Macklin / From the shocking to the whacky

“As for Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury’s taskforce taking ‘a year to conclude its strategy on free needles for prisoners’, you have to wonder what universe he occupies,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

TERRORISM both national and international dominated the headlines this past week.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin.

We were all shocked by the attack on the Parramatta police station – and the killing of the much- respected Curtis Cheng – by high school student Farhad Jabar.

And it was little comfort that the NSW police arrested a group of men who they believe urged the 15-year-old to carry out his attack.

But the police can only act once a crime has been committed, even if it’s consorting with terrorist intent. Clearly, our security agencies need more people inside the Islamist movement so they can act before people are killed.

IT was gratifying to see the calm response from PM Malcolm Turnbull who sought to embrace the whole community, rather than inflaming the situation with cries of “death cults” coming after “all Australians”.

However, there is no complete answer to the problem, at least until the Abrahamist religions go the way of the dodo. Radical Islam has terrorised the world for centuries, with outbreaks in Asia, Europe, Africa or the Middle East. ISIS is but the latest incarnation of the virus, albeit the most virulent strain so far. And it feeds on first world intervention.

THIS was never more apparent than in Afghanistan and Syria; the Taliban takeover of the strategic northern Afghan city of Kunduz was stark testimony to the futility of the allied intervention. And the American bombing of an allied hospital was icing on the cake. Only the Afghans can decide their own future.

Forty-one Australian soldiers have been killed and 256 wounded… and for what? War supporters such as Canberra’s own Andrew Leigh MP might like to think again.

THE Syrian theatre was even more ludicrous with our government’s about face – supported by Labor – that puts us fairly on the side of yesterday’s “butcher”, President Bashar al-Assad. The Russians are bombing the American-backed “moderates” while we and the Americans (and others) are bombing ISIS positions… we hope. And now to cap it off, we’re joined by Russian boots on the ground!

Ah, boys and their toys.

BY comparison, our own little political contretemps are a model of civilised behaviour, at least now that the last of the Abbott holdovers – viz Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane – has departed the scene.

BUT that doesn’t mean we’re quite free of wacky ideas. This decision to release the detainees to wander around Nauru – and to process 600 asylum claims in a week – simply boggles the mind.

And for Minister Peter Dutton to graciously permit them to stay there for the next 10 years – or apply to resettle in Cambodia now – is beyond laughable.

Hard to know why Turnbull didn’t sack him when he had the chance.

AND as for Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury’s taskforce taking “a year to conclude its strategy on free needles for prisoners”, you have to wonder what universe he occupies. How long does it take to say: “Forget it – jail is the perfect place to kick the habit”?

AT least we had a week of great rugby to bring back a little sanity. But wait a minute… Japan beat South Africa, Romania beat Canada and the Brits are history! What’s next, water on Mars? Oh, right.

robert@robertmacklin.com

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