Peter Dutton coalition national security parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

With the Coalition savaging the parliamentary intelligence committee it controls, Crikey readers (along with Bernard Keane) had to ask if we will ever reach the limit — or know the true cost — of the government’s national security obsession. Readers followed this by discussing Peter Dutton’s push for exclusion orders, and responded to Crikey’s deconstruction of the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry.

On the Coalition and national security 

Richard Shortt writes: And so, the securitisation process continues apace. Australia has, in that process, become a country that imprisons children for the “crimes” of their parents who dare to try and seek asylum by boat and to discard the Australian children of IS parents because the parents may have committed atrocities. You may wish to read that sentence again. When are either of those acts acceptable? In the paraphrased words of a famous philosopher, “those who fight monsters must take care not to become monsters themselves, for the time spent staring into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you”.

Robert Smith writes: The government makes very little attempt to justify its so-called policies, just rants on about Labor being opposed to national security, taxpayers, retirees, just anything really. Lesson learned from Trump.

Gregory Bailey: As always the problem with wedging is that a large section of the Australian community allows itself to be wedged. Those who take little interest in politics or the causes of the need for national security, who live in an isolated pocket of their on making, who are constantly distracted by reality television, and who believe all politicians are liars, must take responsibility for the LNP’s constant recourse to wedging.

On the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry

John Kerr writes: Excellent article today. I have lived in both towns, love ‘em both and find amusement in what remains of the rivalry. It seems to me the goal posts have changed: having more people is not now seen as so desirable. When I lived on the Northern Beaches, I asked some longtime locals why they took such pride in announcing how long it had been since they had last “crossed the bridge”. There is a similar attitude abounding in and around Sutherlandshire and, more muted, in Parramatta. I know of no place in Melbourne that takes the trouble to distinguish their sit-down place from the metro whole.

On exclusion orders

Frank Dee writes: What exactly does Peter Dutton and his hard-right coterie expect is going to happen to the fighters and families who were deluded enough to join ISIS? Right now, they are mostly in Kurdish prison camps, and the ones who aren’t psychotically fundamentalist are at the mercy of those who are. It’s not the Kurd’s problem, either. The Kurds are struggling to rebuild their homeland, and they’re being harassed and bombed by the remaining ISIS members at large, keen on revenge. They can ill afford  to keep thousands of ISIS families in captivity while the West postures on “national security”.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey