Gay Mackie

About Gay Mackie

Gay Mackie is a retired print journalist, who spends her time at yoghurt (yoga), tap dancing and asleep between the hours of 2-4pm. She'd also like to make it clear that the Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke is her grandson.

The news that police will soon be able to stop anyone at airports and ask for their ID was met with hideous criticism. However, the move seems to be grounded in logic.



Yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton announced a new measure reflective of what the Prime Minister labelled as “dangerous times”. Ostensibly, in airports around the nation, the police will now be able to ask anyone produce their identification, regardless of reasonable cause, guilt, or crime.




Now, suffice to say, that some people lost all of their minds over this news, and while it certainly seems like it quacks like a duck, some people suggested that it steps like a goose. Nazi Germany was glibly referenced on social media, as their minds ran away with them to lurid fantasies of Peter Dutton in Waffen Black redirecting innocent flyers to the waiting truck outside.

Now, what it seems like, and what it is are two different things. We might click our tongues and evoke Authoritarianism, Fascism, the Nanny state, or the work of George Orwell. You could. You throw those barbs, as we bristle at the sound or sense of the government is taking steps to put us in a box. Understandable, but you need to register what Turnbull was saying because he’s actually correct.

The times we live in, as Bob Dylan once espoused, are a-changing, and they certainly dangerous.



Terrorised Terrorism has been an invention in my lifetime. I was there for the birth of it in 1972, as I, and the  rest of the world were both transfixed and reviled by a solitary figure in a white balaclava. Later, we got the awful news, but we were spared from the visceral brutality of the acts. Today is certainly different. Greater exposure via technology is certainly a facet, but the acts I see in the same name, I don’t recognise. Terrorism has morphed, twisted and evolved from the retro acts of Black September.

Boko Haram kidnapping hundreds, Islamic State’s vicious popularisation of broadcasted beheading, the same’s taking of underage sex slaves and using contraception to keep them, and the bitter frequency of seeing a vehicle splitting a pack of unsuspecting pedestrians. The commonality of such ruthlessness speaks volumes, and this is echoed in the twisting of city names where these acts have occurred. Landmarks forever edited by the hands of violence: Paris, London, Beirut. Berlin. Stockholm. The fact that Sydney, Melbourne or more familiar names haven’t joined that list is why we should pay attention to the words of Dutton.

What we certainly have in this country, is a denial of the realities. Because it hasn’t happened to us, it won’t happen to us. This is naive, especially considering that we’ve come rather close on numerous occasions. What we have, is macro denials of the act, a reason to not peg it as full-blown acts of terror. Man Monis in Martin Place waved the flag of Islamic State, but it was the wrong one, and one not endorsed until after the act. The recent case of a car ploughing through shoppers on Flinders Street, which was later confirmed that it was a deliberate act, but not terrorism. The closest we’ve come is the Bali Bombings, which is a quick jaunt from our shores; on that point, Indonesia was wracked by the explosive will of these cretins not a week ago.

Despite what we assume, we are not immune. The fact that it hasn’t happened to us doesn’t make us lucky. We’re not a bastion of virtue, truth or safety, as no invisible wall exists to keep these people out. One could imagine that a serious amount of anonymous police work that has curtailed the acts yet to be. Terrorism is something that we Australians don’t have the cure for, so perhaps that prevention is the only way forward.

I realise that Peter Dutton is an easy antagonist. He’s the beast that carved out Manus Island, and he’s the source of all evil in the Australian political landscape. However, it doesn’t make him wrong. If you were to completely reduce him, you could say that he might tick like a broken clock, but those still show the correct time occassionally.


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