Monday, 15 September 2014

The only reason Australia's terror alert level has been raised is because it gives Popeye a visceral thrill to do so

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the terror threat level has been raised from medium to high. He has stressed that people should continue to go about their normal lives and that there is no intelligence on a specific plot. [The Sydney Morning Herald 12 September 2014]

Mr Abbott on Saturday repeated his assurance that the upgraded alert level did not mean a terror attack was imminent. But it was designed to raise community awareness about the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia, with people urged to contact the authorities if they noticed anything suspicious. [The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 2014]

This was The Age and John Howard in September 2002

This is The Courier Mail, The Daily Telegraph and Tony Abbott in September 2014:

What’s radically changed in between these two headlines and caused Abbott to now classifiy the country as being likely to be the victim of a terrorist attack? 

Very little. Except we now have a prime minister desperate for media coverage in which he saves Australia from the battalions of baddies lurking around every corner intent on killing or maiming each and every voter.

And if that takes orchestrating a nation-wide scare dressed up as both an awareness campaign and a response to alleged physical danger; well so be it.

That what is being served up is classic right-wing political spin is obvious when one looks at both fear campaigns. In an effort to deflect scrutiny of the actual threat level the general populace is offered a diversion - the National Security Hotline which was set up in late 2002.

This was John Howard in February 2003:

The package is the second phase of the Government's campaign to alert Australians to the threat of terrorism, and includes a booklet, fridge magnet and a letter from Prime Minister John Howard. Delivery began yesterday.

And Tony Abbott's spin in September 2014:

BARRIE CASSIDY:  And the Prime Minister did mention at the Friday news conference that there will be a modest PR campaign, or an awareness campaign.  Can you say what that will involve?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL:  It will involve some advertising to make people aware of the importance of vigilance, we need to advertise the call number – 1800 123 400 – so that if people do see something that is genuinely suspicious, particularly around government buildings, military facilities and such, they should call that number – 1800 123 400.

It would almost be funny – except that cynical political moves like this sometimes have a nasty habit of turning into self-fulfilling prophesies.

A frightened and resentful populace may begin to discriminate against and socially isolate groups they have been told they should fear and resent, while the behaviour of equally fearful or aggrieved people within these groups may become volatile.

* Cartoon by Moir


Ursula Tunks said...

John Fraser said...


Australia's Gaddafi is a moron who thinks this is his Falklands moment.

Unfortunately for Australia ..... its not !

Anonymous said...

Wake up to yourselves before it's too late - Muslim immigration will leave us living in a foreign country within 100 years! If they won't adjust to the Aussie way of life, they should NOT come!

Anonymous said...

Today's headlines - 100's of police conduct terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane, about time, now to rid our wonderful country of these vermin, thank God for Scott Morrison, he's stopped the illegal immigrants and he's cleaning out the warmongers in our midst!