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Retrospectivity or Why “Heads Should Roll” at the ABC

As I flicked through the Murdoch Muckraker this morning, I spied a headline where I had difficulty deciding whether the sub-editor had a sense of irony, or no understanding of ambiguity:


Was this a change of heart from Andrew Bolt telling us that we should put a stop to this attack on the ABC’s independence? No, apparently it’s Q & A, that’s the lynch mob, not the media or the government. As the Prime Minister so eloquently put it:

“Now frankly, heads should roll over this, heads should roll over this.”

Which given that we’re talking about IS, I found a rather unfortunate choice of phrase. Beheadings are uncivilised, but heads rolling is apparently ok.

Mr Abbott wants an inquiry. And not an ABC inquiry because he’s afraid that they won’t find themselves guilty. He wants an inquiry that decides that heads need to roll. Which makes one wonder if there’s any actual need for an inquiry at all. Why not just ask Andrew Bolt:

‘No wonder that Abbott on Tuesday told his MPs: “We all know that Q&A is a Leftie lynch mob and we will be looking at this.”

But where’s the action?

Will the Government sack the board for the ABC’s failure to observe what it admits is its “statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial”?

And will it cut the vast ABC, with its five radio stations and four television stations, to a size less dangerous to democracy?’

See the ABC, by allowing someone into the audience has shown that it’s not impartial. What was it that Tony said:

“I think many, many millions of Australians would feel betrayed by our national broadcaster right now, and I think that the ABC does have to have a long, hard look at itself, and to answer a question which I have posed before – whose side are you on? Whose side are you on here?”

So we have a national broadcaster that is meant to be impartial, and not take sides. Except, of course, they should be on the government’s side. In a totally impartial way.

Now, many of you may not have watched Q & A, so they wouldn’t heard the response to Mr Mallah’s question, “What would have happened if my case had been decided by the minister himself and not the courts?”

“From memory, I thought you were acquitted on a technicality rather than it being on the basis of a substantial finding of fact,” Mr Ciobo replied.

“My understanding of your case was that you were acquitted because at that point in time the laws weren’t retrospective.

“But I’m happy to look you straight in the eye and say that I’d be pleased to be part of the Government that would say that you were out of the country.

Let’s sum up:

  • Abbott and Dutton were suggesting a few weeks ago that the Minister should have the sole power to cancel the citizenship of a dual national, with Abbott arguing that if it were left to the courts, the person might be found not guilty.
  • As Steve Ciobo pointed out, this person was only found not guilty on a technicality. That is, at the time of the offence, the offence wasn’t an offence, so he was really guilty and it was the court’s insistence that it apply the law rather than arbitrarily decide that “We shall decide who stays in this country and we should be allowed to pass laws retrospectively so that we can claim that the only reason that you haven’t been convicted of anything is that there isn’t a law against it yet, but by tomorrow, you’ll be charged with possessing an annoying attitude and we’ll introduce a mandatory sentence for you whether you’re found guilty or not!’
  • Abbott wants his own inquiry into the ABC because allowing the ABC to run their own inquiry might result in them not finding themselves guilty of treason, whereas every inquiry Mr Abbott has set up has resulted in findings completely in agreement with his own views.
  • The ABC is meant to demonstrate their “impartiality” by not allowing certain undesirable people to ask questions on Q & A. Tony Abbott is concerned that Q & A have provided a platform for people like Mallah and Malcolm Turnbull.

So, after being told that Stevy Ciobo would happily throw him out of the country, did Mr Mallah becoming violent? Threaten him? Urge us all to boycott “Masterchef”, or something else unpatriotic?


He said:

“The Liberals have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIL because of ministers like him.”


Well, if heads must roll, then heads must roll.


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  1. Sophie Pointer

    I wonder when the tipping point will come or if it ever will? The point where the libs say something so totally outrageous that they can’t come back from it. They have so lowered the bar of expectations around decency and moderation and the MSM has allowed it to happen to such a degree that I actually think Abbott can now get away with saying and doing anything. The compliant MSM and the labor lap dogs will say nothing and we will have reached peak fascism.

  2. David

    As I said on Twitter, the very real sad aspect of Ciobo’s existence..he breeds, leaving his disgusting genes with his innocent children

  3. Clive Manson

    I Had been reading “the Australian” from its first edition, as then it was usually a good topical read. I cancelled about two years ago, for all the obvious reasons.

    During that period, and even later, they had some excellent journos, who have now what I call “Judas” journos!

    One such journo, recently wrote a book titled “the worst PM Australia ever had”. Gillard of course, but I am looking forward to the update when Abbott goes.

    Take my suggestion when it comes to reading Murdoch rags. Don’t bother! You will not be any the wiser.

  4. bobrafto

    I am confused, the pollies and the media are portraying Mallah as a terrorist,

    Can someone find out the real story of Mallah leading up to his arrest, so I and we can form our own opinions.

    I don’t buy this loop hole in the constitution. Abbott is creating legislation to get around the constitution and that should be unconstitutional.

  5. Dagney J. TaggartDagney J Taggart

    Which was a pretty dumb thing for Mallah to say. However, not one person in the audience clapped. Not one. Ciobo’s response was, I thought, quite good (much better than a lot of his earlier drivel), and it sounded like most if not all of the audience applauded.

    Was it wise to have Mallah on the show? I don’t think so, given some of his recent tweets. But the reaction from the right is completely over the top and absolutely confected.

    I am half expecting the introduction of a pledge of allegiance next….

  6. Geoff Andrews

    I understand that someone in the ABC has apologised for broadcasting this dangerous example of freedom of speech. I see in my mind’s eye a tumbrel outside Mr Scott’s office as he has to take responsibility for this shameful, obsequious apology whether he wrote it or not.

  7. bobrafto

    If that emblem on Mallah’s hat is wot I think it is, surely that emblem would represent a pacifist.

  8. king1394

    I found Steven Ciobo’s over-reaction and totally unreasonable response to be the problem. How can he be allowed to criticise a court decision that found someone not guilty and insist that this Australian be silenced and also stripped of his citizenship. That a law was not broken is hardly a technicality. The Minister stirred up emotions and then became offended by the reaction. But no doubt it is great for Abbott’s government and the Murdoch press to have a reason to condemn the ABC.

  9. corbs2014

    This government’s modus operandi is attack. Anything that criticizes it, disagrees with it, or stands in its way is brutally and vindictively attacked with the full support of the MSM: Gillian Triggs, The Human Rights Commission, The ABC, The UN, The Leaners, the Alternative Energy Industry, Julia Gillard, Bill Shorten. The list goes on forever. They never use considered debate and if they can get rid of platforms like Q&A, they will never have to. God help us if they ever get control in both houses.

  10. babyjewels10

    Tony Abbott, you don’t own the ABC. It belongs to us. We quite like a bit of free speech so if you touch our ABC, YOUR head should roll.

  11. kerri

    So right!!
    Sorry had a couple of white wines and keep missing the keys.

  12. Dagney J. Taggart

    kerri, when Mallah first spoke he got some applause, but it was when he made the ISIS comment at the 57 minute mark (on ABC IView) that he got zip. That’s what I was referring to.

  13. Lizzie

    Excuse my ignorance as I’ve only lived in Australia for the last 10 years but what nationality is Mr Ciobo because it doesn’t sound Aboriginal to me?

  14. kerri

    I stand corrected Dagney J Taggart. I had looked it up on youtube where it appears to have been edited.

  15. Conrad

    Ciobo was a hothead and couldn’t comprehend the nuanced argument Mallah was making. I hated it when Tony Jones ruled Mallah’s final comment “out of order” (whatever that means) – by that stage it had become one hothead having a go at another. I was glad to see Mallah ask his question because it showed the unjust path the vicious LNP wanted to go. A step towards totalitarianism.

  16. Annie B

    Noticed on the 5 pm ‘early’ edition of Channel 9 news ( just happened to catch it – rarely, if ever, watch it ) … that the prime m—- made comments using the words ” this convicted criminal ” when referring to Mallah. …. In the 6 pm edition of that newscast, it had been edited out …. most likely because it was slanderous. … Mallah was acquitted of the charges way back when, and whether on a technicality or not – it was the legal order of the day and cannot be challenged. … He did time on his plea of guilty to ” threatening to do away with a commonwealth official”.

    the abbott has been after the ABC ever since he came into office … this was his big chance, and he blew it – – – again. !! .. Well thank heaven for that. … Perhaps he should have a go at other current affairs programmes who have pushed the envelope too far. … there would have to be hundreds of them. !

    the ABC has been dumped on, even here on the AIM N – as having become biased towards the right, and while it has given a few bouquets here and there to the abbott lot, mostly the ABC are left wing or left of centre, in most of their interviewing, commentaries and articles.

    This – like so many other over-stated, misinterpreted, mis-guided, manipulative and malfeasance filled comments by abbutt and his co-horts, will be yesterdays’ news by the weekend. … but the pile grows ever higher, and won’t be forgotten by many people. …. hopefully very soon, his own foot will choke him.

    He is digging his own grave – chewing it out with his own mouth – which is kind of odd to observe.

  17. Terry2

    Abbott is looking for a fight with our public broadcaster as this fits with the IPA/Murdoch agenda to which he is committed.

    If you and I reelect this government we will be consigning the ABC and many other democratic institutions to disintegration and defunding.

    Australia is at a crossroads, folks.

  18. rossleighbrisbane

    I noticed in one ABC radio news bulletin that they said that Mallah was a person who had “been making threats” to kill ASIO officers, which makes it sound more recent and therefore less appropriate to have him on. It’s almost as though the ABC joining the witch hunt and indulging in self-flagellation!

  19. Pappinbarra Fox

    Yes the abc is unbalanced. It allowed 2 right wing extremists to have a go at each other. A devillishly cunning lefty plot.

  20. Harquebus

    Images of a guillotine come to mind and no second guesses as to whose head I see rolling.

  21. Zathras

    This is just about distraction and confected outrage.

    Just like the report of the treatment of children in detention was magically transformed into a debate about Triggs, the potential flaw in the citizenship legislation is now about the questioner and the ABC generally.

    Meanwhile both original matters have been avoided and all but forgotten.

    I wonder if it would have been different if a little old lady had asked the question as a hypothetical.

    The public are having their collection chain yanked by this typical strategy an it’s playing very well in the mainstream media and the world of shock-jocks.

    Dance, monkeys, dance.

  22. guest

    It was interesting to see Turnbull on 7:30 saying several times that the ABC had committed a ‘serious error of judgement’ without saying exactly what that error was.

    As well, he refused to endorse or comment on Abbott’s statements.

    What is going on here?

  23. mars08



  24. Kaye Lee


    he purchased a rifle and ammunition, prepared his will and threatened to storm an ASIO office and capture and kill hostages.

    He made a video explaining how he would do it, a recording he imagined would be played after he had died and become a “martyr”.

    “This is Zak Mallah, Australian-born, Australian-bred,” he began in the recording.

    “My target is ASIO because I strongly believe that they have mistreated many Australian citizens … I therefore declare my own personal and individual jihad against these oppressors.

    “I choose to make them taste the consequences of their oppression in hope that they change their approach in dealing with Australian citizens in future, and for that cause, I choose to die.”

    The recording was played to the Central Local Court in Sydney after an undercover officer posed as a journalist called ‘Greg’ and tricked him into negotiating the sale of the tape, as well as other items related to an alleged planned siege.

    Mr Mallah became the first Australian charged under Howard-era anti-terror laws and spent two years in Goulburn’s supermax prison awaiting trial.

    He was eventually acquitted after the defence argued no real terror plot existed and Mr Mallah had just been talking rubbish to ‘Greg.’

    He did admit to making the threats in response to being denied an Australian passport.

    In an opinion piece written for The Guardian, Mallah says Mr Ciobo’s comments on the program played into the hands of the Islamic State by creating more of a gap between isolated young Muslims and the government.

    He also refuted suggestions by Mr Ciobo that he was acquitted of the terrorist charges in 2005 because of a technicality claiming a jury found him not guilty because they heard he had been “set up” by police.

    “The so-called Islamic State would be extremely happy to hear what Steve Ciobo had to say on Q&A. It feeds into their recruitment propaganda,” he wrote. “Some young Australian Muslims – who were already feeling vilified – now feel they are being openly targeted by this government. “They are saying they would love to leave and join jihadist groups.

    “They ask themselves, “Why should we Muslims live here, and be subject to this bullying, when in Iraq and Syria, Isis tell us we are welcome?” The harder the Abbott government pushes its counterterrorism agenda, the more radicalised some young people feel.”

  25. Kaye Lee


    Speaking of which, whatever happened to this Senate inquiry from last year?

    “A Senate inquiry will examine a veteran federal police officer’s explosive claim that he was offered a promotion in return for shutting down the AFP investigation into the Australian Wheat Board oil-for-food scandal.

    Mr Fusca, a 30-year veteran of the federal police, led the AFP taskforce into the wheat board’s $300 million payments to the regime of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in breach of United Nations sanctions.

    In addition to alleging that a senior federal police officer had told him that if he could “make the oil-for-food taskforce go away, he would be appointed as next co-ordinator”, Mr Fusca said in a 2012 federal court statement that his taskforce was not given enough resources and had shut down prematurely.

    He also made the sensational claim that the police taskforce, which ran between late 2006 and August 2009, had cultivated a high-level informant who indicated that “senior government officials” had been aware of the wheat board’s payment of kickbacks.

    In 2006, prime minister John Howard, foreign minister Alexander Downer and trade minister Mark Vaile appeared before the Cole royal commission into wheat board payments to the Iraqi regime.

    The federal police shut down its wheat board taskforce in August 2009, handing responsibility for the investigation to corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

    In a media statement at the time, the federal police said its decision was partly based on legal advice of senior barrister Peter Hastings, QC, who warned that criminal prosecution of former wheat board managers was unlikely to succeed and not in the public interest.

    Will these people be retrospectively charged with aiding and abetting a regime that Australia was fighting against?

  26. josephinewadlow

    Abbott and hissy Chrissy Pyne may regret what they wish for – suggesting that the ABC Board should resign – most of those sitting on the board are either Murdoch journalists and or Abbott appointees – why didn’t they murmur that the programme was unfit for viewing?

    What we should be concerning ourselves over is the fact that in Abbott’s lust for photo opportunities he has more likely than not cost taxpayers a heap of payouts in ‘compensation’ – and ASIO also has a part to play in this – you do NOT under any circumstances show maps where ordinary people live and work suggesting that they are harbouring ‘terrorists’ or are seen as ‘hotspots’ – no right thinking security department ever, ever does that – and no those maps would never have been passed ‘fit for public consumption’…

    Abbott and ASIO should remember the saying:

    Aesop’s Moral:

    A man is known by the company he keeps or “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.”

    Abbott and ASIO are suggesting that anyone living or working within the designated areas is on their ‘suspect list’…. this is extremely dangerous and can lead to major problems down the track –

  27. Sally K

    I think it is possible that the Q&A selection of Mallah to be on the show and put a question may have been a set-up to facilitate some ABC bashing.
    As the board has been stacked with right wing political appointments since the Howard era the command chain for the supposed mistake could be in place. Public support for the ABC has to be destroyed before the IPA wishlist objective of breaking it up and putting it out to tender can be politically feasible.

  28. John

    “Will the Government sack the board for the ABC’s failure to observe what it admits is its “statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial”?”

    An audience is not required to abide by this statutory duty, impartiality would imply the ABC has a duty to allow diverse opinions to be expressed.

  29. kerri

    Mallah makes a very valid point about ISIS welcoming young disaffected Muslims.
    As a secondary teacher you learn in Ed Psych that if a young person is constantly punished for actions they did not do, they very quickly learn there is no point in trying to prove they are good and they may as well be bad because a) it’s more fun and b) they are going to get punished whether they are good or bad so they might as well do the things they are going to be punished for.
    Also tell a young person, often enough, that they are bad and pretty soon they begin to believe it!
    At the moment this Government is pretty much following that practice to the letter.
    Plus did anyone else notice the crimson hue Tony Jones face took on after the exchange and that look of “shit I’ve just lost my program and probably my job”?

  30. Whatismore

    This government will keep pushing until they provoke an attack. It will be their Tampa moment and then they will call an election. These are dangerous times for democracy.

  31. Kaye Lee

    Further on the Senate inquiry into the AWB, there are two ongoing actions that are currently listed in the Supreme Court of Victoria, against Mr Trevor Flugge, the former Chair of AWB Ltd, and Mr Peter Geary, the former General Manager for Trading in AWB Ltd. The two matters are listed for trial on 5 October 2015.

    I would be very interested to hear a legal opinion on whether these people would also be liable under new laws to be retrospectively charged. The investigation was delayed so long that the statue of limitations meant many contracts could no longer be investigated. Will those potential prosecutions be reopened?

    For those who have time to spare, the senate committee report makes for fascinating reading. I have just read chapters 2-6. The questions raised by this report are endless. (the following link starts at chapter 2 – successive chapters are accessed by clicking on next page at the bottom of each page)

    I would have thought that giving $300 million to the Iraqi government in breach of UN sanctions would be a far greater offence than one person joining IS to become cannon fodder.

    From chapter 6

    “In October 2012, the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery published a report that pointed out that of 28 foreign bribery cases that had been referred to the AFP, only the Securency/Note Printing Australia case had led to prosecutions and 21 cases had been closed down without any charges being laid.

    As with the Taskforce, the Chair accepts that ASIC faced a number of challenges in its attempt to pursue AWB Ltd and its officers, including:
    •the institutions that ASIC needs for support often consider white-collar crime to be a lesser offence;
    •the maximum penalties are not high enough and the punishments are not strong enough to act as effective deterrents; and
    •the high costs of investigating and prosecuting large corporate entities for potential contraventions make it harder for ASIC to justify pursuing these entities, given the parallel imperative to raise funds for the government”

  32. David

    @kerri…excellent post kerri and the points you make re young people are being born out, if a conversation I heard in the Supermarket coffee shop are any indication. Thing about 16/17 yr olds, when the conversation is a joint effort voices are raised, each wanting to make a point above the others, there was no doubt the topic was Abbott and ISIS….one lads words remain…’does that f’n assole Abbott think he can tell us what to do..high 5’s all round amidst no ways and get out here etc..

    So perhaps the physco PM is not deterring…perhaps that’s his intention, he wants to make an example of a few young people….to add to his terrorist threat rhetoric…’I warned the country and the warning was ignored..let me repeat blah blah blah’. All building the platform for a fear filled election campaign.

    The road he is leading us down can have only one destination. catastrophe aided and abetted by an Opposition more concerned about political advantage and votes rather than seeing the big picture and its consequences.

  33. O'Bleak

    Is it possible to doubt that this constant poking and probing of the Muslim community is deliberately intended to provoke reaction from the less patient among them. All I see is the Abbott government at every turn pushing the line that Muslims are the enemy to be feared, to be constantly upbraided for being insufficiently loyal to the Australian way of life. His recent visit to ASIO gave him the opportunity to point out exactly where in the Muslim community the bad guys could be located, the enemy amongst us. Now we have this confected outrage because one of their less bright members is given an opportunity to voice his opinion in a public forum. Steve Ciobo stated he’d like to send him back where he came from or some such remark. As is well known Ciobo himself is not brightest bangle in the coalition jewel box, having expressed a desire to cut a former Prime Ministers throat. Perhaps he needs to reflect on the fact that Mallah comes from Australia. He belongs here just as much as Ciobo himself. He is a product of this country. For better or worse, Australia made this bloke and helped shape his attitudes. To my mind Abbott and his half-wit cronies are all about creating lots more Zaky Mallahs. And if one of them should do more than just make threats. Should just one more aggressive or radical or disturbed individual take that extra step and carry a bomb onto a bus or a train or into a crowded public space having been pushed into a place where he feels in his frustration that martyrdom for his beliefs is better than existence under the thumb of this abusive government. Whose agenda would such an act serve? Certainly not the Muslim community’s or the public at large. No, I see only one beneficiary of such an act and he sits in parliament and bleats on about protecting us from terrorists. Afraid I’m struck with the sense that our sterling leader would find such an act very convenient indeed.

  34. Zathras

    When it comes to intemperate remarks wasn’t it Mr Ciabo who compared Gillard to an alcoholic and later used the expression “slit her throat” when it came to her leadership (on the ABC in fact)?

  35. JeffJL

    @Rossleigh. In your second point of summing up you say that Mr Mallah was found not guilty on a technicality. Come on now. He was found not guilty by a jury. i.e. the prosecution presented their case to a jury in a court of law and the jury made the decision that the prosecution had not made their case to a sufficient level of proof (somewhere between reasonable doubt and nil). To me a technicality has the judge dismissing the case, not that it went to a jury. Please do not keep false memes alive.


    This is the transcript of the court decision. It includes background and evidence presented. An interesting read.

  36. JeffJL

    @Zathras. The expression “slit her throat” was not Mr Ciabo’s suggestion that he slit Ms Gillard’s throat but that “Nick (Champion, Labor MP) would be one of the first one there”. This was in relation to the leadership issues with the ALP and not in anyway a threat by Mr Ciabo. Still the comment was out of line but the context needs to be in place.

  37. Kaye Lee

    As does Mr Mallah’s. Technically neither man was advocating violence. One is a politician and the other is a young man who has just been provoked by said politician who was expressing the frustration felt by many young Muslim men who are feeling victimised in their own country. The overkill is creating the problem. Can you remember the resentment when an inadequate teacher put the whole class on detention rather than punishing the troublemakers?

  38. JeffJL

    @Kay. Agreed. (If that was directed at me).

  39. marg1

    I have never seen a more vindictive, ruthless individual abuse the power of his office as I have seen with Tony Abbott. His conduct is unbecoming and unfitting for the office of Prime Minister. From the time he was Opposition Leader and on becoming PM he has done nothing but tear down and revile those who would dare to oppose him and in doing so has set Australians against Australians. He has no vision for Australia other than to keep himself and his minions in power to further the cause of those who gain by him being in power – big corporations and the ultra wealthy. What he has done in his short time in office has created fear and loathing amongst us and he revels in it. He does not seek to unite and advance this country, he only wishes to divide and conquer. He has no plans for a cohesive and just society – that is not his goal. He is unworthy of the office of Prime Minister. I am so saddened to see our wonderful country become a selfish, ignorant place under this abusive, corrosive bully. We are better than this man and his minions – Australia please don’t let him poison our minds with his ignorant, narrow world view and try to see through the lies, the misinformation and the distractions that are hurled at us relentlessly day after day.

  40. bobrafto

    Thanks Kaye.

    I read somewhere that News paid him $500 for a story. (How impressionable would that be on 19yr old?)

    I also read somewhere that he was going to be a suicide bomber.

    And I also, also read somewhere that he has weekly coffees with ASIO.

    Another report was that he was an ASIO operative.

    Now add your research to the mix and I’m still no wiser but it appears to me as a ‘guess’ that Mallah was stitched up by News and ASIO.

  41. Kaye Lee

    I realise it is a very bad thing to threaten to kill people but he didn’t actually physically threaten anybody. Also I note that he wasn’t threatening Australian citizens but, in his mind, protecting them from the excesses of ASIO. If this was a terrorist threat then every person who has ever threatened to kill any official would be a terrorist including the guy who shot and killed the environment officer. My cousin who works in fisheries has had his life threatened by Aussie fishermen. Are they terrorists too?

  42. mars08

    @Kaye Lee…. yes, i suppose they are!

    Oh wait. When you say “Australia”, you mean properly Australian… like anglo and Christian, right?

  43. bobrafto

    Thank you I’m a lot more wiser now.
    from the summary

    31 The evidence which the Prisoner gave during the trial was, in many respects, self contradictory, illogical, bizarre and downright foolish. His credibility remains very much in issue, particularly in so far as he gave the impression, at times, of saying virtually anything that came to his mind, and demonstrated himself capable of deception and manipulation of others.

    32 Paradoxically, however, I am of the view that herein lies the answer to the question whether his threats were genuine or simply the product of a fertile imagination which had been allowed, or perhaps more accurately encouraged, by the media attention which he received, to run wild.

    33 It does seem to me to have been regrettable that some sections of the media took up the Prisoner as a person of interest, and gave him an entirely underserved and unnecessary exposure, particularly if it be the fact, as he has claimed, that he was paid for his cooperation.

    34 Had real fears been entertained as to his potential dangerousness, then the preferable course surely would have been to pass any relevant information concerning him, to the appropriate policing and security agencies. Had he been dismissed as an attention seeker, of no moment, then there surely would have been no occasion to give him the extensive public exposure which he obviously enjoyed and indeed craved.

    35 It is not to be overlooked that had the Prisoner’s plan in this case been genuine, the journalists dealing with him, and indeed any police officer doing so without a controlled operations certificate, risked committing offences themselves, under the widely crafted terrorism laws, for example, under s 101.4 or 101.5 of the Criminal Code if they obtained possession of, or collected, documents connected with the preparation for a terrorist act by him; or under s 103.1 if they paid monies to him and were reckless as to whether they might be used by him to facilitate or engage in such an act.

    36 Leaving this case aside, to continue discussions with a suspect in the position of the Prisoner, or to give him publicity, risks trampling all over any covert operation that may have been mounted under strict controls by professional policing and intelligence agencies, thereby potentially frustrating the collection of valuable intelligence that may have prevented a genuine terrorist event. Any investigation of such a person is far better left to professional agencies with the necessary training and access to intelligence, and should, in my view, be absolutely avoided by the media.

    37 Furthermore, placing a person such as the Prisoner into the public spotlight is not only likely to encourage him to embark on even more outrageous and extravagant behaviour but, perhaps more importantly, it risks unnecessarily heightening the existing public concerns about terrorist activity as well as encouraging or fanning divisive and discriminatory views among some members of the community.

    38 I have reached the conclusion in this case that the Prisoner was an idiosyncratic, and embittered young man, who was to all intents something of a loner, without significant prospects of advancing himself. I am not in a position to determine whether he was deservedly deprived of a passport, but I am satisfied that he personally felt that he had been the subject of an injustice.

    There you go, another megalomaniac with media craving.

  44. bobrafto

    What was ASIO thinking of giving Mallah $3K if he was going to be shot in his plot?

    Seems like a waste of money to me.

  45. Win jeavons

    Apparently a guest on Q&A was rude and a bit silly. Big deal! perhaps he should become a member of our current parliament, where many grown men are regularly rude and silly , not excluding our pretence of a prime minister.. Is it rather that only right wing bigots are allowed free speech ? I have always found Q&A overly confrontational and favoring the right , not the left, so watch it as much as parliament , i.e. never!

  46. Annie B

    @Terry 2 – re : “Abbott is looking for a fight with our public broadcaster ”

    Abbott looks for fights with anybody, everybody and anything – it’s the way he lives and comes from
    “where he lives” ( not geographically ). …. a pugilist at heart – always was, always will be. … Note his body language and facial expressions carefully. … They give him away ( they give us all away actually ).


    @ O’Bleak ……. a lot of very good points in your post – agree with all that you said.

    @ Kaye – … Mark Scott’s response was well written and well delivered. And he is right.

  47. Florence nee Fedup

    That young man was 19 when let out prison after serving 2 years. One would assume, since the day he walked out of the prison gates, he has been under close scrutiny of ASIO. He even made a trip I think, to Syria, Was back in days. According to him, that opened his eyes to how stupid he had been.

    If he put one foot out of line, he would be quickly back before the courts.

  48. mars08

    @Florence nee Fedup… that’s a very important point. If, as the govt is screeching, Mallah used the ABC to persuade Muslims to join ISIS… he should be arrested and charged. These days there’s bound to be a ton of laws against that sort of thing….

  49. AndrewL

    The LNP is seriously damaging Australia. We need to find a way to do something about it and fast…

  50. Phi

    What a graphic term is ‘heads must roll’. Very Abbott.

    It stands to reason (which is not something Abbott el al is good at) that a head can’t roll until it has been severed from it’s body – decapitated. Good grief, didn’t Abbott tell us that decapitations by ISIS (but not by Saudi Arabia where it’s apparently just fine) are an abomination, the actions of a death-cult?

    So this is the intellectual level of a Rhodes scholar? Whoever awarded Abbott has much to answer for – not worth a pinch of salt.

  51. Phi

    Just venting or have you got any suggestions on for call AndrewL?

  52. guest


    no, Zaky was not advocating that young Muslims should leave to fight for ISIS. On the contrary, Zaky is anti-ISIS. What he was saying is that young Muslims might have good reason to fight with ISIS given the way they are vilified and demonised by our government. Ciobo gave us an example of that demonisation by the way he spoke. Our PM, tied up in secrecy and operational matters, had no qualms in displayings maps of ASIO target areas where young radicals might be. Just in case we missed them, those areas were actually named. Whole post-codes were named as being under suspicion. Not a good look. So much for operational matters. What a farce!

  53. Kaye Lee

    I just spoke to an ABC employee who told me how they were in lockdown today….employees only admitted, searches on the way in, the number of threats they have received since the PM said “heads must roll”, the executive producer under real pressure. Will it take an attack on the ABC or one of its employees for the PM to understand the damage he is doing? He is putting people’s lives at risk.

  54. Annie B

    @ guest – …

    Similar to the old Victorian days, when Papa told daughter ‘you must never see that vile and lowly youth again – I FORBID it’ … which had daughter do exactly the opposite, if she was strong enough and of bloody enough mind-set to do it. … and so it is with what the rabbutt postulates against Muslims in general …

    Your comment : “What he was saying is that young Muslims might have good reason to fight with ISIS given the way they are vilified and demonised by our government.” … a similar reaction to oppression to, and repression of, peoples, of a person, of a race or creed. …. Anarchy results – partly or full on.

    But – I rather think the nature of the bod at our current political helm, relishes these potential skirmishes – he see’s himself as heaven alone knows what – some modern day Hitler type ? … or maybe the Ayatollah incarnate ? a revolutionary of mammoth proportions ‘to have great impact on the world’ ?

    Ridiculous ? … Maybe – but many a horror has been born of dogmatic adherence to mores that do not relate to any form of reality. We have seen it in history – many many times – – – looks like we are witnessing it again.

    We simply must get off our backsides, and do something pro-active about this horrid state of affairs.

  55. kerri

    Marg1 well said.
    Win Jeavons he was not rude or silly. He asked a legitimate question and because Jones saw an opportunity to get a good grab referred him to Ciobo. Who was then rude and silly.
    Kaye Lee spot on! And others who eluded to Abbotts deluded plans to stir up a war in the mistaken belief that voters will not recognise he has gone way too far!
    We need to be rid of him ASAP or at least continue to expose his fascist nonsense especially to our younger voters who’s bullshit filter is a bit more attuned than older generations.
    Abbott will go down in history as Australia’s worst, most corrupt, tin eared, blatantly stupid Prime Minister.
    I have said before if you voted for Abbott that’s bad, but we will forgive you. Just don’t do it again!!!!!!!!,!,!!

  56. David

    @ O’Bleak ……. a lot of very good points in your post – agree with all that you said.

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