When I said Prime Minister Tony Abbott and some senior Cabinet members were suitable cases for clinical treatment, I meant it. Here’s just one reason why.
At a Sydney press conference on September 19, Abbott said: “It is a serious situation when all you need to do to carry out a terrorist attack is to have a knife, an iPhone and a victim.”
At the time Abbott was blitzing television and radio studios raising fear and alarm with his one-liner about how to become a do-it-yourself terrorist.
On Seven Network’s Sunrise programme he said: “The regrettable reality is that to mount the kind of attacks which ISIL in Syria and in Iraq has in mind for Australia, all you need is a determined individual who will kill without compunction, a knife, an iPhone, and a victim.”
Four days later, on September 23, Numan Haider, aged 18, went to an arranged meeting with Victorian police and attacked them with a knife. He was shot dead outside Endeavour Hills police station.
Haider had a phone and a knife and the police were potentially his victims: he appeared to be following Abbott’s blueprint to become a terrorist beheader.
A week later Abbott was in New York at the United Nations when he told a press conference: “It doesn’t take many people to commit an act of terrorism. As I have said a few times lately, all you need is a knife, an iPhone and a victim.”
If a member of the Moslem community delivered these views at a press conference he (or she) would almost certainly face incitement charges and be liable to spend a long time in jail.
Television and radio stations broadcasting these views could be investigated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for a breach of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
I can’t imagine any other prime minister, president, head of state or monarch in the world giving explicit advice about what items are needed to carry out a beheading – “a knife, an iPhone and a victim”.
No wonder he’s called the “Mad Monk”: if the white coat fits, wear it.
I’m calling on protesters against the Abbott Government’s attack on civil liberties and basic rights and his budget onslaught on health, education, pensions and superannuation to start carrying placards with Abbott’s own words emblazoned on them: “All you need to do to carry out a terrorist attack is to have a knife, an iPhone and a victim” – Tony Abbott, September 2014.
If harassed by police you can simply point out you belong to Team Australia and you’re supporting the words of the team leader. How can his Liberal Party colleagues, the police, media or the courts disagree with that?
Nothing like a dame
NSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir retired from her vice-regal post on October 1 after 13 ½ years in the job. The Narrandera-born daughter of Lebanese parents served six premiers in one of the State’s most tumultuous political eras.
The stories about her compassion, selfless dedication and energy are legendary.
Tony Stephens, a now retired Sydney Morning Herald journalist, recalled one of the governor’s moments of compassion: “An official driver was taking the Governor and her husband (ex-Wallaby front-rower Sir Nicholas Shehadie) home when the driver noticed a figure slumped in the gutter. The vice-regal limousine came to a stop, the Governor leapt out and checked that the young man was neither dead nor in grave danger of being so. He was, rather, dead drunk…
“Bashir helped load the celebrant into the Viceregal vehicle, ascertained his address, delivered him home, extracted his phone number and bade him good night. She phoned the next day to deliver a heartfelt but firm lecture…” (SMH, 14 April 2006).
Another is the little-known fact that Her Excellency is an honorary member of the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Contractors Association and holds an honorary licence for plumbing, draining and gas fitting.
NSW Premier Mike Baird told MPs the background: “I am told this came about after the Governor was approached by a person who said, ‘I don’t suppose you’d come to a function for the plumbers?’
“She said, as we would expect, ‘Well, why wouldn’t I?’ She went to the function and the relationship endured. Indeed, she has attended every year since the first invitation.
“The plumbers’ association loves the Governor so much that it went through two years of red tape to get her an honorary contractor licence in plumbing, draining and gasfitting. It is now known as Marie’s Excellent Plumbing Service.
“Anyone who has leaking taps knows where to go when the Governor has more time on her hands.” (LA, 9 September 2014)
Because she was born in Western NSW and devoted much of her professional life as a psychologist to Aboriginal health the Governor became an honorary member of the “Wirradjuri mob” and Aboriginal Australians all call her “Marie” or “Aunty Marie”.
She once said: “Perhaps Aboriginal people have taught me more than anything I learnt at university. They have humanity and love of families and, above all, incredible resilience.”
Scotland the brave
Twenty years ago on a visit to Edinburgh I was given a bottle of French claret bearing the label of The Scotsman newspaper by the paper’s then editor, Magnus Linklater.
We had shared a previous career together on the London Sunday Times and we’ve stayed firm friends ever since.
I always hoped we would share the bottle if he ever visited Australia. When that possibility receded, I decided to open it on the night of Scotland’s referendum (18 September), although I believed that the chances of an “Aye” vote were pretty remote.
The bottle of Grand Vin de Bordeaux remains unopened and I am now looking at New Year’s Eve, aka Hogmanay.
Thanks to the British Labour Party leadership, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Tony Blair, a campaign train packed with 100 Labour MPs, and a shrill propaganda campaign by every section of the UK media, the vote was carried by the “Noes”.
At a stroke the grovelling Labour leadership helped to rescue Prime Minister David Cameron, the Tories, the City of London and the monarchy.
Proof was provided by Cameron himself. In private conversation with billionaire and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, TV microphones picked up Cameron saying he phoned Queen Elizabeth with the news that Scotland had voted against leaving the UK.
“She purred down the line,” he told Bloomberg. “I’ve never heard someone so happy.”
The Scots have voted in 2014 to maintain their loyalty to the Treaty of Union but they weren’t accorded a vote in 1706 when the treaty was imposed on them by the English ruling class.
As I see it, the referendum result blocks Scotland’s bid for independence – but only temporarily. Anyone who thinks the 18 September vote will eliminate the yearning for a Scottish nation are kidding themselves. The nationhood dream lives among many Scots just as it does for Palestinians.
As Scots would say: “Dinna fash yerself. We’ll be reit back!”
Four Corners, the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme, carried an instructive report on September 15 called “High rollers – High risk?” detailing the relationship between the casino industry and organised crime.
Reporter Linton Besser demonstrated the serious risks in the current push by Australian casinos to attract Asian high rollers.
The Crown Group owned by James Packer is leading the charge with a six-star hotel and casino complex at Barangaroo, the harbourfront development at Sydney’s Walsh Bay.
The project was approved in record time without a public tender process and without a full probity check.
Besser reported on the links between Packer and Macau’s casino czar, Stanley Ho, whose name has been associated with Triad gangs in the former Portuguese colony.
In the past, this kind of Four Corners investigation would stir alarm and official action. But weeks have passed and not a single politician, either Liberal, Labor or National, has reacted.
The Casino Control Authority, the NSW Police and the other organisations that constitute the “thin blue line” of law and order have been silent also.
Only the Greens have expressed grave doubts about the project, but who listens to them? Not News Ltd papers because the proprietor Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan are close friends of Packer.