The difference between feeling safe and being safe (or Malcolm Turnbull’s extravagance)

The Turnbull government is spending $8 million advertising the National Security Hotline. It asks us to speak up if something doesn’t add up:

Interestingly, the same mob have spent almost double that, about $15 million, on ‘deradicalisation’ programs that ‘deradicalise’ by promoting Islam (click for details).

Something just doesn’t add up here.

In fact, nothing adds up. So I’ll take the government’s advice and speak up.

Let’s start with the National Security Hotline.

The last time the National Security Hotline received this much attention was just after the Lindt Café terrorist attack. It was the hotline that 18 Australians rang to warn the ‘authorities’ that Man Haron Monis was up to no good. They did this just days before he strolled into Martin Place with a shotgun.

So, it seems that the government has no need to spend money telling Australians to ring the National Security Hotline. We already do this. The problem is not on ‘our’ end of the hotline. It’s on the government side where things stuff up.

As such, a cynic might say that Malcolm Turnbull’s $8 million advertising splash on the National Security Hotline between now and the election is supposed to make us feel safe rather than make us be safe. There’s a big difference between those two concepts.

Remember, the calls to the National Security Hotline were made by security ‘amateurs’. The ‘professionals’ took the calls and promptly decided that nothing should be done. The reporting spike was ignored and shortly thereafter Sydney’s CDB was shutdown and two Australians were shot down.

A few weeks later the Martin Place Siege Joint Commonwealth – New South Wales review was issued. It said this about the warnings provided just days before Monis’ attack on 15 December, 2014:

18 of the calls and emails [about Monis] to the [National Security Hotline] were received between 9 December 2014 and 12 December 2014.

It also said this about the amount of information the government had on Monis:

Monis was, in fact, well known to authorities: he had been investigated a number of times and successfully prosecuted on 12 charges. He had met police and ASIO representatives on numerous occasions and these, along with other government agencies, held hundreds of thousands of pages of information on him.

The report also stated:

[Monis] was the subject of thorough assessments by ASIO, the AFP and NSW Police Force which had continuously determined that he was not of national security concern.

And then it said this:

Overall, the Review has found that the judgments made by government agencies were reasonable and that the information that should have been available to decision makers was available.

The government should take the $8 million it is using to advertise the National Security Hotline and instead investigate exactly how it is possible that our intelligence and security agencies managed to accrue more than 100,000 pages of reporting on this terrorist and still determine that it was ‘reasonable’ to ‘judge’ that Man Haron Monis was not a security concern.

After all, that is either an awful lot of coincidental reporting on a guy who just randomly snapped on 15 December 2014. Or, much more likely, it is an awful lot of assessments that came to the wrong conclusion about Monis. Indeed, one can hardly be surprised that the Islamic State’s Australian poster boy had also previously been found guilty of harassing the families of Australian Diggers slain in Afghanistan. There’s a pattern here that even Blind Freddy can see. And then there’s the charge of murder that he was also facing…

Of course, the difference between feeling safe and being safe is the difference between perception and reality.

Under Malcolm Turnbull, perception is more important than reality. I suppose that’s why he likes to claim that Islam is great. That’s all about perception and nothing about reality:

I suppose it’s also why the webpage promoting the advertising blitz for the National Security Hotline links to the Turnbull government’s ‘Living Safe Together’ website.

‘Living Safe Together’ is the politically-correct way of saying, ‘The $15 million government program that ‘deradicalises’ Islamic terrorists by promoting Islam.’

The fruits of this program were on display for all to see on Anzac Day: a 15 year old boy in ‘deradicalisation’ since May 2015 was arrested after planning to attack the ‘kaffir’ (that’s us) while we remembered those who had fallen defending our freedom.

The Living Safe Together website is truly what makes this nation great. It links to government-funded programs calling for local councils to become ‘Refugee Welcome Zones’. And it also has other links.

Like this one from the Living Safe Together webpage to a project run by the Islamic Council of Queensland that aims to:

“develop counter narrative messages to challenge Islamic militancy propaganda through the use of guest speakers and workshops involving academics, Queensland Police and Imams”.

LST

The Turnbull government’s ‘Living Safe Together’ program has cost taxpayers about $15 million.

When you click on it, you get this:

ICQ

The page displayed when you click on the Islamic Council of Queensland’s ‘deradicalisation’ project listed on the Turnbull government’s ‘Living Safe Together’ webpage.

To be truthful, I’m really not surprised.

Of course, the Living Safe Together webpage also features a lovely post from the Grand Mufti. I’m not sure why. The words ‘living’, ‘safe’ and ‘together’ should not grace the same webpage as a man who defends Hizb ut Tahrir and who fronts an organisation that thinks laws prohibiting the advocation of terrorism will infringe the free speech of Islamic preachers.

And don’t just take my word for it. Take the word of the Australian National Imams Council. You can read their submission opposing these laws here. I think this is the best bit of all:

We are therefore concerned that the proposal has serious implications on free speech and will have a chilling effect on legitimate religious and political debate. This provision is of particular concern to preachers who spend a large proportion of their time teaching and advocating on social justice issues.

Anyway, Malcolm Turnbull might want to spend $8 million advertising the National Security Hotline to make us all feel safer as the election approaches. But I’d feel a lot safer it he simply asked the Islamic community to pay back the $15 million or thereabouts the Commonwealth has splashed out promoting Islam in the ‘Living Safe Together’ program.

That would probably also reduce the need for the National Security Hotline and save us all at least $23 million.

And I’ll even throw in this advice for free. It makes sense to all normal people.

Violence correlation

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of seven children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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