Nation News, Wednesday 25 March 2015

This article reviews The Australian newspaper for Wednesday 25th March 2015, concerning national, ethnic and religious affair.

Rachel Baxendale. “Koranic ‘kindy’: poster boy, 6, calls on kids to answer Prophet.” Page 1, news, 110 column cms, of which half is a photograph of a boy in Muslim headdress. The article finishes on p. 4 (34 col. cms). The article reports that a six year old boy was used to advertise a conference by the same organisation, Islamic Research and Educational Academy. In 2013 the organisation ran a conference at which posters called for amputation of the hands of thieves and women to save themselves from being raped by wearing hijabs. The 2013 conference had speakers who had been banned from speaking overseas due to their views on Jews, homosexuals and women.

Stefanie Balogh. “Australian children trapped in terror web, says Bishop.” Page 1, news, 35 column cms. The article finishes on page 4. Foreign Minister Bishop warns that Australian children are becoming involved in Islamic State activities as a result of their parents leaving Australia to join the terrorist organisation.

Peter Alford. “Terror funds flowing to Jakarta.” Page 2, news, 51 column cms. Significant amounts of money raised in Australia are being sent to fund Islamic State fighters. Australia and Indonesia are cooperating in gathering intelligence on the funding of Islamic terrorist groups. The key Australian agency involved is the Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Austrac. The report is significant for Australian ethnic affairs because it indicates some support among Australian Muslims for terrorism overseas and potentially in Australia.

Sarah Elks. “History weighs on house blessed with a first.” Page 4, news, 74 column cms, including photo. Leeane Enoch is the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Queensland parliament. Enoch received a tradition blessing from elder Evelyn Parkin.

Jamie Walker. “US not buying new Bibi reversal”. Page 9, news, 63 column cms. The Obama administration is ratcheting up pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to grant Palestinians their own state. This is in reaction to Netanyahu’s electioneering promise to rightwing voters that he would oppose a Palestinian state and his criticism of Arab voters. The US is opposed to Israel annexing the West Bank. The article ends by directing readers to an editorial on the subject (see below).

The Times reprint. “Greek PM mentions the war as talks stall.” Page 10, news, 115 column cm, including large picture. Greece struggles to remain within the EU despite massive debt and political hurdles in achieving austerity. This long-unfolding situation is mirrored in several other countries on the European periphery. The story is relevant to Australia because it highlights the lack of solidarity among European nations. Poor regions are subsidised by taxpayers within a nation but much less so between nations. The role of ethnic diversity in channeling the EU’s economic crises is infrequently discussed.

John Lee. “The Chinese century is built on shaky foundations”. Page 12, opinion, 85 column cms. Contrary to widespread opinion, China’s economic expansion looks unsustainable due to massive debt and inefficiency. “The US clearly remains superior to China in every economic factor that matters.”

Editorial. “Eight-state ‘solution’ floated.” Page 13, opinion, 26 column cms. This criticises Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his preelection disowning of the two-state solution and his reference to Arab Israeli’s as outsiders. It notes the skepticism of the US. The main criticism is of Likud’s chauvinist position, especially the eight-state solution proposed by academic Mordechai Kedar, in which Palestinians territory would be broken up into eight cantons separated by Israeli territory. The editorial is critical of Likud’s promotion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank, now covering 40 per cent of that territory. On this occasion The Australian is siding with international opinion and against the Israeli right, a rare stance for the Murdoch press. This places the newspaper close to the position of Bob Carr, previous (Labor) foreign minister, who in his recent memoirs criticised Israeli expansionism and Australia’s Israel lobby. Carr was joined in his criticism of Israel and its Australian lobby by ex-prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who died last week. The left has been turning against Israel’s ethnic nationalism in a growingly fundamental way. Carr even came out in support of Labor Friends of Palestine, becoming its official patron. Carr accused Israel of moving towards “Apartheid”, as did ex-president Jimmy Carter in his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. At recently as November 2014, The Australian editorialised against Carr’s stance, declaring Israel to be a pluralist democracy. It would be significant if the The Australian’s editor is moving towards the left and the Obama administration’s position.

Gledhill. Letter to the editor. Page 13, opinion, 9 column inches. Gledhill criticises the late Malcolm Fraser for wrecking Rhodesia’s transition to black rule. He states that Fraser’s backing of the brutal Robert Mugabe resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands.

Cinema. “Holocaust film series.” Page 14, arts section, 9.5 column cms. The Series is presented by the Jewish International Film Festival.

Summary. The newspaper carried 531 column centimetres of articles on ethnic issues, which was about 7 per cent of the 18 page news section, including advertisements. The main themes were Islamic terrorism (3 articles) and Israel (2 articles), joined by an assortment of small articles on Aborigines, China and Greece’s financial woes.

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