[this image above is drawn from the National Security Website www.nationalsecurity.com.au]
The announcement by Prime Minister Tony Abbott alongside Attorney General George Brandis and ASIO boss David Irvine that Australia’s terror threat is now at ‘high’ is one that no one is taking lightly. It is worth noting that our terror threat level in this country has never before been raised to ‘high’. Even at the darkest days after the Bali bombing or the downing of the World Trade Centre our comfortable little ‘Land Down Under’ seemed completely isolated from the international events that had others cancelling holidays and changing their behaviour. And today I am a little worried about the combination of politics, fear and terrorism… could we be playing right into the hands of terrorists?
So what does the level of ‘high’ really mean to the everyday Australian? According to media reports, it means that a terrorist attack is now considered “LIKELY”! There is only one higher level on the spectrum of four levels… “extreme” which is only used when a terrorist attack is imminent or past.
Now I don’t know about you but “LIKELY” and “TERRORIST ATTACK” aren’t words I ever want to hear in a sentence together when referring to our own country. And I want to know what every single Australian should be doing to take extra care under such circumstances, because I, perhaps innocently believe that the Government wouldn’t raise the threat levels unless they were very very serious. But I can’t seem to find word of anything we can do…
From the Press Conference transcripts, it is clear Tony Abbott and his crew are more than a little concerned about the quantity of jihadists that are now here, on the ground in Australia and they are prepared to raise the national alarm now.
“We do know that people coming back from the Middle East militarised and brutalised … do pose a threat to our community” Mr Abbott said.
“What I want to assure people is that we have very capable police, very capable security agencies. I am confident our agencies are smarter than terrorists and would-be terrorists and will remain one step ahead of them.”
“We have no specific intelligence of particular plots,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“What we do have is intelligence that there are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks.”
“Nothing that I have said today … has anything to with religion. This is about crime, potential crime and combating crime.”
But what does it mean for you and me? Not much apparently? There is no real instructions from the Government other than that we will expect to see more police and greater security at the upcoming footy finals, G20-type events and other major public gatherings, and when we travel longer distances via air and sea ports.
Tony Abbott says that he essentially wanting people to go about living their normal lives. I would hope we can do so, but with a greater awareness to danger.
The Government is now promoting a national security hotline that you can call to report anything unusual 1800 123 400.
You can read the Prime Minister’s Press Release by clicking here.
And so we ask you today, do the change to terror threat levels alarm you? Do you worry about the combination of politics, fear and terrorism?