The terror threat level has just been raised in Australia from medium to high — but Bob Ellis isn’t buying it.
It’s interesting what the Liberals think is a popular thing to do.
Spending a billion looking forever, fruitlessly, for bits of a downed
plane. Spending a hundred million looking for bits of bodies on a downed
plane and ‘bringing them home’. Inviting Protestants, Buddhists, Jews
and Muslims into a Catholic cathedral to speak before a crucified
Christ. Going to war, again, in Iraq if the guys who lost the last two
Iraq Wars ask them to. And, lately, a Terrorist Red Alert.
There may be ‘inconvenience’ at football finals, we hear, and
airports, as if the ‘terrorists’ would go anywhere near such places. The
last terrorist outrage at a sporting event was the kidnap and murder
of some Israeli weightlifters at the 1972 Olympics, which set back
Arafat’s PLO by fifty years, and no-one has done any such thing since
then; you don’t kill sporting heroes, you don’t do that. The last
terrorist incident on a plane was the Underpants Bomber, and full-body imaging makes it hard for that cock-up to be repeated.
What ‘terrorists’ often attack is suburban trains (London, Madrid,
Tokyo), and they do it for the obvious reason that they can bring
suitcases, backpacks, shopping bags on to them, can leave them on
shelves or under seats and detonate them remotely.
Curiously, this particular Red Alert makes no mention of this. It’s
in part because it’s impossible to police. If random electronic searches
hold up four trains each morning and nothing is found, and five school
buses, the Government falls.
If the government is serious, they must do random searches on every opening night a politician goes to — the Wharf Revue, The King And I, the Bob Dylan concert. They must upend, disrupt and inconvenience every political party conference. Labor’s conference
in Sydney Town Hall, which had a pro-Gaza demonstration next door,
could be entered by anyone, and observed from the gallery upstairs.
Carr, Shorten, Plibersek were at it, Clare, Rees, Firth, Robbo, Albo,
Faulkner, any one of whom could have been seized at gunpoint and
beheaded on Facebook. So could a similar cast at Neville Wran’s funeral
in the same crowded venue.
Abbott’s biking and Iron Man events must be discontinued, clearly.
Joe Hockey’s visits to his Queensland farm must be overflown by vigilant
thumping helicopters. Julie Bishop’s visits to Geneva must be
accompanied by armed motorcades.
Do we believe any of this? Well, no, we don’t. The reason is that the
terrorists’ resources are limited, and the people they want to
terrorise aren’t living here in Australia. People wanting to set up a
Syria-Lebanon-Iraq-Egyptian caliphate are not going to bomb Newcastle
Town Hall. They are not going to kidnap and behead Peter Hartcher. They
are going to concentrate their efforts round Mosul, Baghdad, Samara.
The ‘terrorist virus’ theory the Liberals are trying on lately – that
young men, infected in Syria by beasts who want to overthrow Assad,
will come back here and blow up a cricket match – lacks what Poirot
“… a believable motive, ’Astings. What do they ’ave to gain by doeeng zat?”
They have a lot to lose — their lives, their intimacy of their young
wives, the love of their children, the suburban contentment of their
mothers, cousins, old grandfathers. Why would they do it? What lost
homelands would they liberate in Strathfield, Logan, Collingwood? Why
would they do it?
And why haven’t they done it already? Muslim Afghans have been here
since 1830, Muslim Pakistanis, Indonesians, Somalians for twenty,
twenty-five years. And the last terrorist attack on our soil was by Martin Bryant, an Anglo-Saxon, in 1996, and the one before that, the Hilton Bombing, in 1978, was contrived not by terrorists but ASIO.
Oh, similar things do happen here. Bikie gang wars, Underbelly
assassinations, suburban ‘incidents’ where the crazed fathers of
kidnapped children shoot it out with the police. But nothing of the kind
we know as ‘terrorist’ – the Bali bombing, the Tube train massacre – on
our soil since the Battle of Broken Hill in 1916.
How much money will this nonsense cost us? Where’s it coming from?
The shelved GP co-payment? What? And what evidence is there for alarm?
None, evidently. Apart from two young men who are about to go to Syria to fight, as Obama advises, against ISIL.
Abbott, caught in a moral tangle as usual, says going to war with
ISIL is a criminal offence if boys from Logan do it, but an heroic act
if Diggers do it and it won’t endanger Australians at all — we won’t provoke the ‘terrorists’ by going to war with them.
And he won’t go to war unless the Americans tell him to — the
Americans who got it so right last time, destroying six million lives,
and causing ISIL while they were there. He’ll consult the Americans, but
not the Australian people. And he’ll body-search Australians at
football finals in case they’ve got atomic weapons up their clackers.
Dare we call this excessive? Deluded? Hyperbolic? Demented? Wasteful of, ho ho, the taxpayers’ money?
More Australians have died from backyard pool drownings in the last
five years than ‘terrorism’ in the last hundred, on our soil. Fifty
times as many from funnel-web spider bites. Twenty times as many, each
day, from cigarettes. Four times as many, each week, from road
What you have to do in Big Scare politics is make the people believe
you. Believe you, Tony Abbott. And one of the ways you do that is
behaving as if you yourself believe it. And unless there are full-body
searches of every foreigner at the Crown Casino, or The King And I, or the Melbourne Cup, or the corridors outside ICAC, no-one will believe you believe it.
Abbott says, ‘Carry on with your lives as usual’, and ‘Look, look,
the terrorists might be strapped with bombs at the next Grand Final’
What an oaf he is. What a creepy, Americanised, frantic fool.
What a Chicken Little-in-Chief.
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