Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Australia closes in on joint defence force deal with Japan

Tokyo: Japan and Australia are close to agreeing a visiting forces agreement (VFA), which would foster smooth military operations between the two countries, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull plans to visit Japan and hold talks with his counterpart Shinzo Abe to confirm the agreement ny mid-January, according to sources close to both governments.

With an eye to starting talks on a similar pact with Britain by the end of 2018, Tokyo intends to deepen international security cooperation through multiple avenues by strengthening coordination with "quasi-allies" – in addition to the United States – should circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and in the East and South China seas grow more severe.

A VFA comprehensively stipulates the legal status of foreign forces engaged in temporary activities, such as joint exercises and disaster-relief missions, in a nation's territory.

The broad agreement with Canberra would be Tokyo's first-ever VFA accord, though it has concluded a status of forces agreement with the United States premised on the long-term presence of its ally's forces in Japan.

In the talks between Japan and Australia, which began in 2014, the two governments agreed to implement such measures as simplifying procedures when Japan's Self-Defence Force (SDF) or the Australian military temporarily stay in either country for joint exercises and other missions, by exempting customs on carried items and granting permission to bring arms and ammunition.

In cases where relevant parties including defense forces personnel commit crimes in either country, the law of the country in which the crime was committed, in principle, will take priority. Tokyo and Canberra will continue talks on such cases, as additional time is necessary to clarify details on exceptions and the specific scope of the rules, among other issues.

The two governments aim to officially reach an agreement on the VFA and begin implementation by the end of 2019.

Behind Tokyo's effort to develop VFAs lies its recent focus on conducting joint drills between the SDF and foreign forces.

In 2015, the Ground Self-Defence Force participated in US-Australia joint exercises for the first time. The Air Self-Defence Force also plans to hold its first joint drill with the Royal Australian Air Force in Japan next year.

In the meantime, Japan and Britain agreed to aim to conduct joint drills on a regular basis at so-called two-plus-two talks between their foreign and defense ministers on December 14. They are pursuing a conclusion to the VFA with an aim to expand the drills.

A VFA is expected to have the effect of "demonstrating a bilateral relationship of trust both within and outside" the two countries, according to a senior official at the Defense Ministry.

Tokyo intends to expand its security cooperation network based on Abe's "free and open Indo-Pacific strategy" in a bid to strengthen deterrence against North Korea and to warn against China's maritime advances.


Australia abstains from UN vote calling for the US to drop its recognition of Jerusalem

Australia’s decision to abstain from a controversial United Nations vote on a US move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was “disappointing”, the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Canberra said.

But the Israeli embassy has welcomed the move, saying the Jewish state “appreciated” the gesture.

SBS News contacted both embassies in the wake of the vote, in which an overwhelming 120 countries opted to urge the United States to reverse Donald Trump’s decision.

Only nine countries voted against the resolution, including Israel and the US. Most of the other seven countries were small island nations, including Nauru.

A further 35 counties abstained, including Australia and Canada.

The United Kingdom was of the majority of countries that voted Yes, despite threats from the United States that it would take the result “personally”.

The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, said the result was disappointing, especially given that Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop had said on Thursday the UN motion did not “conflict” with Australia’s position of supporting a two-state solution.

“It was disappointing, a little bit. Because… Ms Bishop said just three or four days ago the position of Mr Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will increase tension,” Mr Abdulhadi told SBS News.

Mr Abdulhadi said the decision to abstain was “very obviously” driven by a desire to appease Australia’s ally, the United States.

In a statement, Ms Bishop told SBS News the decision to abstain was consistent with Australia’s position. “Australia’s voting position… concerning Jerusalem reflected our assessment that it did not materially advance the peace process,” the statement read. “We do not wish to see any party isolated from the process through this resolution, so we abstained on this occasion.”

But Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, said the decision to abstain was welcome. “There are enormous amounts of constraints and pulls and pushes, and we appreciate the Australian vote,” Mr Sofer said. “Australia didn’t find itself drawn into yet another Israel-bashing resolution.”

Mr Sofer said it was inconsistent that the UN General Assembly had dealt with 21 resolutions on Israel, but only a handful about states like North Korea, Iran and Syria, where human rights have been abused on a massive scale.

“Does it mean anything? No it doesn’t, to us. It’s non-binding. Jerusalem has been the capital since time immemorial,” Mr Sofer said.

“The truth is the United Nations, the General Assembly I’m talking about here, has really become an impediment to peace in the Middle East rather than something that’s going to assist and move us along in the direction that we need to be.”

While the US has committed to moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Australia will keep its embassy in Tel Aviv, the foreign minister said.


NSW teachers behind homosexual "education"

We were told during the same sex marriage postal survey that the issue had nothing to do with what our children were being taught in schools and that concerns about the expansion of the Safe Schools Program and promotion of gender theory were red herrings.

However no less than 24 hours after the passing of same sex marriage into law op-ed pieces appeared online claiming that the next cause the movement should champion is LGBT inclusive education in schools.

What many people weren’t aware of during the postal survey was that many teachers and education unions support the yes campaign. The most prominent supporter was the Australian Education Union which represents school teachers at both primary and secondary level and is the largest union in the education sector.

State governments can remove Safe Schools type programs and ban the teaching of gender theory, but they cannot stop activist teachers from inserting their political agenda into the everyday classroom. This something that parents should be aware of as teachers’ political agendas are not exactly hidden.

The latest display of their agenda is that the New South Wales Teachers Federation wants to have a float in the 2018 Sydney Mardi Gras which has been the case in previous years. The organisers of the Mardi Gras appropriately declined with the official reason being that next year being the 40th anniversary of the parade they are already over their float capacity and can’t approve all applications.

Despite the inappropriateness of the teachers marching in what is a blatant political event not to mention contains explicit sexualised content the New South Wales Teachers Federation is not taking no for an answer. They have launched a petition on to pressure the Mardi Gras to accept their application. So far it has gained 1800 signatures.

Parents should be deeply concerned about any teachers marching in such a parade and what it means for the education of their children. If teachers believe that the Mardi Gras is an event they should participate in a public capacity, then what does it mean for how they approach their job in the classroom?

Developments such as this certainly point to the fact that more radical aspects of the LGBT agenda are being pushed after the legislation of same sex marriage especially to our youth by the people we entrust with their education. Teachers should be sticking to the three Rs and if they want to be politically active do it in their own time and not in a capacity as an educator.


Stand up to thugs, Kevin Rudd tells Bill Shorten

Kevin Rudd has declared the Labor Party must reject the dictates of “factional thugs” and union powerbrokers if it is to regain government, and he accused Bill Shorten of a “lack of leadership” over maverick former CFMEU leader Joe McDonald.

The former Labor leader and prime minister responded angrily yesterday to the awarding of a Labor “outstanding service award” to the West Australian Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union delegate who has convictions for assault, threats, trespass, contempt of court and industrial breaches.

Mr Rudd told The Weekend Australian Mr McDonald, whom he forced from the ALP in 2007 for threatening behaviour on a Perth building site, was damaging and destroying Labor values and dictating to the parliamentary party.

Mr Rudd also accused the Opposition Leader of “cowering” to “faceless men and factional thugs” who had narrow individual and factional interests and were undermining the authority of the ALP.

For the past two weeks, Mr Shorten has been deeply involved in political factional deals in NSW and Victoria involving union demands to nominate ALP candidates, conference delegates and union posts. “For the Labor Party to return to office in Australia, it needs to have a political authority above and beyond the dictates of factional thugs and faceless men,” Mr Rudd said yesterday.

“That’s because the Labor Party stands for basic values of freedom and a fair go for all Australians — values which have nothing to with the narrow interests of individual factional and certain industrial powerbrokers.

“In fact, these are the sort of men who damage and destroy our basic values as a movement through their behaviour,” he said.

This week, Mr McDonald, who was awarded an ALP outstanding service award despite being the most prosecuted union leader in Australia, taunted the former Labor prime minister and his then deputy and leadership contender against Mr Shorten, Anthony ­Albanese.

He said he would like to see the look on the faces of Mr Rudd and Mr Albanese when they heard of the award honouring his lifetime contribution to the ALP.

“I might send them a photo of me with my certificate and they can use it on their Christmas cards,” he said.

“Rudd got me expelled for swearing, but he wasn’t too bad with the four-letter adjectives himself. I am still a member of the ALP and I am a CFMEU delegate to the Labor Party, so I’m still here and he (Mr Rudd) is long gone,” Mr McDonald said.

Yesterday, Mr Rudd said one of the reasons Labor won in 2007 “was because as leader I refused to cower to these faceless men and factional thugs”.

“I’m proud of the fact I demanded the expulsion of Dean Mighell in Victoria and Joe McDonald in WA. They resigned as a result. These two are bad for the public standing of the Labor Party, the labour movement and the vast bulk of the trade union membership and leadership,” he said.

Mr Rudd said “that my successors presided over the readmission of McDonald, and others, reflects a lack of leadership”.

“For McDonald to be given an ‘outstanding service award’ is particularly interesting. Outstanding definitely. Outstandingly destructive for the party,” he said.

“These sort of awards should be for ordinary branch members who put their life and soul into the ­values of the movement,” Mr Rudd said.

West Australian Deputy Premier Roger Cook presented the award to Mr McDonald on Monday after he was welcomed back into the ALP’s WA branch in 2013 while serving as assistant state secretary of the CFMEU.

WA Premier Mark McGowan, who has said he will not be influenced by Labor-linked militant unions in government, did not ­attend Monday’s meeting.

During his contentious career, Mr McDonald has been fined over incidents that have cost the CFMEU’s rank-and-file members more than $1 million in penalties.

According to the Australian Building and Construction Commission, Mr McDonald holds the record for the highest total of penalties awarded against an ­individual.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: