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Giving wedgies on national security policy

You would have thought it would be at least mildly damaging to the Abbott government, if not just a bit embarrassing, that one of their colleagues has leaked a memo outlining their plans to wedge Labor on national security policy. After spending an inordinate amount of effort trying to convince voters that Abbott rates national security policy as a priority above all else because it really is an important area of public policy (it isn’t), you would think it might be a bigger news story for the public to find out that, in fact the Abbott government’s obsession with national security policy is nothing more than a political game. A game to make Labor look bad. A ‘tactic’ designed to ‘wedge’ Labor, to make Labor look ‘soft on terrorism’. A scheme to get Abbott re-elected. Nothing to do with the safety of Australians. But this is not a rational world that we live in and we do not have a rational media who would make this story a rational one for their audience to understand. Instead, the release of this memo was yet another ‘nothing to see here, move along, the Abbott government can do whatever they like without being framed as completely ridiculous’ moment and we’re all meant to just go about our lives as if nothing has happened.

Well I for one won’t just go on. I will call out the ridiculousness when I see it and I will question how a supposably mature and well-educated electorate of Australian voters are so keen to fall for Abbott’s bullshit on national security. Because, according to a recent poll, the one thing Australians are most anxious about is the threat of ISIS. Seriously. In a country threated by climate change, with unemployment at record highs, with whole industries dying out, with house prices in some cities far out of reach of middle-income earners, with huge cuts to education and health spending, with threats to social security and aged pensions and with a government so catastrophically inept and dysfunctional that we’re a daily embarrassment, and a danger to our international community, Australians are most scared of a handful of idiotic lunatics who inexplicably leave the comfort of their homes in Australia to fight with fanatics in a country most Australians can’t find on a map? Seriously? When people wake up every day, do they really worry more about the ISIS ‘death cult’ bogey-man-under-the-bed than they do keeping their job and feeding, clothing, educating and caring for their family? Seriously? So Abbott’s game is working. Australians are falling for his wedging of Labor hook line and sinker. Or is it by hook or by crook? Wake up Australia! The joke is on you!

Today Abbott took the ‘we will wedge Labor on national security policy’ directive further into the immature game-playing realm or absurdity today by saying that since Labor, quite reasonably and to my relief, are refusing to help give Minister-Potato-Head-Dutton ministerial control of taking away the Australian citizenship of people accused (but not proved by a court of law) of fighting alongside terrorists, that Labor are ‘rolling out the red carpet to terrorists’. Labor has said they will support legislation that removes the Australian citizenship of people with dual-citizenship if a court of law finds them guilty of supporting terrorism. You know, like when anyone commits a crime in this first-world-country we live in and are given, as an inalienable right, the right to be tried in a court of a law and to be considered innocent until proven guilty. But this centuries-old-approach-to-the-rule-of-law is evidence of Labor being ‘soft’ apparently, according to the wedge-brigade. Even though Abbott has been told his plan, which was so opposed by his own cabinet members that it was the topic of the most detailed cabinet leak the country has ever seen, is likely un-constitutional (in other words won’t happen unless Abbott changes the constitution, in other words won’t happen), he is determined to keep going with it. Because he’s trying to give Labor a wedgie. It’s all about polls you see. While he’s scaring people, he’s winning. That’s a sad fact. He actually does win when he’s scaring people and part of his plan to scare people is to tell them that the courts are no longer going to keep Australians safe. It’s now up to Peter Dutton to keep us safe. That’s scary!

But do you know what really is scary? Apart from the ease in which Abbott can play these games, aided by a compliant media who never call him out. Apart from the fact that Australians are all too willing to participate in the ISIS-is-under-your-bed-BOO!-charade. And apart from the fact that while Abbott’s playing these games, he’s not running the country and addressing real problems facing millions of Australians, and in most cases is making our lives harder instead. No, what scares me most is that Abbott’s game will be successful and he will convince a gullible-all-too-ready-to-be-conned electorate that even though he’s quite clearly the most inept human being Australia has ever had the misfortune of calling Prime Minister, that his own political game playing ‘war on terror’ makes him a ‘safer bet’ than Labor at the next, possibly quite soon to occur, election. This really is scary enough to keep me up at night.

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  1. Keith

    It used to be communists that the Conservatives pushed; but, the communist threat fizzled out. It was never a real threat anyway.
    Weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq.
    We now have terrorists in every nook and cranny apparently.

    Australians have more to worry about in relation to domestic violence than terrorism.
    We have much more to worry about in relation to climate change as well.
    Abbott has proven to be inept; and we potentially have a recession to contend with.

  2. philgorman2014

    Democracy is broken when the people eagerly vote against their own interests. While you can’t fool all of the people all of the time history shows that you can fool most of the people for much of the time. Too many of the people are being fooled too often by the burgeoning corpocracy that’s sweeping away the old civilised values of the West.

    We now find ourselves in an absurdest looking glass world ineptly fashioned by those whose desire for wealth and power overrides all other considerations. Concepts such as rationality, moderation, justice tempered by mercy, social democracy, The Common Wealth, The Public Good, The Rule of Law, Sovereignty of The People, equity, fairness and evidence based policy have no place here except as rhetorical flourishes.

  3. Conrad

    I had to give a sick laugh at how childish was Abbott to give a press conference at Endeavour Hills Police Station, because that was where some sick 18 year old tried to stab two police officers; this, therefore, shows ( according to The Toxic Rabbit) that each and every Australian now faces a personal threat of coming to terrorist-initiated harm. Three points are raised: 1 Abbott is mentally defective and infantile when it comes to this topic, 2 he will grandstand this issue even to extreme extents 3 will the mass of the public accept his con-trick? It is a worry that this third point even needs to be asked.

  4. Direct current

    I’ve been in Australia since 1968 and am a naturalised Aussie, I registered my children’s birth thru the U.S. Counsel and they are eligible for US citizenship should they ever choose to accept. My husband was born in Australia to parents who both arrived from Italy after WW 2. It now appears to me that we ALL will now have second class citizenship.
    The chances of any of us making the mind boggling choice to travel to Syria and become terrorists is somewhat non existent. But, the fact that our current government (& I use that term loosely) has decided that ONE man can now decide who should be stripped of their citizenship for terrorism is a small step on a long road. What next? If we’re not on “team Australia” will our faces no longer fit and we could be shipped off to somewhere we don’t want to go? Could we all go the same place or would we be spilt up? It’s only for terrorists NOW, this current lot are such loose cannons I think we’d all better start watching our step!

  5. Shane Williams

    Apart from yourselves the Australian media is generally akin to grain fed cattle waiting for its food and doing nothing else

  6. darrel nay

    reply for philgorman2014,

    I love your comments. It’s often been said that a picture’s worth a thousand words – equally sometimes a few words inspire countless images. Thanks for your experiences which have allowed you to distill and share these ideas. Personally, I think the ‘Sovereignty of The People’ discussion is one we’d benefit from.


  7. stephentardrew

    I agree completely Trish however the way the economy is going wedging with terrorism is not going to work. When you hit people’s hip pocket scary things become less important. Australians are prone too fear tactics however opposition parties and independents are going to have a great handful of ammunition to sling at Abbott pre-election. The lie mantra will be loud and strong. If there are no terrorist attacks between now and then, and let’s hope to heavens there are not, his terror scare will be muted. There is a long way to go yet. Look at the increased leftist attitude of youth while Abbott’s geriatric brigade shuffle off of this mortal coil.

    Getting there myself however I can’t handle the intense conservative attitudes of this selfish and greedy generation.

  8. deanyz1

    You are correct Shane. When billionaires own the media and corporates own the government, humanity and the public good for which they are elected to govern for is reversed. Instead of ‘Common Wealth’ it has become a ‘Feast of the Wealthy’ at the expense of the poor.

  9. Paolo Soprani

    I doff my hat to your not inconsiderable perspicacity. Such clarity of thought and reason. These dreadful people we call a government should be laughed out of the country. Australia, the joke is indeed on us!

  10. keerti

    when the sheep accept the wolf as one of themselves, they have lost even the right to be called sheep! australians are probably ythe laziest defenders of their own freedom of any nation on earth!

  11. whatismore

    I love you, Victoria.

  12. Lizzie

    Wonderful words philgorman2014.

    I’d like to know, where are the people? I grew up in the UK during the 70’s/80’s, under the destruction of Margaret Thatcher. This is scarily familiar to me but what’s missing are the protests, the people power & standing up for democracy. Thatcher hung herself with her greed & the introduction of the poll tax. Are Australians really that ignorant of what’s actually happening here or do they just not care? Unlike me, maybe they don’t see the danger?

  13. paul walter

    All part of the Greater National Cognitive Lobotomisation project.

    Just watching Lateline where the Archbishop of Sydney explains the Pope’s new Encyclical recognising Global Warming, as Gerard Henderson sits by impotently, teeth chattering with the rage only propertied gentlefolk from the North Shore can conjure when their perogatives may be questioned.

    The Great Dumbing Down is running short of time and the tricks become more crass and obvious in their hasty and ill conceived execution, as the medieval imperatives of Cameron, Merkel, Tony Abbott and the barbarians, the crass grab for power and lucre, are exposed by thinkers and scientists for a public slowly awakening from a long slumber.

    They are one trick ponies as to national (in)security/ night terrors and people start to intensely dislike the scapegoating of minorities and the foreign butchery, all for the propagation of a basely motivated lie.

  14. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I have read and concur with all these comments and thank you for the article, Victoria.
    It seems people fall into one of three groups – us, those who support Abbott and the apathetic.
    How do we get the apathetic to realise that life could be much better if they got motivated to support some independent candidates like Tony Windsor and his ilk who care about people and want to improve things for those who are disabled, disadvantaged and down and out as well as all the rest of us?
    I am not religious but I think Australia would be a much better place if those who are were to start practicing what they preach.
    Neither the LNP nor the ALP is at all inspiring at present and a hung parliament could actually be better than having either of the major parties in power we need GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.
    And we need a tax system which takes from each according to her/his ability and gives to each according to his/her need.
    Let our anthem concentrate on the second verse:

    Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
    We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
    To make this Commonwealth of ours
    Renowned of all the lands;
    For those who’ve come across the seas
    We’ve boundless plains to share;
    With courage let us all shout out
    Advance Australia Fair.
    In joyful strains then let us sing,
    Advance Australia Fair.

    And above all respect the rule of law and the separation of powers!

  15. mars08

    About 10 years ago the BBC released a three part documentary “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear” I strongly advise everyone commenting on this thread to watch it. The series is available for viewing online.

    Here is a quote from the opening minutes of the doco….

    “Narrator: In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed and today people have lost faith in ideologies.

    Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism, a powerful and sinister network with sleeper cells in countries across the world, a threat that needs to be fought by a War on Terror.

    But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians.

    It’s a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media…”

    Sounds about right to me…

  16. eli nes

    the media are suckers for ratings, journalists are paid to ‘prove’ the editor’s headlines.
    One party knows the drill, one party is learning and the third relies on the opinions of caring people like Victoria spreading through osmosis.
    The wedge is perfect because:
    Any fool knows the courts and judges are too soft.
    A considerable majority believe Australia should reintroduce the death penalty. Many of my friends and those friends of my children support such killing.
    Victoria what is scary to you is terrifyingly real in my circle.
    Nothing abbutt has said or done has put his re-election in jeopardy.
    Nothing labor has said or done has put abbutt’s re-election in doubt.
    All you people’s negativity about abbutt et al could put questions into the mouths of the media but for osmosis to work shorten has to reach the membrane and air them with the ratings seekers. Starting with abbutt’s most damaging lie about debt and economic management.
    Abrogation of his party’s opposition will benefit the greens who currently have one hand on labor’s undies. The new man has a religious admiration of abbutt and will willingly let the greens be used by abbutt if it gets his two hands on and pull them over shorten head, in the hope of taking the labor’s place in politics.

  17. Rosemary Smith

    It is a great concern that this Government is presenting itself as a ‘dictatorial’ rather than a democratic Government.
    A greater concern is the number of Australian citizens who a being brain-washed by the ‘Terror’ propaganda.
    The greatest threat to Australian freedom is this Government.

  18. Harkobus

    Great piece and one that I will be linking to in my next bulk mail out.

    “Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”. -– Adolph Hitler

    The only thing missing from Tony Abbott is a uniform and a small mustache.

    “well-educated electorate of Australian voters”
    Not where I live. The dumbing down of our nation was no accident.

    “Education is dangerous – every educated person is a future enemy.” — Hermann Goering

    A few more.

    “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.” — Joseph Goebbels

    “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” — Adolf Hitler

    “Propaganda must therefore always be essential and repetitious. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” — Joseph Goebbels.

    “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over… to kind of catapult the propaganda.” — George Bush.

    “History is littered with the regimes of despots and powerful elites that have willingly sacrificed the lives and well being of ordinary people in order to pursue their ideological beliefs and protect their personal interests.” — Graeme Henchel

    “Until you know who has lent what to whom, you know nothing whatever of politics, you know nothing whatever of history, you know nothing of international wrangles.” — Ezra Pound

    “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.” — P.J. O’Rourke

    So how do they do it? How do they convince us to give up liberty, eat their crappy food and sit mesmerized in front of their crappy TV programs.
    I’ve posted this link before

    Propaganda and Manipulation: How mass media engineers and distorts our perceptions

    (See: I can post a comment without mentioning climate change and civil collapse.)

  19. Rob031

    Stephen Tardrew said “the way the economy is going wedging with terrorism is not going to work”
    I do hope you are correct here but I’m somewhat pessimistic about this happening.

    As I see it Shorten, and possibly Labor in general, are at sixes and sevens as how to effectively counter this utterly unprincipled, self-serving, dunny rat-cunning, street-fighting thug in a suit named Tony Abbott.

    The fear of having your head chopped off will trump pretty well any economic fear that most people will experience. And as we all know, Abbott will do all he can to facilitate and keep such fears uppermost in our minds. (The one thing that I appreciate Christopher Pyne for is his popularisation of the word ‘grub’.) Abbott is an unconscionable grub. J. P. Donlevy would be impressed.

    I don’t hold my breath waiting for the majority of swinging-voters to turn on Abbott over such issues as the “presumption of innocence”, the “separation of powers” or the problem with paying refugee traffickers to go back and so on – a mere legalistic nit-picking nicety for many.

    (Time reading comment threads on the OZ (the Dark Side) has disabused me of most of my ideals about what the average intelligence is capable of comprehending.)

    I guess there are a few faint signs of optimism on the political horizon. Let’s hope that one or more of them will eventuate big time; and perhaps there will need to be a widespread feeling to arise that the Coalition is actually dangerously incompetent and is a real danger to the prospects of our children, of our retirement and our aspirations to be able to have a house we can call ‘home’ &c. A really ‘bad vibe’ will be needed in order to oust these bastards. Trouble is, if this vibe is seen to be intensifying, Abbott will simply ramp up the dog-whistling; appear before lots and lots of flags and spooks and plods and medals and braid; he’ll will tell everyone that Labor is coming for their super, their nest egg, and wants to lay out the red carpet to terrorists and dreadful boat people etc. We all know the drill by now.

    I enjoyed his Freudian slip in QT today when he said “turnback Turnbull” instead of “turnback boats”. Another possible sign of optimism is that there are real “family problems” brewing within “Team Abbott” that may suddenly erupt, particularly over the citizenship legislation where Turnbull is not now invited to participate. And there’s also that heavy-duty legal eagle who is really narked about his opinions being misrepresented by Abbott on this matter by way of Abbott’s willful ignorance.

    Hopefully, Abbott’s inherent stupidity will bring him down sooner than later. And hopefully the swinging voters will tire of his overuse of his formularistic fear-mongering tactics. Even the fear centres of the brain will habituate to such repetition after a while. Perhaps he’ll totally lose it and declare war on Greenland, or wish to confer a Knighthood on Julia Gillard – that’d do it! One can dream.

  20. Lawrence Roberts

    Tory spindoctors beat Labor back room boys any day. Be afraid, be very afraid!

  21. townsvilleblog

    This is a very unusual situation, we have a rotten to the core tory government led bu a rotten to the core leader being pitted against the weakest ALP leader in my living memory who only achieved his position via gerrymander. The ALP members don’t want to face the truth and oust him, and he is dragging the party down with his past dirty deals against his own union members, what a louse.

  22. mars08

    In a 2004 video message, Osama bin Laden explained how easy it was to accelerate America down the road to self-destruction.

    “All we have to do is send two mujaheddin . . . to raise a small piece of cloth on which is written ‘al-Qaeda’ in order to make the generals race there, to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses.”

    America (and it’s loyal allies) took the bait… because there were politicians in those countries that really, really, really WANTED to!!!

  23. Lee

    What really is scary is that the majority of the Australian electorate is comprised of stupid fµcks. They deserve everything bad that is coming their way, none of which are ISIS.

  24. mars08

    What really is scary is that the majority of the Australian electorate is comprised of stupid…

    For me, what’s frustrating is that they are NOT stupid. Self-absorbed, lazy, timid, incurious, racist, and narrow-minded… but not stupid.

  25. Lee

    mars08, would you accept foolish? I consider self-absorbed, lazy, incurious, racist and narrow-minded people to be foolish.

  26. mars08

    Foolish? Sure!

  27. Brad

    It’s hard to believe that this sort of political insanity is happening in my country and wouldn’t be happening without the assistance of murdoch and his loons. But take heart, tony’s extreme agenda makes him error prone and that will be his demise. By increments he’s on his way to the back bench and political oblivion.

  28. mars08

    @Lee…. did I mention distracted? Oh… so easily distracted?

  29. Max Gross (@Max_Gross)

    Abbott and his “team” of bigots, rorters and crackpots are demonstrably working against the best interest of Australians and Australia. Surely this is the definition of treason?

  30. Lee

    “@Lee…. did I mention distracted? Oh… so easily distracted?”

    Yeah. That’s why the commercial tv stations feature so many mind-numbing BS reality shows overrun with bogans.

  31. corvus boreus

    Commercial TV,
    Creative fiction, pablum and propaganda, interspersed with (+)35% loud and aggressive sales pitch.
    I do not partake.

  32. darrel nay

    No commercial TV corvus boreus – ASIO will have you on the extremist watchlist for sure.

  33. Roswell

    I am pleased to announce that Victoria became a mother last night. Congratulations, Victoria.

    Don’t ask me if she had a boy or a girl. Still waiting on that news.

  34. philgorman2014

    Warmest congratulations, thanks, and best wishes Victoria

  35. Michael Taylor

    Great news! I hope it’s another Port Adelaide supporter. 🙂

  36. Lee

    Congratulations to Victoria and family. A little Greens voter in the making?

  37. Harkobus

    I didn’t bring the subject up and the comment contained no abuse. We have borrowed the future from our children with no way of paying it back.

  38. The AIM Network

    That was a great piece, Jenni.

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