If only the Minister for Women would tackle family violence with the same gusto he trumpets against terrorism, writes Jennifer Wilson.
In his desire to distract the general public from the depth and breadth of the country’s increasing contempt for him (with the exception of Gerard Henderson, bless) Prime Minister Tony Abbott has resorted to the good old conservative standby and fear in an effort to somewhat fancifully reinvent himself as the nation’s protector.
As part of this cunning stunt (no doubt thought out by someone in his office I’m not naming anyone), Abbott announced that anyone perceived to be a potential terrorist would no longer be given the benefit of the doubt.
Immigration and Centrelink have been touted by the PM as two possible areas for increased scrutiny. That is, don’t admit possible potential maybe somehow some day terror suspects in the first place. Failing that, it is incumbent on someone behind the Centrelink counter to exclaim “Oh my! Immigration missed that this person might potentially possibly somehow maybe some day somewhere be a terrorist and I must not give him/her the benefit of the doubt even though Immigration did, damn their eyes, and I’m not giving them any welfare and I have now foiled a terrorist attack”.
Man Haran Monis, perpetrator of the Martin Place Lindt Cafe horror, passed through both Immigration and Centrelink. He was also well-known to police in matters of domestic violence for which he was on bail, and there were a string of allegations of the sexual assault by him of some forty women.
Strangely, we have not heard the Minister for Women Tony Abbott once mention that anyone who perpetrates domestic violence ought to be noted as a potential terror suspect, and definitely not given the benefit of the doubt.
If Immigration and Centrelink are to be burdened with the task of identifying potential terror suspects and withholding the benefit of the doubt, why not police who are at the front line of domestic violence allegations?
Of course, the idea of expecting either Immigration or Centrelink to have the capacity to assess a potential terrorist is ludicrous, as is my suggestion that police assume terrorist potential in every person they arrest for domestic violence.
What is interesting, however, is that Abbott did not even go to the latter option, which out of all of them makes the most sense in a triad of bone-achingly senseless options. Obviously, no agency has the capacity or the training to identify terror suspects unless they are so bleedingly obvious as to have already embarked upon their ghastly vocation.
The number of ways in which the Minister for Women avoids the topic of domestic violence are spectacular. What other Minister in any government ever in the history of Western democracy has remained so consistently silent on his portfolio and kept it?
This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.
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