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Tony Abbott will keep you safe, unless you’re a woman and as long as you vote for him

By Jennifer Wilson

The release of the Lowy Institute’s latest poll on the rising fears of Australians and our insecurities regarding the potential effects on us of terrorism, gave Prime Minister Tony Abbott what he likely considers a God-sent opportunity to reassure citizens that his government will do anything to “take care of our people and keep you safe.”

We heard similar paternalistic reassurances in the preceding days, this time on the matter of doing anything to keep our country safe from job lots of asylum seekers, including paying people smugglers good taxpayer money to steer their fragile craft in the direction of Indonesia. If you didn’t see a business opportunity in that offer, you’re a total failure as a people smuggler.

This keeping you safe business is one of Abbott’s core manipulations: while hyping up the threat of stranger danger, he rarely refers to the dangers that are literally in our own back yards. In February 2015 he promised that “with every fibre of his being” he would “keep us safe” from terrorist threats, but there was not one mention in his Press Club speech of the deaths of two women every week in Australia from the domestic terrorists who murder, abuse and sexually assault us. This omission is made even more remarkable because Abbott holds the portfolio of Minister for Women.

“I will with every fibre of my being keep you safe.” It’s a wedding vow. It’s the overwhelming emotion of the father when he first kisses the head of his newborn infant. It’s a language that has little relationship to reality and reason, and while appropriate as expression of feeling in a personal context, in the political it’s emotionally manipulative, duplicitous, and deliberately employed to soothe fears that cannot, in reality, be soothed.

It sounds so seductive, doesn’t it, to humans who yearn for certainty and safety in a world where neither can ever be on offer. Abbott is the wolf in the fairy tale grooming children with wild promises, dry-mouthed in anticipation of the ecstasy of devouring them, smacking his lips at the prospect of savouring their sweet flesh. Orally fixated, I want, I want, I want is Abbott’s true three-word mantra, and like any seductor, he projects his desire onto the objects of his lusts and convinces himself that they want it just as much as he does. I will keep you safe and that’s what you want me to do, he whispers, lick, smack, lick, smack, the eerie rhythms of his drily ravenous mouth the stuff of nightmares.

Just who Abbott means by “our people” is unclear, but I suspect it means only the brain-dead cohort who are satiated into a coma by hollow sloganic rhetoric. He won’t want to be keeping anyone safe who doesn’t give him a vote, you can count on that. This is how Abbott decides who to regard as fully human: do they vote for him?

All too often, the one who promises I will keep you safe turns out to be the one who presents the greatest threat. Paternalism is never honest. The paternalist inevitably has tickets on himself: it’s always about him and his superior ability that entitles him to know what’s best for you. So he invades your privacy and commands your metadata, he erodes your liberties bit by tiny bit, all the while whispering, I am keeping you safe, just like I said I would, and in the end, you are entirely his.

There’s only one way to understand this government: get out your original copy of Grimm’s’ Fairy Tales, the one before the frightened people sanitised it, thinking it too nasty for children, overlooking how very nasty children can be. Abbott is speaking to adults in denial, to a childlike audience so desperate for reassurance it will settle for the temporary quelling of anxieties, the temporary relief of a leader promising, I will keep you safe. Abbott is the monster who manufactures monstrosities, from which he then promises to protect you. Like little children, his gullible demographic flock to his promises of protection, never understanding that like the waterborne asylum seekers, they are fleeing into danger.

Nobody can keep us safe. Abbott offers the image of an Australia protected from all outside threat by the vigilance of his government, but this will never be anything other than a dangerous illusion. What we must do is learn how to live with uncertainty, rather than accept the dummy of false reassurance to soothe us, and silence our cries. Nobody can keep us safe, least of all a mad man like Abbott.

Women know this. We are never safe. And the biggest threat to our safety is not ISIS, or terrorism of any kind, but the other humans who share our lives. Will Abbott, our ministerial saviour, call on every fibre of his being to keep us safe from them?

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place For Sheep.

 

22 comments

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  1. mark

    diversity means less white people – and white people being attacked by non white cultural enrichers lulz. Sure Tony will keep us safe –
    by turning the country into a police state, its either that or you send the cultural enrichers back where they came from lol

  2. Johnnydadda

    The Code Red project aims to create an international frame of reference so that a sharper narrative can be created with politicians and policy makers – one that establishes a test to better ensure that security laws are based on evidence and truth. The framework will include an interactive resource for journalists and opinion leaders to hold governments to account for the claims they embrace.

    The tool kit will include a checklist of safeguards and processes that would help ensure good lawmaking and genuine public safety. These include such questions as:

    Has a full risk assessment been conducted on the potential negative consequences of the proposed legislation?

    To what extent have other approaches been considered? Has an options paper been produced?

    Have any independent parties been involved in assessing the viability and integrity of the proposals?

    Has the international experience been assessed in terms of outcomes from similar proposals?

    Has an evidential foundation been developed to prove the necessity of the proposals?

    https://codered.is/

  3. Phi

    Freedom and the right to privacy are absolutely fundamentally important to Tony Abbott – the problem for us all is that Tony Abbott believes it is only HIS freedom and HIS right to privacy that matters, not ours.

    Dictators, despots, Mafia overlords, Warlords et al all think this way and Abbott sits comfortably within that class of people.

    I think the writer’s analogy with Abbott as like “the wolf in the fairy tale grooming children with wild promises, dry-mouthed in anticipation of the ecstasy of devouring them, smacking his lips at the prospect of savouring their sweet flesh.” is so very apt. Abbott is now widely reviled for his reptilian facial mannerisms, something he seems unable to control.

    I checked the Code Red website thank you Johnnydadda – very interesting and I will be revisiting regularly.

  4. musicinhills

    There will be an election soon labour will lay down and Bill shorten will more or less hand power over to the Coalition won’t be hard to do any way, then when Tony gets back in, there will be blood on the wattle but it won’t be any of the Coalition’s, after a little time any one who does not like the Coalition will have to leave Australia, I only hope they don’t have to jump in boats and head for Papua or NZ, or to our North.

  5. mars08

    So…. it’s less than 2 months after a government-sponsored blitz celebrating the brave, independent, laconic, boisterous, irreverent ANZAC spirit. Now we have a poll suggesting that most of our fellow citizens are just frightened, confused children in need of constant supervision and reassurance.

    Makes ya proud, dunnit?

  6. Andreas Bimba

    Straight out of Adolf Hitlers rule book. He promised to keep the German people safe from Bolshevism, the British, American and French Imperialists and the ‘corruption’ of the economy by Jewish and Masonic bankers.

    Create false enemies, demonise them, sieze control of the news media and undermine democracy so that your ruling clique can rule with impunity.

    It’s not called Fascism but corporate plutocracy and they are looking more alike every year.

  7. darrel nay

    I agree mars08,

    It would be great to have pollies who were capable of empowering rather than weakening:

    Women and men who have had their right to self-defense dissolved by Canberra (John Howard in particular) are destined to be helpless and weak.

    Peace

  8. my say

    Keeping Australians scared,is just what this deranged idiot wants,
    Here we have Jamal Rifi ain’t terrorism advocate who had returned from IS radicalism talks in USA,only to be not included,in the Summit that was held in Sydney last week
    This deranged idiot doesn’t want to help the Muslim community he wants to keep the hate going .FRIGHTENED we should be ,but not from IS ,but the Abbott Government

  9. darrel nay

    reply for Andreas Bimba,

    It’s so simple mate but I think we just need to keep spreading the message that the only way to defeat dictators is to expose their methods and not to submit.

    Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Freedom

  10. my say

    WE had all better do something ,if we don’t ,we will all loose what our fathers,sons brothers, sisters ,fought for OUR FREEDOM ,

  11. brickbob

    Thanks Jennifer,this is one serious good piece of writing,and when it comes to Abbott and his awful Govt,the use of emotive language is entirely justified”””””””” Well done.”””””

  12. Wun Farlung

    I was suprised when I heard this poll result and checked the numbers on the Lowy website and it appears that Lowy polled 1200 and relied on newspoll for figures from 4 subsequent polls of 1200 which correct me if I’m wrong equates to roughly a 1/4 of 1% of the population and given that newspoll calls people on landlines (and more than likely elderly people in safe LNP seats) I felt worried that this bullshit was actually getting widely reported
    I have a better chance of winning Lotto in Australia than being the victim of terrorism

  13. kerri

    One of the most common questions of women who have suffered domestic violence for years until their violator finally kills them is “why didn’t she just leave?” The same question could be asked of Abbott supporters. With all the lies and all the deception and all the hollow promises. “Why do they go back to him?”

  14. Anomander

    These types of polls are effectively meaningless, particularly when you understand how easily manipulated the inputs are to achieve a desired outcome.

    Small sample size, targeted demographics, leading questions, limited responses – all designed to progress an agenda, predominantly to support a party or an ideology.

    Statistically, you have more chances of dying by slipping in your own bathroom than you have of being attacked by terrorists in Australia.

    For any Australian to express this level of fear is completely irrational, bordering on paranoia.

    What I find most disturbing is the level of ignorance or naivete it takes to swallow the message, when we live in the safest nation on earth, at the safest time in human history.

    We should be far more fearful of those who tell us they can keep us safe, if only we would hand over a small portion of our rights, our data, relinquish our power to those who supposedly have more information or know better.

    The true terrorist in Australia is Abbott, whose actions have harmed far more people than any terrorism incident ever could.

  15. mars08

    Anomander:

    …you have more chances of dying by slipping in your own bathroom than you have of being attacked by terrorists in Australia.

    But terrorism IS a bad thing, right? I mean… using coercion, instilling fear to achieve a political goal… that’s nasty…

    “…the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature…through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear…”

    Definition taken from the “Operational Concept for Terrorism Counteraction”, US Army TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984.

  16. stephentardrew

    So Abbott and Co use the tactic of deliberately generating fear to scare the masses then offers to be the saviour (notice the religious connotations: does he really think he is God?) then comes on with the wonderful repost “with every fibre of his being” he would “keep us safe” playing the wondrous super hero who will take us to the promised land while destroying the ecosphere, gifting the wealthy, marginalising the low, income, poor, disabled, single mothers and pensioners.

    In psychological terms he uses the fight/flight fear response to generate autonomic fear then to negate that self-generated unrealistic threat offers to be the saviour, the one, the angle in the sky. The classical narcissist who is himself creator and saviour of manufactured threats.

    The connections between the emotional centers and the pre-frontal lobe are dense whereby the feed-back pathways to the amygdala are much less effective so without the capacity to reason and halt the flood of emotional feelings many people cannot, and do not, attempt to reason their way out of what amounts to emotional manipulation and bribery.

    The doyens of anti-science exploit the pathways that scientists and psychologists have discovered to their benefit while railing against the science of global warming. These people are without a doubt irrational narcissistic ideologues.

    The reason I bring this up is that the only way to really understand how conservatives exploit people is to understand the mechanisms behind public compliance with this type of stupidity and irrationality. In essences most people are not dumb they are simply emotionally manipulated and misinformed. To tackle these problems we need practical arguments not emotional reactivity which simply feeds into the autonomic nervous system leading to emotionally charged exchanges which can achieve very little.

  17. mars08

    QUOTE:

    “…the fear will not last, and just as the dreams that politicians once promised turned out to be illusions, so, too, will the nightmares; and then our politicians will have to face the fact that they have no visions, either good or bad, to offer us any longer.”

  18. diannaart

    @StephenT

    The doyens of anti-science exploit the pathways that scientists and psychologists have discovered to their benefit while railing against the science of global warming. These people are without a doubt irrational narcissistic ideologues.

    This REALLY pisses me off – people happy to use all that science has discovered – even twist to fit their ideology, yet retreat into denial if the science threatens their narrow world view.

    ….and those leaches who do not join unions but are happy to receive any pay increases or improvement in working conditions…. grrrrr.

    As for Abbott ‘protector of women’ that’s just a another red herring from our very fishy PM.

  19. FreeThinker

    As the latest Morgan Poll demonstrates, the self-congratulatory Minister for Women continues to lose his constituency …. as he should.

  20. townsvilleblog

    Yes, its a damning indictment on the LNP generally and Abbott in particular.

  21. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    “‘I will with every fibre of my being keep you safe.’ It’s a wedding vow. It’s the overwhelming emotion of the father when he first kisses the head of his newborn infant. It’s a language that has little relationship to reality and reason, and while appropriate as expression of feeling in a personal context, in the political it’s emotionally manipulative, duplicitous, and deliberately employed to soothe fears that cannot, in reality, be soothed.”

    We can see through Rabid’s manipulation of our collective desire to have a government that actually cares and works for our needs. Rabid is unaware that our collective awareness is growing that he doesn’t fulfill our expectations and this will bite him on his skinny, little red budgie smuggler region. Ouch!

    (Ironic that he wears smugglers and employs them too for persecuting asylum seekers!)

    I just don’t get how this degenerate excuse for a human being could have the audacity to claim the title of Minister for Women. By doing so, he is actually offending his own mother, wife, daughters and sisters. But then, they all fawn over him and make him feel important, so …

    I eagerly await Rabid’s political demise and ensuing embarrassment. I won’t have any pity.

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