Friday, July 16, 2010


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is not much impressed by the new NSW speed-camera system

Indonesia won’t give asylum to Gillard’s idea, either

By Andrew Bolt

Julia Gillard’s plan for a “regional proecessing centre” for boat people isn’t going very well, is it?

First East Timor’s Parliament says it doesn’t want it, and then Papua New Guinea says no, thanks, too. Now Indonesia warns that Gillard might just attract more of what she wants to stop:
AUSTRALIA has failed in its bid to win Indonesia’s outright support for an asylum-seeker processing centre in East Timor...

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, warned yesterday that Julia Gillard’s proposal was little more than a “potential component in a regional framework” and said it was too early to consider where such a facility might be located.

The Indonesian immigration department expressed reservations about the East Timor option, arguing it could become a magnet for asylum seekers.

‘’I think it would be a pull factor for those who are still in their countries. It may attract more people to come to East Timor on their way to Australia,’’ said Maroloan Barimbing, the spokesman for the department.

‘’Since they don’t know how to get to East Timor, they may end up wandering around in Indonesia.’’


Are Muslims the “right kind of migrant”?

And guess the religion of most of the illegals arriving by boat? Comments below by Andrew Bolt

MY excuse for this column is Julia Gillard. She’s the one who says we need to bring in “the right kind of migrants”. More importantly, our new Prime Minister says she wants us to talk frankly at last about boat people - and, I presume - other immigrants.

“I’d like to sweep away any sense that people should close down any debate, including this debate, through a sense of self-censorship or political correctness,” she declared.

I hope she means it, because here are some facts of the kind that normally invite screams of “racist” and an inquisition from our shut-your-face human rights tribunals.

They are the kind of facts that also have so many voters so steamed up about just a few thousand boat people - or, to put it another way, about thousands of people who barge in, having destroyed their identity documents, and expect us to believe they’ll be model citizens.

BRITISH police this month revealed that most men charged in London for gun crime, robberies and street crime are black, even though blacks make up just 12 per cent of Londoners.

BRITAIN’S Centre for Social Cohesion this month said two-thirds of 124 Islamist terrorists convicted there since 1999 were of British nationality, and almost half were of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian heritage.

A THIRD of the gang members in Canada’s prisons have African ancestry, although just 2.5 per cent of the population are African Canadians.

SWEDES with a Middle Eastern nationality are 6.6 times more likely than Swedish citizens to be in prison. For Africans it’s 10.9 times.

Now to Australia ...

THE 20 people convicted here for terrorism offences are all Muslim.

AUSTRALIANS born in Tonga and Samoa are about five times more likely than the rest of us to be jailed.

AUSTRALIANS born in Romania, Vietnam, Sudan and Lebanon have jail rates much higher than the average (and Chinese and Indians much lower).

So, yes, let’s talk about bringing in “the right kind of migrants”.

Before I do, let me make the standard disclaimers. You’re right, most people from whatever community or group I’ve mentioned are law-abiding, and race is not related to crime. It’s culture that counts. Now back to the adult talk.

Many Western societies, especially in Europe, now realise how dumb they were to not consider how the cultures of some immigrants might limit their ability to fit in. Too scared of seeming racist, they today reap the whirlwind.

Large, unassimilated minorities in France have made some suburbs almost no-go areas, with regular race riots.

In Britain, home-born Muslim extremists have killed scores of fellow Britons.

In Scandinavia, crime has soared, and cartoonists in Sweden and Denmark are targets of assassination plots from angry Muslims.

In Holland, the director of a film critical of Islam was butchered.

Australia has been spared anything quite so dramatic, perhaps thanks to our superb ability to assimilate so many nationalities and faiths, from Greeks to Chinese, and Buddhists to Sikhs.

Even so, with one category of immigrant we now have more trouble than we’ve known before.

A significant minority of our 340,000 Muslims seem not only unable to fully assimilate, but unwilling. Some seem even antagonistic to the society that has given them a safe and rich home.

Examples? A conference of 500 Muslims in Sydney last week, organised by the Muslim Hizb ut-Tahrir group, was told that democracy was haram (forbidden) for Muslims, and believers “must adhere to Islam and Islam alone”. This group so believes its loyalty to Islam trumps its loyalty to its new home that it refuses to condemn suicide attacks on our troops in Muslim lands.

Or take our most prominent Muslim cleric, Egyptian-born Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly. Rather than help to preserve the peace of his new home, he’s praised suicide bombers as “heroes”, described the September 11 terrorist attacks as “God’s work against oppressors”, and exalted the Hezbollah terrorist group.

Just last month he addressed an anti-Israel rally in Sydney, waving a Turkish flag and crying “Down with Israel”, “Turkey is coming!” and “Iran is ready!”

He knows he has an audience for such them-against-us war talk. When five local Muslims were convicted this year of planning terrorist attacks against us, 10 imams and 20 Muslim “community leaders” met at his Lakemba mosque to draw up a statement - not to decry this wicked plot, but to attack the police.

No wonder the Federal Government’s White Paper on counter-terrorism this year warned that since 2004 we’d had an “increase in the terrorist threat from people born or raised in Australia, who have become influenced by the violent jihadist message”.

It added: “The scale of the problem will continue to depend on factors such as the size and make-up of local Muslim populations, including their ethnic and/or migrant origins.”

Which means the more Muslims we take in (up to 28,000 a year now), the more trouble we may expect from them or, more often, their children.

All this you may still shrug off, trusting to our genius for making migrants feel at home. But I fear we may have reached a tipping point both in numbers and in attitudes.

When my own parents migrated here half a century ago, Australia had a strong sense of self and of pride. It then gladly built a future (think Snowy River scheme) and felt no shame for our past.

But now? We ask children from very proud, if not xenophobic, immigrant cultures to pledge a deeper loyalty to an Australia that we ourselves damn as racist, greedy and planet-raping. Why would they agree to such a lousy deal?

The latest example is a new guide to teaching Islam in schools, published by Melbourne University’s Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies. It barely mentions the Islamist terrorism that is the main cause of what it dismisses as our “racism” towards Muslims, and refers to al-Qaida, the killer of so many of us, as merely one of several “famous names”.

Terrorism is brushed off as one of the “constant reminders of this distrust” between the West and Islam, for which the West is blamed most.

Only one reason is given for high Muslim unemployment - “underlying discrimination and prejudice towards non-Europeans in Australia”. So why have Christian Lebanese done so much better here on almost every measure, even providing Victoria with a premier and NSW with a governor?

Is the difference really nothing to do with Islam, the faith of so many poor nations? Is Muslim poverty, terrorism and crime really just the fault of our miserable society?

Or is our real fault to have apologised too much for what we are, and to have failed to protect this great society from newcomers too disposed by their culture to reject our own?


Gillard's new school uniform policy a sop to a key Labor Party constituency: Low income earners

She has announced a tax refund of up to $780 for school uniforms, albeit not one to be paid for another two years and limited to parents on Family Tax Benefit A

What excitement there was this morning when Julia Gillard called a press conference. Climate policy, maybe? An election announcement even? We were rather crestfallen to find out it was about school uniforms.

It was the sort of announcement that would in normal circumstances be made by Gillard's replacement as Education Minister, Simon Crean, or Jenny Macklin, who presides over the welfare system. But there was the prime minister announcing the education rebate available to recipients of Family Tax Benefit A would be extended to cover half the cost of school uniforms.

But if you unpack this otherwise-anodyne piece of pre-election bribery, you'll discover some key election issues.

The recipients of this handout, Family Tax Benefit A recipients, are a key constituency for Labor. My colleague Possum has explained this in detail previously, in the context of Labor's introduction of a $150,000 threshold for means-testing Family Tax Benefits A and B and the private health insurance rebate.

Essential Research's raw numbers suggest low and middle-income earners swung away from Labor in big numbers in May (raw numbers are prone to volatility, so it's best not to make too much of them, unless there's a clear trend). While a lot of us were focused on the switch of progressive voters to the Greens, voters earning between $31,200 and $83,200 appeared to shift to the Coalition, occasionally in sufficient numbers that the Coalition was actually outpolling Labor, which was previously very strong with those voters. They shifted to the Greens as well, but not as consistently as they shifted to the Coalition.

Their subsequent return to the Labor column has partly driven the recovery in the Labor vote in June and July, so that it now once again has a primary vote lead. Today's announcement is prime pork-barrelling aimed at keeping these voters with Labor -- although it's testament to how comprehensively middle-class welfare is entrenched in Australia that the government had to conjure a 'school uniform allowance' as the rationale for it.

But the government is also keenly aware of cost-of-living issues for low and middle-income earners. Like 'mortgage stress', so-called 'cost of living' pressures are mainly self-inflicted and reflect household consumption and lifestyle choices. But voters don't want to be told that. They want to be told governments will subsidise their high-consumption lifestyles and efforts to keep up with their neighbours.

Labor adeptly exploited this at the last election, painting the Howard government as out-of-touch with the cost-of-living pressures and offering a suite of vague commitments to address them. Now in the aftermath of the GFC, low and middle-income households are again seeing rising costs, particularly mortgage costs. It's an issue Labor in government now has to make more than positive noises on, though it can never be seen to declare the battle won -- that's why this financial year's tax cuts were portrayed as a small contribution to offset against rising costs, and why Gillard was stressing today's announcement as similarly limited, but helpful. It's also why Gillard last week announced the child care rebate would be paid fortnightly, "making it easier to manage the out-of-pocket cost of child care".


Gillard likely to turn down your electricity consumption by 3 percent a year

That's about 10% during her term of government if she wins the election. At the very least, power is going to cost you a lot more. The crazy talk is already pushing prices up

In what is likely to be a vigorous debate, this afternoon cabinet will also consider a proposal to cut energy consumption by up to 3 per cent a year.

The target is strongly supported by some ministers searching for ways to rebuild Labor's green credentials - battered by the deferral of the emissions trading scheme - before the election expected to be called for late next month.

But others argue that such a target could cause politically dangerous rises in electricity prices and another scare campaign by the Coalition.

Ms Gillard is under pressure from some ministers to promise that Labor will legislate an emissions trading scheme in a second term, to placate voters angry that Labor deferred the program.

Sources say Ms Gillard is intent on building industry and community consensus for a workable scheme before a final decision, in part to ensure the new policy does not founder in the Senate as the original scheme did.

Asked yesterday if she sought to differentiate herself from the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, on the starting point issue of accepting climate science, Ms Gillard said: "I believe climate change is caused by human activity.

"I also understand that doing the things that we will need to do to change our economy, to change the way we live to deal with climate change, are complicated. They will require dialogue with the community. They will require the community's deep and lasting consensus about these changes."

Sources said other energy-efficiency measures proposed in a recent expert report are more likely to win cabinet support.

These include setting nationwide efficiency standards and possibly a scheme to allow farmers to claim credit for saving emissions through forestry and land management in ways that comply with the international rules under the Kyoto protocol.

Policies to meet the new national energy initiative would include requirements that electricity retailers reduce energy usage by their customers by a fixed percentage each year.

Cabinet will also consider pollution standards for new electricity generators and requirements for existing generators to calculate how they can reduce their greenhouse emissions.

Energy industry and other businesses are seeking definition from the government, complaining that not knowing whether or when they will face a carbon price is creating an untenable level of investment uncertainty.

The energy industry says that within a few years the uncertainty will lead to short-term investment decisions that will push up the cost of power anyway - the same hip-pocket concern that has driven political opposition to an emissions trading scheme.


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