Looking like a cross between Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, our glamourous foreign minister last week rocked into – of all places – Tehran. Her mission? To convince the Iranian government to agree to the return of some 9,000 Iranian asylum seekers currently languishing on our shores at taxpayers’ expense, who, if denied refugee status, will have nowhere else to go. Apart from showing off her unusual glittery scarf and hat, worn, apparently, to curry favour with her hosts, Julie Bishop also managed a trip to the Tajrish bazaar, an equally glitzy affair of crowded spice stalls and alleyways. Westerners who visit usually find they exit with empty wallets clutching baubles of dubious value, an apt metaphor, perhaps, for how the foreign minister’s negotiations may have fared. As the Iranians have demonstrated with Barack Obama recently, the ayatollahs clearly posses the wiliest bazaar stall owners skills of getting precisely what they want at zero inconvenience or cost to themselves.
Our part of the Iran ‘deal’ will involve ‘intelligence sharing’ on the whereabouts of Australian Muslims waging jihad in Syria or Iraq at the behest of ‘the death cult’ (copyright T. Abbott). In return, the Iranians have agreed to, er, send a delegation over here to look at the repatriation issue.
Let us hope that that is the end to our collaboration with one of the vilest regimes on the planet. Certainly, Ms Bishop is to be applauded for doing her bit towards tightening our borders, and should her efforts result in the return of the non-refugees it will probably have been a job worth doing. The risk, of course, is that which was immediately highlighted by Andrew Wilkie MP and Dr Colin Rubenstein, among others; best described as ‘dancing with the devil’. Iran has aggressively sponsored terrorism and civil wars in the Middle East since the overthrow of the Shah, spawning such delightful and murderous entities as Hezbollah and Hamas along the way. Iranian politicians regularly employ their own three word slogans – Death to America!, Death to Israel! etc – which, despite the Left’s fantasies and obfuscation, are straightforward and unambiguous expressions of political and theocratic intent. The Iranian government is at best pursuing its nuclear ambitions with the aim of dominating the Middle East through fear and intimidation, and at worst, seeking to win the war with the Saudis and Sunni Islam that has it roots in the legend of a 9th century child Imam squatting at the bottom of a well. Iran, in the eyes of most Israeli military experts, is the single greatest threat to regional peace, with Isis, Al Qaeda, Jabhat al Nusrah and the rest mere bit players.
What Iran really hopes to achieve from this rapprochement with uranium-rich Australia can only be guessed at. But photos of smiling western politicians shaking hands with ruthless, murderous tyrants often tend to prove extremely embarrassing in the long run. With or without the headgear.
In praise of Margaret
Full marks to Margaret Cunneen SC for taking on the salivating witch-hunters of the ICAC. And winning. For too long, as we have argued in these pages, the original, worthy aims of Nick Greiner’s anti-corruption concept have given way to an out-of-control, power-hungry, undemocratic kangaroo court that has left a trail of destruction amongst hard-working, honest individuals whilst, incredibly, failing to actually bring down any of the ‘bad’ guys. It’s a miserable CV that has seen NSW deprived of the talents of two premiers (Nick Greiner and Barry O’Farrell), and seen the careers of Senator Sinodinos, as well as several MPs and business people, hanging in limbo, whilst the likes of Eddie Obeid strolled off down Elizabeth street comparatively unscathed.
That Ms Cunneen had to suffer the ignominy of being publicly humiliated for allegations that, even were they true, amounted to nothing more than a gigantic ‘So what?’ was shameful enough. Worse, the outcome of the offence (the son’s girlfriend had a blood alcohol level of zero, and was clearly not to blame for the accident) only served to underline the pettiness and vindictiveness of the attack.
Most reprehensible of all were the comments made by ICAC chief Megan Latham to a group of law students, boasting that the Commission’s inquisatorial work was like ‘pulling the wings off butterflies’ and ‘lots of fun’. Premier Mike Baird should now do the right thing and close the whole miserable show down.
Only a few months ago, the Left were in full cry demanding a federal version of the ICAC. Heaven forbid.
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