Home > Commentary > Had enough of the Australian Prime Minister’s counter terrorism huffy puffy? I have.

Had enough of the Australian Prime Minister’s counter terrorism huffy puffy? I have.

Had enough of the Australian Prime Minister’s counter terrorism huffy puffy? I have. I’ve seen Post-it Notes containing more useful insight and strategy than what is being offered up by our PM and by extension his government. So in the spirit of that comment, and as a late substitute for a Cynical Friday post, I offer you a Sunday night Post-it Note summary of National Security and CT by Captain Tony.

 

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Now before anyone goes and concludes from this that I don’t like him or the coalition, don’t bother.  I don’t like politicians full stop–especially when they politicise CT and make it harder for the  folks out there in CT arenas to do their work.

The politicisation of counter terrorism in Australia is not only infuriating, it is counter productive and the hubris with which politicians of all stripes are approaching the issue is truly disgusting.

In fairness, it’s not a politician’s job to be a specialist on terrorism. It is, however, their job to take advice from agencies that do have expertise in this area. Right now, I see very little of evidence of that happening. If the PM didn’t even consult the relevant ministers on some of the citizenship initiatives presented for ‘discussion’, it’s fairly reasonable to assume the agencies they oversee didn’t get a say.

Even if they did, they would be unlikely to be heard over the din of all of the fear mongering rhetoric that is dished out on an almost daily basis and that serves to do much of the propaganda dirty work for these groups (in direct contravention, I might add, to some of the National Security Public Information Guidelines that stress to government officials to minimise terrorist propaganda but which clearly don’t apply to politicians).

Basically we’re getting a lot of rhetoric and very little in the way of substance. Where is the progress on the new national counter terrorism strategy recommended by the DPMC Review? Where do all of these new initiatives fit into the old strategy or the new one? Has work even started on a new strategy? And where the hell is a white paper on all of this? I’d like the government to put its money where its mouth is and explain the state of play to the Australian public. It should provide a document that outlines how all these measures it is enacting will make for more effective counter terrorism and keep people safe and to do so in a way that shows this is the view shared by people who actually know about and do CT instead of a group of politicians. It’s a not an unreasonable ask.

With so much talk of its national security credentials and wanting to keep Australia safe and have national conversations on counter terrorism issues, it is remarkable that this government hasn’t even managed to author a white paper that would and should do all of this. The DPMC document was excellent, but it is not a white paper, or a strategy.  I’d like to know why this government feels that document was sufficient. But we don’t even get an explanation or update. We get nothing that reflects a whole of government consensus on counter terrorism at the strategic level, presents a balanced assessment from our agencies and explains to the public why all of this is necessary. Instead all we get is Post-it Note politics and an opposition that can’t even get its act together enough to ask some of these questions. It is shameful, and Australians deserve better.

 

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