications for police/defence policies and whether existing policies are adequate.
12
Jan
2019

US Defence & Immigration Policies; US/China Trade; OZ Energy Policy

Trump’s sudden announcement that the US intends to “immediately withdraw” troops from Syria (and much reduced troops for Afghanistan) has caused much confusion as to US defence policy and, following the resignation of Mattis as Defence Secretary, Trump has found it difficult to get a replacement. While consistent with his election manifesto, Trump appears to have recognised that he was being too hasty and it appears he has accepted the view of National Security adviser, John Bolton, that the withdrawal be extended over a longer period and that it should first involve the elimination of IS (which Trump initially claimed had been achieved). Even so, policy uncertainty remains.
9
Jan
2019

“Far Right” Views Assessed; France Crisis

It is not clear whether or not Senator Anning’s attendance at a small St Kilda protest rally was intended to stir public discussion and comments from Morrison and Shorten. But this has happened and some points made in my Commentary on Monday have also been reflected in that discussion. Importantly, The Australian has published a number of letters (see OZ Letters on “Far-Right”), including my own as what is sometimes called the lead letter
4
Jan
2019

Hollywood Bias Exposed; Trump Sticks to Troop Withrawal; Romney’s Vew

It is widely accepted that, through its films and those acting in them, Hollywood favourably portrays the left and criticises the right. Because it has established this position over the years, most viewers/readers take account of this bias when commenting on a film and simply say no more than “well just as one expected”. But occasionally the bias is so bad that an observer feels forced to draw attention to it.
21
Nov
2018

Three More Terrorists; Fairfax/Ipso Poll; Immigration Policy

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 Revelations and Pakula Claims Not Informed of Terrorists Passport Withdrawal).
20
Nov
2018

Immigration Policy; Turnbull Rampant; Terrorist Identification Rules

In last Thursday’s Commentary I drew attention to an article in The Australian by John Stone suggesting that immigration isthe most obvious example of Morrison’s present policy deficiencies and arguing that the permanent settler program should be cut by 60,000. Stone added that if Morrison was “prepared to say that Australia will continue to be non-discriminatory on racial or ethnic grounds, but will henceforth reject all permanen­t visa applicants judged to be culturally incompatible with our Australian way of life, he would enormously enhance his electoral prospects next year”.
16
Nov
2018

Continued Concern on Islamic Threat

As expected, more information is emerging about the activity of radicalised Muslims and their relationship with the Hume Islamic Centre. The most worrying development reported today about the Bourke St terrorist, Shire Ali, is that he was on bail when the killing occurred and had a record of getting away with breaking previous bails. This information would have been available to the Victorian government and to senior police. In those circumstances Shire Ali should have been at least closely watched but there have been no reports that he was. More details will be available tomorrow but there is no doubt that this will become a major issue in the imminent Victorian election.
14
Nov
2018

More on Islamic Killing; Further Downturn in Newspoll

Last Sunday’s Commentary on the killing by a Somalian (Shire Ali) in Bourke St gave the gist of PM Morrison’s reaction that “I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but it also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism,” he said. “Religious extremism takes many forms around the world, and no religion is immune from it … But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism … is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.”
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