Abbottâ€™s culture war hits the road. Is air travel getting less safe? Ben Sandilands looks at the odds of a crash. Julia and the party faithful at Combet book launch. The Business Council’s new-found love of socialism. Palmerâ€™s wrangling in Queensland could help Newman. The mystery of the lost dictaphone: ethical questions for journalists in Vic. Donâ€™t mention the war at Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Lewski class action. And media is fukt: the view from NPRâ€™s Bob Garfield.
A group of unarmed Australian police officers has entered a war zone to secure the crash site of MH17. The contingent, which is part of a joint Dutch-Australian mission, was forced to turn back from the site this morning due to fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops, according to the ABCâ€™s Stephen McDonell.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is in Kiev, holding talks with the Ukraine President to allow the officers to carry guns. “Part of that is to have the right, should it ever be necessary, to bring arms into the country for self-defence,” Bishop saidÂ this morning, stressing that Australiaâ€™s presence in the country remained a â€śhumanitarian missionâ€ť.
As in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 88 Australians, it is right that Australia provide expertise in the form of Australian Federal Police officers to assist with identifying the perpetrators of a violent act that killed dozens of Australians.Â But sending unarmed police officers into an active war zone is a reckless act that could lead to more Australian deaths. Going in with guns, even if they are used for self-defence, is arguably even more so.
Such neutral visitors, attending at the behest of their governments, may make tempting human shields or kidnap targets, particularly for irregular forces of the kind opposing the Ukrainian government, to say nothing of the possibility for further tragic accidents, which are all too common in war zones.