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December 2018

Peter Dutton's insights into Team Turnbull

It's slightly comforting to know that at least one person in the parliamentary Liberal Party understands the damage Turnbull did.  Comforting, but not much else.

It's just a start on a huge and probably lengthy project to rebuild the party.

Here's some of what Peter Dutton said, published in full in The Sunday Mail here.

Incompetent, spiteful: Peter Dutton unleashes on Malcolm Turnbull

PETER Dutton has spectacularly broken his silence to accuse Malcolm Turnbull of spite attacks worse than Kevin Rudd’s, and lambasted the former prime minister for running a “paralysed” government caused by his own political incompetence.

He said Mr Turnbull did “not have a political bone in his body”, took the Government’s message from three-word slogans to “3000”, and alienated rusted-on Liberal Party supporters. Mr Dutton predicted the Coalition would have lost 25 seats if Mr Turnbull remained prime minister.

Mr Turnbull has regularly denied wrongdoing, but has privately briefed some MPs on what he was planning as prime minister, reaffirming the views by some that he is trying to destabilise and kill off the Government.

“I am the first to defend the legacy of the Turnbull government. Malcolm was strong on economic management, borders and national security, but Malcolm will trash his own legacy if he believes his position is strengthened by seeing us lose under Scott,’’ Mr Dutton said.

“Walking away from (his seat of) Wentworth and not working to have (Liberal Wentworth candidate) Dave Sharma elected was worse than any behaviour we saw even under Rudd.

“In 2016, Malcolm ran the worst campaign in Liberal Party history, and we ended up losing 15 seats and were left with a one-seat majority which just made the Parliament unmanageable. We were paralysed.

“Countless opportunities to strengthen the Government or nail Shorten passed us by because Malcolm couldn’t make a decision.

“Malcolm is charming and affable but he doesn’t have a political bone in his body and it’s not a criticism, but without political judgment you can’t survive in politics and he didn’t.

“Malcolm had a plan to become Prime Minister but no plan to be Prime Minister.

“He didn’t have John Howard’s touch or judgment nor his ability to convey a message. We went from three-word slogans under Tony (Abbott) to 3000 under Malcolm and our achievements weren’t effectively communicated as a result.”

Malcolm said to me on two occasions, ‘This Government only survives because of Scott, Mathias, you and I’.

“The reality is along with a number of senior colleagues we all did everything possible to make the Turnbull government work — we did not leak or undermine and we backed him up at every turn, but there was only so much we could do.

“The Liberal Party had become unrecognisable to our supporters. People who had voted for us for years had switched off.

“Energy policy had effectively become the “greatest moral challenge of our time” and version after version just didn’t work.

“Marginal seat members across the country believed we would lose the election and in the end MP’s couldn’t walk down the street without people saying you have to get rid of him.

“People thought they had a good local member but wouldn’t vote for us whilst Malcolm was leader.

“It became clear after we had lost 38 Newspoll’s in a row the government was going to be wiped out under Malcolm and that was the view of many based on discussions with their constituents.

“I have no doubt Malcolm will rue the day he stormed in to the party room and declared the leadership open expecting to get a resounding vote.

“His low vote destroyed him without any challenge necessary. It was then only a matter of when, and he used every trick to delay the vote but it would have been untenable to leave Canberra that week without the leadership question being settled.

“I challenged Malcolm for a number of reasons - one was Bill Shorten was certain to be PM if Malcolm was still in his job, so I declared my support for Scott from day one because he is a better person than Bill Shorten.

“(Scott) is a good economic manager and strong on border protection and national security.”

There's plenty more in Renee Viellaris's story at the Courier Mail website.

Thank you Peter for speaking up, if not belatedly.  

It's insulting to be treated like an idiot by your colleagues, including Scott Morrison.

But just having Peter Dutton tell us the truth about Turnbull isn't enough and I'm sure Peter knows that.  The party as a whole has to accept the fact that Turnbull was a disaster and tell the truth about the debacle.  It will wither and die if it doesn't.

Russell Street bomber operating distressing Twitter account from Barwon Prison

Craig Minogue is a prisoner in Victoria's high security Barwon Prison.  He should be completely out of circulation, but somehow he's pumping out regular and confronting messages to the world via Twitter.

Thirty years ago Minogue and others parked a Commodore loaded with explosives outside the Russell Street Police Headquarters.  He timed the explosion for 1PM on a busy Easter Thursday.  He murdered Constable Angela Taylor and seriously wounded others when the bomb went off.

I was at the Police Academy for Angela's funeral.  Eighteen weeks later I won the Angela Taylor Memorial Prize as Dux of my double squad intake.  I felt a great affinity with Angela and I worked with many of the police who were casualties alongside her that day.

For a couple of weeks in 1987 my squad mates and I had the horrible duty of escorting Minogue and his co-offenders from Pentridge Prison to the Melbourne Magistrates' Court during their committal for trial. That meant strip searching them in Pentridge, riding in brawler vans to the City Watch-House, strip searching them again - and sitting beside them in the dock.

Minogue and his mates openly mocked and threatened us.  We issued them with crayons to take notes in court as we thought pens or pencils could be used as weapons against us. Minogue successfully appealed to Chief Magistrate Darcy Dugan for the right to use biros.

As soon as they had the pens in their hands, Minogue's co-offender Peter Reed turned to Minogue and, gesturing at me, said, "I could put that straight through his eye".  Minogue laughed and repeated the stabbing gesture.

Minogue is locked up away from society for a good reason.  He is a dangerous, hardened criminal.  The security around him should be tight - but it's a joke.  He's in daily contact with the outside world through this account.

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And here's what MINOGUE's been up to during the past week.

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How can the Victorian Government tolerate this blatant and extremely distressing breach of prison security?

To Premier Andrews, here's the Twitter account:

It's now 30 years since I sat in Darcy Dugan SM's court room to hear the excruciating details of what these vicious cop killers did.  Writing this story has brought all of that pain and horror back and even though I consider myself a fairly hardy soul it's highly distressing. Premier please, get on to Twitter and shut this animal's account down.

Before they were Governors General

I'm privileged to be a member of a few websites where former defence force members get together to share photos and stories.

I thought you might be interested in these shots of the current and incoming Governors General!

Here's a dashing young Lieutenant Peter Cosgrove.....

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 10.50.12 am a platoon commander in Vietnam in 1970 - pointing out the location of an enemy Burmese Python which had infiltrated the Australian base....

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....this is his platoon sergeant Frank Johnson dealing with the prisoner!

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And here's a young platoon commander David Hurley, 24 Platoon, C Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Blamey Barracks, Kapooka - 1978 (front row centre with the pips on his shoulders).

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I was really struck by some of the comments from blokes who've served with Sir Peter and General Hurley - here's a sample:

Had the pleasure of the Boss being my CO, Brigade Commander, Comd Land Forces, Comd in East Timor. Great man who never forgot a face or your family. Sad to see him leave the post of GG, He and Lady Lynn were great ambassadors.

I had the pleasure to watch GEN Cosgrove from 1998 - 99 when he went to Timor. He showed that no matter how long you have served there is always room for new learning and the opportunity to help others achieve / succeed - 1998 was the ABCA exercise and 1999 was deployment to Timor. I think this is why I was very pleased when he became the GG.

I read Sir Peter’s book... it’s a cracker (makes a difference if you are/were in the Army to appreciate the subtleties).   A good understanding of why he became a true Leader.

The Australian Regular Army had a very strong culture amongst its officers that the interests of the troops always took first priority. That was manifested in very practical ways, for example the officers would always wait until the troops had been served a meal out bush before they, the officers could eat.

Men like Sir Peter and General Hurley bring those strong traditions of duty and selflessness to the leadership of our country.  

I wish more of that rubbed off on the elected mob in parliament.

Peter Dutton explains the decision to strip an Islamic State terrorist of his Australian citizenship

2018 Indonesian police terror report - 25 terrorists shot & killed - 400 arrested

Here are some telling Indonesian statistics taken from the story below:

  • 396 people arrested for terrorism offences in Indonesia in 2018 - up from 176 in 2017
  • 25 terror suspects shot and killed by police in 2018
  • 8 police killed in terror operations this year - 23 wounded
  • >600 Indonesians travelled to Syria to fight with Islamic State (total over several years) and many are returning
  • Indonesian police terror task force grew to 1300 officers this year - up from 600 in 2017

Those numbers show a huge level of terrorist activity in Indonesia - and all the trends are upwards with growth in offences, arrests and police resources.

There's some outstanding police work hidden away in these numbers, particularly after the Surabaya bombings in May with the arrest of 352 members an Indonesian IS affiliate.  

My observation is that Indonesian police act against terror threats far more quickly than Australia's police forces do.  A hell of a lot of doors get kicked in and the police have a bias towards eliminating the threats on the spot.  Good on them.

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Indonesian authorities have arrested almost 400 suspected militants in 2018, the nation’s police chief said Thursday, as he predicted that terrorism will remain a significant threat to public security next year.

In May, Indonesia suffered suicide bombings that targeted three churches and a police headquarters in Surabaya, the nation’s second largest city, killing 24 people, including children who allegedly joined their parents on a terror spree that took their own lives.

Those back-to-back attacks spurred the Indonesian Parliament to fast-track an anti-terror law that allows police to detain suspects for 21 days without charge.

“Now we are stronger to do counter strike and preventive strike, rather than waiting for evidence of a committed crime,” Gen. Tito Karnavian, chief of the national police, told a news conference.

Tito was referring to the revised Anti-Terrorism Law that also allows authorities to hold suspects for another 200 days after filing charges against them, giving police sufficient time to gather evidence before handing the case to prosecutors.

Out of the 396 suspects arrested this year on suspicion of terror links, 141 people had been charged in court, Tito said. By comparison, he said, police arrested 176 terror suspects last year.

Tito attributed the significant statistical jump to what he described as intensive counter-terrorism operations prior to hosting of international multi-sport events, such as the Asian Games on Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 in the capital Jakarta and Palembang city.

“Honestly, the operations to arrest terror suspects after the Surabaya attacks were possible after the law was issued,” Tito said. “So, while the Surabaya case is a tragedy, at the same time it is a lesson, too.”

The attacks in Surabaya became the first suicide bombings involving family members in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation of more than 260 million people.

Tito told reporters in September that within four months after the bombings, police had arrested at least 352 members of the local branch of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a network of Indonesian militants with Islamic State (IS) links.

During the past 12 months, security forces also shot dead 25 men in separate gunfights that took place when the suspects refused to be arrested, according to a police report. It said eight officers were killed and 23 were injured in those anti-terror operations.

The Surabaya attacks occurred a few days after terrorist inmates rioted over a food complaint at the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) detention facility, a maximum-security prison in West Java’s Depok district, leaving five police officers and an inmate dead.

IS has inspired cells of radical groups in Indonesia, Tito said. The extremist group once held vast territories that straddled parts of Iraq and Syria and ran a so-called caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqa until it was routed by U.S.-backed forces last year.

“While they are not completely gone, they will try to mobilize their network. Like in Europe, in America, including in Southeast Asia,” Tito said, referring to the IS.

More than 600 Indonesians, including dozens of women and children, traveled to Syria to join IS, according Indonesian counter-terrorism officials. Since 2015, about 430 Indonesians have been deported from Turkey after trying to cross into Syria to join IS, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters in June.

The possible return of more deportees and the Surabaya bombings have revived fears about IS’s attempts to spread its influence in Indonesia.

But Tito expressed confidence that with the doubling in size of the country’s counter-terrorism task force – from 600 to about 1,300 personnel – and also the establishment of a Terrorism Task Force in each police region, authorities can improve efforts to eradicate terrorism.

“Even though there are still potential threats … we will be able to overcome them,” he said.