Terrorists in the ceilings

by on 24 February, 2010

David-Russell An attempt at diverting public attention from the roof insulation blunder by using national security was a cheap shot, argues David Russell.

Wouldn’t you know it, grave danger has been lurking in our ceilings and we didn’t even realise it! How could the Australian public have been so gullible as to not suspect what was going on over our heads? Oh, we knew something was wrong but were mistaken in believing the danger was coming from an army of subversive and incompetent insulation installers unleashed by the Minister for Electrocution and Fire Traps. Not so, the Prime Minister now tells us. There is a far greater danger abroad in the land: home-grown terrorists.

Without even having the temerity to blush, Kevin Rudd is attempting to pull-off one of the great political con tricks of the decade. Indeed, it may well come to be known as The Great Diversion of 2010.

Finding himself immersed in the biggest pot of boiling water he could ever not wish to imagine (thanks to his former mate, Peter Garrett), Kevin Rudd finally realised he simply had no excuse for the biggest government cock-up since Gough Whitlam and Co. jumped headlong into the Loans Affairs fiasco. So, he needed a pressure relief valve. Ferreting around in his top drawer full of unimplemented and/or potential policy initiatives, Rudd seized on a sheaf of dog-eared pages, blew off the cobwebs, called for a new cover sheet and proudly announced it as The Counter-Terrorism White Paper. The fanfare in Parliament was muted it must be said but at least the government members professed interest. After all, their careers are hanging by a thread and they’re even more keen than the rest of us for just a glimmer of good news.

This remarkable 74-page analysis of Everything That Could Go Wrong in Australia And Just Might concluded that a ‘radioactive dirty bomb attack’ is possible on our own soil. Not one of those much-preferred ‘clean’ bombs, mind you, but a dirty one. They’re so much worse. And, wouldn’t you know it, ‘lone-wolf extremists’ could emerge at any time. Well, that put me right off my breakfast. Naturally, my immediate response was: ‘Oh, I must vote Labor next time and keep the country safe’. But I came to my senses and realised that this is the same government that has potentially turned a quarter of a million homes across the nation into live electrodes and/or rampant fire traps.

Cynically, I also couldn’t help but wonder how many of those ‘home-grown terrorists’ might have emerged from those boatloads of refugees that the Rudd administration has so futilely attempted to keep away from our shores. You have to admit that when they can actually land in the harbour of our offshore detention prison without having been spotted by our security surveillance, something is rather amiss.

Anyway, getting into the swing of things, Rudd solemnly announced – with just a minor quaver in his voice for suitable effect – that ‘an attack could occur at any time’. And to think that all this time I have spent worrying about illegal immigrants, electrocution, fiery death, heat asphyxiation from global warming, the deadly dangers of visiting a public hospital or getting hit by a flying bobcat constructing yet another Gillard memorial school hall, I should have been pooing my pants for fear of terrorism!

Oh, please, Mr Rudd, don’t make things even worse than they already are. You know, we Aussies are quite remarkably forgiving. We don’t expect perfection from our politicians. Dear god, we lost that innocence decades ago. But we do hate being played for fools and we are remarkably astute as to when that is happening. Like right now with this nonsense. We deserve better.

David M. Russell is a professional communicator with a passion for good governance. His personal blog can be found at davidmrussell.wordpress.com.

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