Sunday, October 11, 2015
Controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders granted visa for Perth anti-Islam political party launch
EXTREMIST Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders has been granted a visa to come to Australia.
The right wing politician will come to Perth to help launch a party that’s core aim is to “stop the Islamisation of Australia”.
National president of the Australian Liberty Alliance Party, Debbie Robinson, confirmed on Thursday night that Mr Wilders’ visa had been issued and his visit would go ahead as planned.
It is the second time the leader of The Netherlands’ Partij voor de Vrijheid — Party for Freedom — has visited Australia.
On his last visit in 2013, Premier Colin Barnett said Mr Wilders was “not welcome” in WA and his talk in Melbourne erupted in violent protests.
During this trip, Mr Wilders will give the keynote address at the party launch of Australian Liberty Alliance on Tuesday, October 20 in Perth.
As revealed by The Sunday Times last year, City Beach orthopedic surgeon Anthony Robinson and his wife Debbie are among five directors of Australian Liberty Alliance.
Ms Robinson is also president of the Q Society of Australia, which describes itself as “Australia’s leading Islamic critical movement”.
Ms Robinson welcomed news of Mr Wilders’ visa being granted.
ABC aside, Turnbull turns support away
THE rise of Malcolm Turnbull saw an immediate drop in Liberal Party membership despite claims to the contrary.
The co-host of the ABC’s Q&A program may have received a gushing welcome from 7.30 Report presenter Leigh Sales and Radio Nat-ional’s Fran Kelly last week but hard-core, long-term Liberal supporters have not been impressed.
Neither presenter did former Prime Minister Tony Abbott any favours but both cooed and purred like a pair of blushing schoolgirls when they obliged Turnbull with obsequious interviews.
“Can I just say to you, this is a very important role that you have to play as one of our leading journalists and broadcast-ers setting an example for everyone else,” Turnbull soothed as he played along with one of the Coalition’s most consistent critics.
Pandering to the enemy may be a cunning strategy, but heartland Liberals have long realised the inherent anti-conservative bias at the core of the taxpayer-funded national broadcaster and realise that if the ABC is in Turnbull’s corner, they want a leader who stands for their values, not for the ABC’s extreme Green/Left, pro-people smuggler client, pro-anthropogenic global warming, pro-homosexual marriage propaganda.
Turnbull started losing Liberal conservatives when he failed to explain why it was necessary to knife a sitting prime minister with a truly enviable record of political and policy achievements and he continued to lose them when he backtracked on his promise not to change fundamental policies.
His embrace of the UN via Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s enthusiasm for toadying to the jumped-up dictators who have the numbers, and the histor-ically corrupt and bloated bureaucracy, rankles, as does his signalling of policy changes.
Those who have long provided the backbone of the Liberal Party are expressing their frustration that their dedicated support apparently counts for nothing as the Member for Wentworth courts Leftist media elites.
The angry Liberals and former Liberals are seeking new homes where they hope the leadership will better represent their views.
Some are going to the Nationals inspired by their demand for a written 10-point agreement with Turnbull before agreeing to remain in the Coalition and with the tacit understanding that there will be a change in Nationals leadership.
Turnbull underestimates the level of distrust toward him within the Nationals at his peril and did himself no favours by including only Nationals leader Warren Truss in his economic talkfest on Thursday.
The other group attracting disaffected conservatives is the nascent Australian Liberty Alliance Party which will officially be launched on October 20 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, if the government overcomes its reluctance to admit advocates of free speech.
While comparisons will inevitably be made with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation because of its strong anti-Islamist stance, the ALA has what appears to be a fairly professional structure and has put forward a wide-ranging 20-point suite of policies unlike Hanson’s narrowly focused and operationally dysfunct-ional group.
It will undoubtedly attract a high sneer quotient from the commentariat at the Fairfax media and the taxpayer-funded ABC when its presence becomes too large to ignore but the low-key organisation has already created waves on social media and through word of mouth.
The party, so far, is being cautious.
After Turnbull’s coup it received more than 800,000 hits on its websites but as an official warned, this may mean that some individuals repeatedly clicked on the address and is most probably unrepresentative of the actual number of people who viewed the site.
However, it has been overwhelmed by the interest shown so far and while it has a paid-up membership of around 740, its staff lacks the resources to respond to all the inquiries received.
In a form letter sent to followers, organisers said they knew that “most supporters are neither racists, nationalists nor religious fundamentalists, but genuinely concerned about the future of our country”.
They firmly reject joining forces with parties centred on any controversial individuals, or parties with religious themes or nationalistic and racist agendas.
The most contentious policy is its pledge to stop the Islamisation of Australia and make the claim that Islam is not merely a religion but a “totalitarian ideology with global aspirations”.
“Islam uses the religious element as a means to project itself onto non-Islamic societies, which is manifest in the historical and ongoing expansion of Islam,” it says in its manifesto.
“Islam does not accept the separation of religion from state, but seeks dominance over all aspects of human life and society.
“ Whereas we see religion as part of life, Islam sees life as part of the religion. No other religious ideology in our time has both the doctrinal aspiration as well as the economic and demographic muscle to impose itself globally.”
“It is our core policy that all attempts to impose Islam’s theocracy and Sharia law on our liberal society must be stopped by democratic means, before the demographic, economic and socio-political realities make a peaceful solution impossible.”
Pollster Mark Textor last month dismissed the numbers leaving the Liberal Party stating that: “The qualitative evidence is they don’t matter. The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.”
It may be that only the angriest voices are being heard and that Turnbull has attracted new support to the Liberals but, if so, his soft-Left support group has yet to put its money where its mouth is.
Vic. Premier must finally fess up
Premier Daniel Andrews: We say “no comment” not good enough
A TIDE of uneasiness is running through Victorian Labor Party ranks over mounting evidence about the party’s misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money.
Premier Daniel Andrews’ assurances following revelations that Labor partly paid election campaign organisers with money from MPs’ electorate budgets are looking flimsy and evasive.
More than 20 Labor MPs may have participated in the rort. Some had concerns that what they were doing was illegal, but went along with it anyway. Others are believed to have acted unwittingly.
The Premier, in responding to revelations that first appeared in the Herald Sun last month, said there were rules, but they were followed and he took full responsibility for “everything that occurs under my leadership of the Labor Party and my leadership of the Government”.
There were not too many political leaders prepared to say that, boasted Mr Andrews, “but that’s the way I operate”.
What a difference a mountain of evidence makes.
The Premier’s denials of any wrongdoing have been picked apart as evidence has mounted over what was a secret strategy to win votes in the run-up to the November 29 election.
The Herald Sun was told by three concerned Labor MPs at the beginning of September that party political campaigners were hired using money from their taxpayer-funded office budgets.
Two campaign whistleblowers then told the Herald Sun they were told to “shut up’’ about where the money to hire about 30 staff came from.
The so-called field organisers, highly visible during the election campaign in their red shirts, supervised thousands of volunteers who rang phones and knocked on doors to gain votes.
Mr Andrews was present at a meeting where the campaign organisers were briefed. After the election, the Premier attributed the work of the volunteer army as playing a significant part in Labor’s election victory.
Rulings by President of the Legislative Council, Bruce Atkinson, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Telmo Languiller, as well as evidence from the whistleblowers has led to a parliamentary inquiry being called.
The matter has also been referred to the Victoria Police fraud squad, which is likely to interview Labor MPs, particularly those in the Upper House, about the misuse of their electorate budgets.
Now a parliamentary document, which warned as long ago as August that Labor’s use of electorate funding was “categorically” against Parliament rules, has surfaced.
The report, authorised by Secretary of Parliamentary Services Peter Lochert at the request of concerned MPs, was unequivocal. In the opinion of Parliament’s internal auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the use of electorate office staff for party political work “would not survive either an internal audit, or scrutiny from the Auditor-General”. Nor would it pass what was called “the pub test”.
These findings could not be further removed from Mr Andrews’ claim that all was above board and there was nothing to answer.
“Cashing in” staffing resources from electorate offices to finance party political objectives was a breach of the relevant Act that could result in “duty holders being held responsible for criminal activity”, the report found.
No matter how the Premier might twist and turn, this all comes down to a matter of trust.
Stonewalling will not prevent the truth from coming out as the fraud squad investigation proceeds. The worst outcome for the Andrews Government is that criminal charges may follow.
Labor caucus members are also becoming anxious as the Government finds itself embroiled in a full-blown crisis Mr Andrews simply refuses to acknowledge.
An audit committee headed by Mr Atkinson and Mr Languiller, and including parliamentary bureaucrats, is also inquiring into how taxpayers’ money has been spent.
The public is entitled to transparency. Not only must the findings of this panel be released, this newspaper calls on the Premier to throw open the books on a rotten rort.
It is extraordinary that Labor MPs were so concerned they called for a report from a senior bureaucrat on the use of taxpayer money in the election campaign.
Such is that concern they have broken ranks to reveal further evidence of a scandal engulfing the Government in the first 10 months of its election.
The response from Premier Andrews’ office when asked by the Herald Sun whether he still stood by his assurances on Monday night was “No comment”.
That is not acceptable. Police are already knocking on doors as they dig further into this blatant misuse of taxpayers’ money.
The Herald Sun believes the Labor Party can start by paying back the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has misappropriated.
It must then ensure all records are made available and that all individuals involved in the rorts-for-votes scheme, including MPs and political staff, give their full assistance to Victoria Police.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton: tough border protection keeps boats away
AUSTRALIA’S tough border protection regime has stopped more than 650 “potentially illegal immigrants” arriving by boat in less than two years.
Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton revealed the figure yesterday as he warned that people smugglers were using Australia’s change of leadership from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull as an opportunity to drum up business.
Mr Dutton said the Turnbull Government remained committed to the existing policy and would “stare down” the threat posed by people smugglers.
“I want to reiterate today — in the strongest possible terms — that the resolve of the Prime Minister and myself, the whole Government, is to make sure that we don’t allow deaths at sea to recommence,” Mr Dutton said.
Operation Sovereign Borders commander Major-General Andrew Bottrell said it was now more than 430 days since the last successful people smuggling venture to Australia and nearly two years since the last known death at sea.
He said the most recent attempt was in August but the passengers and crew on that vessel were “safely returned” to their country of departure.
Mr Dutton, who visited the Christmas Island detention centre this week, said there had been a “transformation” in the make-up of the detainee population.
He said of the 285 people being held on Christmas Island, 125 were there as a result of visa cancellations, 57 were overstayers and just 96 were now “illegal maritime arrivals”. The largest nationality group was Iranians — 21 per cent of those detained.
Forty New Zealanders [Maori?] with criminal convictions are being detained on the island and face deportation. Several are appealing against their visa cancellations.
He added the Government was also in discussions with a number of countries about resettling those seeking asylum on Manus Island, but would not speculate on a possible deal with the Philippines.
“I think we’re best to discuss those issues in private with those partners,” he said.
Qld. magistrate Bernadette Callaghan’s ruling to return forfeited car set aside by District Court Judge
Old bag is a menace to the safety of the public
“SOFT touch” Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan’s order to return a serial unlicensed driver’s forfeited car has been overturned after a judge raised questions over her jurisdiction on the matter.
It was revealed last month police were appealing against Ms Callaghan’s order to return Desmond James Gough’s $40,000 Isuzu 4WD after he claimed he did not understand the police paperwork.
Gough had been caught behind the wheel while disqualified or unlicensed nine times in less than a decade.
His car was automatically forfeited to the state, as it was his fourth similar offence within five years.
District Court Judge Leanne Clare, SC, yesterday ordered Ms Callaghan’s ruling be set aside. She also dismissed Gough’s original appeal against his car’s forfeiture, affirming the decision made by police.
Gough was on a suspended prison sentence when he was caught driving while disqualified last year for a previous unlicensed driving offence that occurred just four months earlier.
Ms Callaghan had found the impounding notice was defective and misleading because it did not cite all of his driving offences in the past five years, and did not properly explain that his vehicle would be forfeited.
Last week Ms Callaghan granted bail to an accused violent armed robber after hearing he was finding jail too tough.