Friday, July 04, 2014

Two recent speeches

Tony Abbott's Statement to Cabinet Meeting 1st July 2014

The Hon Campbell Newman - Premier of Queensland  -- on the Qld. economy  -- at Liberal Party federal council, June 28th

Tougher line planned for jihadists fighters

The Abbott government is examining ways to make it easier to prosecute Australian jihadist fighters returning from the Middle East, amid growing fears of the creation of a mini-state in the region that could export terrorism.

Fairfax Media understands that under the changes, authorities would have enhanced powers to investigate citizens fighting abroad and present the evidence gathered in Australian courts.

At present prosecutions would be hampered because such evidence is often inadmissible, experts say. The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor says that "not merely prosecutions but also investigations are at present stillborn on account of problems of foreign evidence, that might otherwise have succeeded".

The revelations came as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate based on the territory it has seized across Syria and Iraq - prompting Attorney-General George Brandis to warn of the emergence of an effective terrorist state.

Senator Brandis said ISIL's increasingly clear aims were neither merely random acts of terrorism nor territorial conquest, but rather "millennial" ambitions of a new religious era enforced by violence.

"It is, as the Prime Minister said last week, an ambition to create a new state, a new political structure, which among other things will seek to export terrorism," he said.

"The actors in these events have ambitions so vast that they regard their enemy as the world that we know as the product of the enlightenment. The values of the liberal democratic states are their target and they are a motivated and lethal enemy."

The development had "very serious" national security implications for Australia, he said.

"Australians who travel to Syria and now to northern Iraq to the ISIL insurgency-controlled areas in the Middle East are likely to be reinforced in their radical interpretation of Islam and are likely to pursue jihad in the Western world including in particular where they've come from … within Australia."

The government believes about 150 Australians are involved with extremist groups including ISIL - a figure that is causing great concern because of the high likelihood those people will try to carry out acts of violence here.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it was disappointing that "large numbers of Australians" have gone to fight with with militants in Syria and Iraq.

"The determination of this government is to ensure that just as we have stopped the illegal boats coming to Australia that as far as we humanly can we stop jihadists from coming to Australia," he told ABC radio.

"Because these people do seem to be radicalised and militarised and we don't want people who are a menace to our community walking around on our streets."

About 30 Australians went to fight in Afghanistan, of whom 19 were suspected of involvement in terrorism when they returned home and eight were convicted.

The government is understood to be closely examining proposals contained in a report released this month by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor that would make it easier to prosecute such people when they return.

For instance, the Australian Federal Police cannot investigate in a foreign country without the consent of that jurisdiction. Evidence gathered on Australians overseas cannot, moreover, be used in court without the agreement of an "appropriate consenting official" of the foreign country.

The independent monitor, senior lawyer Bret Walker, recommended that the Attorney-General be able to waive these requirements where such co-operation was impractical, such as civil war-torn Syria.


'The unaffordable energy capital of the world': Tony Abbott blames green companies for increasing power prices in Australia

Tony Abbott has hit out at the green energy sector claiming the renewable energy target (RET) is the cause of rising energy prices in Australia.

The Prime Minister said the country is well on its way to being 'the unaffordable energy capital of the world' and that's the reason for the government's review of the RET, report The Financial Review.

'We should be the affordable energy capital of the world, not the unaffordable energy capital of the world and that’s why the carbon tax must go and that’s why we’re reviewing the RET,' he told the publication.

Clean energy companies have responded to these claims saying Mr Abbott completely exaggerated the impact that the target would have, and in the long run the nation would be better off financially and environmentally from the scheme.

The RET currently states that by 2020, 20 percent of energy should come from renewable sources, however this could be subject to change under the government's upcoming review.

In the Senate next week the government will try to abolish the carbon tax, but opposition leader Bill Shorten has vowed to continue the crusade for action against climate change.

Clive Palmer is set to block the government from lowering or abandoning the RET until after the election in 2016.

Infigen, Pacific Hydro, Senvion and the Clean Energy Council are all among the companies who have disagreed with the Prime Minister's comments, and a spokesperson for Senvion said if the RET is kept in place the price of power bills will drop off by 2020.

Clean Energy Council director Russell March agreed, claiming the only other alternative to the target is a switch to gas-fired power, but the price of that resource is on the up.

The consensus in the renewable energy industry is that power prices will drop as more forms of renewable energy are being utilised, with some companies citing the decrease in power bills around the $50 mark.

This week saw the Crawford Australian Leadership Forum take place in Canberra, and economists from around the world including Nobel Prize recipient Joseph Stiglitz and former Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin were among the experts calling for Australia to have a price on carbon, according to AFR.

Professor Stiglitz described putting a price on carbon as a 'no-brainer' and said it is more practical than taxing labour or capital, plus it would set Australia up for the future.

By pricing carbon now Australia would be taking a step forward to combating climate change he said, and the world would soon follow.

Aluminium refineries are also a big player in the RET debate, which are currently said to be 90 percent exempt from paying for renewable energy.

The government is expected to make a move from the backbench to completely clear the refineries from paying for any form of green energy.


Tony Abbott praises Sri Lanka's human rights progress amid speculation Tamil asylum seekers were handed over to country's navy

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described Sri Lanka as a "society at peace", amid mounting speculation that two boats carrying Tamil asylum seekers have been handed over to the Sri Lankan navy in the middle of the ocean.

Speaking to 3AW on Thursday morning, Mr Abbott said it was no secret that Australia was turning back boats on the high seas.

"We said before the election that one of the policy options that we reserve the right to use, were it safe to do so, is turning boats around," he said.

On Wednesday, Fairfax Media revealed that 50 Sri Lankan asylum on board one boat were asked four basic questions by immigration officials via a teleconference, as part of a screening process. It is understood the asylum seekers are likely to be handed over to the Sri Lankan navy.

The questions asked included the passengers' name, country of origin, where they had come from and why they had left.

Another asylum seeker boat, which held 153 passengers who were also Sri Lankan Tamils, has since been transferred to a navy boat, after civilians lost contact with the boat on Saturday morning.

When asked whether the government was sending asylum seekers back to the country they fled from, Mr Abbott replied: "There does need to be a process because we do have international obligations so there does need to be a process.

"But I want to make this observation, Sri Lanka is not everyone's idea of the ideal society but it is at peace . . . a horrific civil war has ended. I believe that there has been a lot of progress when it comes to human rights and the rule of law in Sri Lanka."

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has refused to comment on the two boats – one carrying 153 asylum seekers and the other carrying 50 asylum seekers – maintaining that the government does not comment on "speculation or reporting" regarding on water operations.

Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles, who has so far kept a low profile on the issue, said it would be a disgrace if asylum seekers were handed over to Sri Lanka, and demanded the government come clean with the Australian people.

"They have a right to know and this minister is treating everyone with contempt in denying us the right to know," he told Sky News on Thursday.

Asked later on Thursday if Australians had a right to know what was happening with asylum seekers on the two boats, Mr Abbott said: "The public deserve safe and secure borders."

"They deserve a country that has not become open for the wrong kind of business, the people smuggling business," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"Everything we do is consistent with safety at sea and everything we do is consistent with our international obligations.

"It is a peaceful country. It is a peaceful country. I don't say it's a perfect country, not even Australia is that. But it is a peaceful country and all of us should be grateful that the horrific civil war is well and truly over and that is to the benefit of every single Sri Lankan, Tamil, Sinhalese. Everyone in Sri Lanka is infinitely better off as a result of the cessation of the war."

Despite Mr Abbott maintaining that Sri Lanka is now a society of peace, advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Australians should exercise a "high degree of caution" due to the "unpredictable security environment" in the country.

"You should avoid all demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent or be a target for politically-motivated attacks. Police have used tear gas in response to protests," the advice on the department's website says.

"In the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, which includes Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochichi and Jaffna Districts, post-conflict security force activity is ongoing."

Greens leader Christine Milne said if the transfers with the Sri Lankan navy go ahead, it would the first example of the Abbott government sending people directly back to where they have been persecuted.

"The Prime Minister must explain to Australians how he can claim that what he is doing is not a human rights abuse," she said. "How can he claim what he is doing is not a contravention of the convention when he is engaged in total secrecy?

"It is absolutely wrong for Australia to return people seeking asylum to the countries in which they were being persecuted. It is wrong. It is shameful."

According to a member of the co-ordinating committee of the Gummudipoondi camp for Tamil refugees, who were on board the boat carrying 153 asylum seekers, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, members of the Tamil Nadu police force's "Q" branch, which monitors the activities over refugee camps, had swept his camp and several others seeking information.

"They have been here asking, investigating, looking for the information," said the coordinating committee member who gave his name as William.

William said there were 17 people missing from his camp who are assumed to be aboard the vessel and that he had been in contact with the families over the past few days.

"They are extremely worried, crying, desperate for information about what has happened, pleading for some country to accept them so they do not be made to return to Sri Lanka," he said.

"They believe that if the refugees are made to return to Sri Lanka they will face severe harassment, possibly even torture, from the local authorities in Sri Lanka. Of course there is a lot of concern."


If their Tamil homeland will not accept them for resettlement, why should Australia?  It is their own relentless violence that is the source of their problems  -- JR

1 comment:

Paul said...

Agreed. Its funny how quickly the extreme acts of violence and mass killing of the Tamil movement has been dropped down the memory hole.