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.