Janet Albrechtsen’s view on how to defeat Islam

In an article in The Australian today, Janet Albrechtsen argued that the ultimate way to defeat the rise of  Islam and the caliphate is by attacking the fundamental philosophies of the religion. It’s a battle of ideas according to Albrechtsen and the warriors of the right must gird up their loins.


In many ways she’s right and when she argues that the fundamental beliefs of Islam support the activities of groups like ISIS, she raises an important, though possibly dangerously misinformed, point.

One of the fundamental elements of the debate about the stance that Australia should take in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, certainly one pushed by Albrechtsen, is that Islam is essentially a violent religion and that the moderate Moslems are unprepared to accept  or acknowledge this.

When it comes to the fundamental question of whether  Islam is, at its heart, a violent religion, I am not in a position to make an informed judgement. And I’m sure most Australians are in a similar position. Despite its importance politically, Islam not well understood In Australia.

As part of mounting a sound philosophical and moral argument against the views of the Moslem radicals and the far right personified by Janet Albrechtsen, it is necessary that moderate Moslems articulate the view of their religion that repudiates the stance taken by the radicals of ISIS.

The people who represent the moderate voices in the Moslem community have  no treceived, nor  sought to receive, very much media attention.

Perhaps the time has come for that to change. Our national media and our national broadcasters need to be providing space where the case for a view Islam that rejects and repudiates the radicalism of ISIS can be clearly articulated.

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Muddle in Lala land

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has decided to increase the pay offer to defence personnel saying “it was the right thing to do” and of course had nothing to do with the pressure brought on him by Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie who had threatened to vote against all government legislation in the Senate unless the pay offer was improved.

Tony Abbott is feeling the squeeze from Jaqui Lambie

Tony Abbott is feeling the squeeze from Jaqui Lambie

Abbott said that this was an example of him listening to the Australian people. I think everybody would agree that it was pretty miserly of the Abbott government to offer the Armed Forces a pay increase below inflation given that their presence in the Middle East is an essential plank of government policy.

However, it’s hard to understand how Abbott has worked out that the Australian people  have expressed to support the deal. Most probably do, but it’s not been a hot political issue.

Senator Lambie said she would return to Tasmania to consult with Tasmanians about whether the offer was sufficient.

“I want to thank them for their stance behind me and what they have done with Defence Force personnel and they have allowed me to stand on this and I’m grateful to the people of Tasmania for the respect they show our Defence Force personnel.”

Jacqui Lambie: no pay increase, no Senate support

Jacqui Lambie: no pay increase, no Senate support

It is an interesting tactic on the part of the populist Lambie to conflate the issue of defence Force personnel with her political support from Tasmanians. They are obviously two different issues but Lambie is milking this one for all it is worth And is certainly playing to her local political base. And she certainly entitled to. She can rightly claim that she has single-handedly forced Abbott of change his stand on this particular policy

So the Prime Minister has made an increased pay offer to defence not because of Jaqui Lambie but because he realised that it was the right thing to do after listening to the Australian people.

And Lambie will be consulting with her political constituency to see whether she should accept the offer and  consequently support the government rather than finding out what defence personnel, think of the offer.

It’s no wonder we get confused.

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An appraisal Scott Morison’s policies on children in detention

One of the justifications for the federal government’s scandalous attack on Prof Gillian Triggs was that she did not acknowledge in her report that the current government had transferred more than 1000 children to Australia. The Government’s opinion was that her concentration on the parlous condition of the hundreds who were left, was nitpicking.

They do have a point. If something like 90% of the children in detention have been transferred to Australia then that should be acknowledged.

But the acknowledgement should not stop there. Prof Triggs was not asked to investigate the conditions in which the children who were transferred are living. She may have delivered a far more damning condemnation of current government policies than her current report has done.

There are some things we can reasonably assume from the situation.

The first is that these children have now been separated from their parents, who remain in detention.  It’s a rock and a hard place situation, really. Is it better to be living in a detention centre with your parents or living in a foreign country without them? Sen Ricky Muir was right when he said that it’s a terrible decision for someone to have to make.

The second reasonable assumption is that these children will be living with someone. Who this “someone” is has not been part of the public discussion of this issue. One possibility is that these children have been left with “illegal immigrant” families who have been settled in Australia and who are now living on 50% of the unemployment benefit.

If this is the case, it’s interesting that the government is prepared to shuffle responsibility for its policies on to one of the most reviled and victimised groups in Australian society.

The second possibility is that these children  have been placed in some form of state care where the care providers probably do not speak their language and where conditions are for the most part fairly grim. It is to be hoped that they have been placed in foster care of sympathetic and compassionate people who will take care of them in the face of the government’s complete lack of concern for their welfare.

It is difficult to imagine the trauma for a young child who has fled their home country, presumably after a considerable period of persecution and then made the journey from their homeland to Indonesia and then from Indonesia to the detention centre in a dangerously unseaworthy boat. On top of this has been added trauma of living with their parents in almost sub-human conditions in the detention centres for a lengthy period of time.

The Abbott Government is currently working up fear and paranoia over the “radicalisation” of young Muslems. From most of the reports in the media, this small group of young men appears to be a group of badly educated thugs who live in impoverished conditions in the outer suburbs of the main cities.

This is not to underestimate the problem that these young men may represent. But in history, the problem of radicalisation and of the birth of the of violent  revolutionary has not yet become  as apparent in  Australia as it has in other countries.

Radicals, revolutionaries, terrorists, call them what you wish, like de Valera, Castro, Ho Chi Minh and Mandela were born into lives of poverty, injustice,  disadvantage and political repression.

Imagine a Magistrate somewhere in Australia, some 20 years from now saying, “I’m taking into account the trauma suffered by the defendant in his home country, as result of his journey to the detention centre on Nauru, his five years as a child in that detention centre and his impoverished childhood after that, when sentencing him for the crime of………”  You can fill the gap with almost anything you like.

The result of the child detention policies of the Federal Government (ably supported by the Labor opposition) will be a group  of young men and women whose profoundly traumatised childhood and adolescence will lead them to becoming social problems of the kind and dimension that we have not seen before in Australia.

Australia has dealt with successive waves of migrants, some welcome, some not so welcome, reasonably well. These people have undergone the often painful process of assimilation into Australian culture with relative success. It is a process that we are now turning our backs on. It is impossible to calculate the cost, in both human and economic terms, of this disastrous policy.

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So you think the Liberal Party has leadership problems?

Spare a thought for the poor old Labor Party. Stuck with Bill Shorten.

Bill Shorten: all mouth and no trousers

Bill Shorten: all mouth and no trousers

There must be some hardheads in the parliamentary party and within the union movement who are beginning to realise that appointing Shorten wasn’t such a good idea.

It’s not that there’s necessary anything wrong with him but he has managed to achieve the near impossible by being both bland and invisible at the same time.

If Turnbull takes the leadership of the Liberal party and is able to campaign in the next federal election as an incumbent Prime Minister, he will slaughter Shorten. The Labor Party could be faced with a long time in the political wilderness.

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If Abbott falls, Morrison will be Prime Minister

The right wing of the Federal Liberal Party is already preparing for the demise of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. A subtle campaign, conducted primarily through The Australian, is beginning to position  Scott Morrison as a contender, should there be a spill.

Scott Morrison is smiling a lot because he thinks it will make him Prime Minister

Scott Morrison is smiling a lot because he thinks it will make him Prime Minister

There were two informative articles in The Australian last week. One contained a set of conditions under which the right wing of the party would support Malcolm Turnbull: no support for gay marriage, no support for changing climate policy, no support for a republic etc etc you can imagine what the rest of the list is. What the right was doing, through its official news outlet, was indicating to Turnbull that there was no chance that he would have its support unless he gave up his centralist-left policies.

The other was an article, also run in The Age entitled “In this game of thrones, Scott Morrison is now key.”  The article is very positive about Morrison and one of the strongest points  it made is that Morrison would come to the job without the baggage that Turnbull does, such as the apostasy of a bilateral approach with the Labour Party to climate change.

Malcolm Turnbull was probably confident he could get the numbers against Tony Abbott, but he probably hadn't factored Scott Morrison into the leadership contention

Malcolm Turnbull was probably confident he could get the numbers against Tony Abbott, but he probably hadn’t factored Scott Morrison into the leadership contention

The danger for the right is that if there is a spill and both Morrison and Abbott stand against Turnbull, the right-wing vote is likely to be split and Turnbull take the Prime Ministership. So it is imperative for the right that they convince Abbott to stand down before any spill.

So what the right needs to do is to muster its numbers and persuade Abbott not to stand if there is a spill and if Morrison wins, to ramp up the  “unity” rhetoric to ensure that Turnbull is not in a position to mount a challenge.

The disadvantage of this strategy is that Morrison is pretty unpopular in the electorate, He ranks behind Turnbull as preferred prime minister and a switch to Morrison may not necessarily lead to an improvement in the polls.

Getting rid of Abbott will remove the largest barnacle on the liberal keel but appointing someone from the right may not lead to the policy change that will help the Liberal party win the next election.

A Turnbull victory after a spill will probably be by the same majority that Abbott defeated him in the last leadership contest: one vote. Such a result would be disastrous and leave the party deeply divided.

The problem for the Liberal party now is that neither the right nor the left can produce a candidate who is likely to have more than the barest majority support in the party room. Continuing poor polling is going to lead to continuing turmoil within the government.

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Professor Gillian Triggs has my confidence, Tony

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has claimed that Human Rights Commissioner Professor Gillian Triggs had lost the confidence of the government and had lost the confidence of the Australian people.

President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs

President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs

That’s pretty rich coming from men who has a 75% disapproval rating in the Australian electorate. And how does a man who is so hopelessly out of touch with most Australians come to this conclusion?

From the attacks on Prof Triggs in the Senate committee, is quite clear that the head-kickers in the government are trying to frame the report from the Human Rights Commission as a matter of confidence (with the implication of political bias and possibly incompetence) rather than simply a message that is politically unacceptable to the current government.

The bully-boy actions of Attorney-General George Brandis and his sidekick Senator Barry O’Sullivan in the select committee are disgraceful.


It is difficult to understand what political advantage the government thinks it can get from attacking the a Human Rights Commission.   What it does shows is that they are extremely sensitive to criticism of their record on children in detention.

It looks very much like the last-ditch attempts of desperately unpopular and isolated Prime Minister to curry some favour in the party room or in the electorate.

 Tony Abbott has a few things to say about Jillian Triggs

Tony Abbott has a few things to say about Jillian Triggs

However, it is likely that the vast proportion of the Australian population doesn’t care much about this specific issue. Those who do understand will be absolutely appalled.

But it gets worse. It appears that the government, through the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Chris Moraitis, may have offered Prof Triggs an inducement to stand down as commissioner. Quite rightly, she refused.

Just imagine the political mileage that Abbott and Brandis would have made had she accepted the offer. “A clear indication of her acceptance  of the fact that she has lost the confidence of the government etc etc etc” you can hear them say.

So what we have here is yet another dismal chapter in the slow but inevitable decline of someone who may well go down in history as Australia’s worst Prime Minister.

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God, the Law, Gay Rights and Islamic Terrorism in Alabama

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, Roy Moore decided to defy a federal court judge who ruled Alabama’s stance on gay marriage was unconstitutional by directing Alabama judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Judge In 2001 Moore was elected to the office of Chief Justice saying the state of Alabama established justice by “invoking the favour and guidance of Almighty God”. He was later removed from the position for various traditional indiscretions  one of which included installing a two-and-a-half ton stone tablet of the Ten Commandments installed in the central rotunda of the Supreme Court building.

So much to the separation of church and state.

He was re-elected in 2012.

After his stance on gay marriage all crazy people came out from underneath their rocks.

The evangelist preacher Cindy Adams told her flock that God had told her that He was using Alabama as a tool in his fight against Satan. “God says, ‘There will be an anointing come out of Alabama that is going to reserve the judicial activism that has been in this nation,” she explained. “God says. ‘And I’m going to use Alabama to reverse what Satan has done and it will tip the nation.'”

A Mississippi Ku Klux Klan outfit staged a rally and issued a statement in Moore’s support. “The Mississippi Klan salutes Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore, for refusing to bow to the yoke of Federal tyranny,” Brent Waller, the UDKW’s imperial wizard wrote. “The fudge packers from Hollywood and all major news networks are in shock that the good people from the heart of Dixie are resisting their Imperialist, Communist Homosexual agenda!”

Erick Erickson, the blogger recently named by the Atlantic magazine as the most powerful  the conservative in America, wrote a piece explaining the parallels between gay rights activists and Islamic terrorists.

Erick Erickson links gay marriage to Islamic terrorism

Erick Erickson links gay marriage to Islamic terrorism

Moore argues that “the basic problem in our country has been distancing God from our country and our laws. And you can’t do that. If you do that, you must say that rights and freedoms come not from God, but from Man. If you say they come from Man they will be taken away.”

When you look at these views, it becomes clear why social progress is so difficult in the conservative states of America. It is impossible to argue with people like Roy Moore, Cindy Adams   (who speaks directly to God), Brent Waller or Erick Erickson, because there is no logic or intellectual structure behind their views.  It’s just a series of assertions normally based either on speaking directly to God or on highly subjective or implausible interpretations of the scriptures.

The United States Supreme Court is set to rule on a gay marriage case sometime before June, settling the issue nationally once and for all. Legal observers expect them to declare it illegal for states to reserve marriage for heterosexual couples. Moore concedes that if it does he will be bound by the decision.

The good thing is that ultimately the rule of law does prevail.

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