Tomorrow when the war began: Australia’s ‘national emergency’

By Noely Neate
25 July 2013

It’s not the movie, the wonderful Tomorrow series written by John Marsden where Australia was invaded but we never knew or were told who invaded us.  Today’s coalition press conference was a bit like that – we are being invaded by a group of faceless people who we need to take military action against.

After Julie Bishop’s, Scott Morrison’s and Mr Abbott’s form in recent times regarding international relations with our neighbours we can only hope that much of this advice is invisible too and this plan never gets off the ground.  Basically the scare-mongering and fear hyperbole has hit critical mass in this country.

Many people I converse with regularly were shocked and horrified by the PNG solution PM Rudd tossed out on Friday. I was not the lone ranger there.  But what we saw this morning seriously put me in the Twilight Zone.  Today Australians were basically informed that under the Coalition we would go to war against Asylum Seekers with “Operation Sovereign Borders” (Tony Abbott to put three-star commander in charge of military-led border protection campaign).

Since when was this country in state of “national emergency”?  I am sure there are an awful lot of nations in the world who really do know exactly what a national emergency is.  What Australia is experiencing with an increase in asylum seeker boat arrivals. A humanitarian emergency maybe, but a National Emergency invoking fear – sorry, that suggestion is just reprehensible.


If you did miss the press conference, I urge you to view it (is included on that link above) as Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison came complete with Retired Army Major-General Jim Molan to spruik the campaign  (I won’t bother going into how inappropriate I feel it is that an ex-armed forces member is campaigning and lending authority to this press conference).

Mr Morrison had a lovely power-point presentation to back up his “military-led mission” points.  It was so surreal I was envisioning Winston Churchill moving little ships and planes around on a war board with his long pointer – OK it was the scene from Doctor Who but you get my drift ;-) – the whole scenario is that bizarre.

Thankfully before we all started to build bomb shelters to save ourselves from the Coalition should they get in and have access to the military toys, General David Hurley tweeted:

In my last post I included a tweet from Peter van Onselen, who said “Rudd has just out Abbotted Abbott”, and I agreed, I did not think that even Mr Morrison could come up with a harsher, meaner plan than the PNG solution.  Of course he did, and I should have not been surprised.  After pissing off the PNG Prime Minister by misrepresenting him (let’s not forget they did that to the Indonesians too), it looks like the Coalition will wage war in our backyard.  Towing back boats (only Sri Lanka was mentioned). Turning back boats and stuff the consequences, and a lot of waffle about a “military commander with a three star ranking who reports directly to the Immigration Minister “streamlining” decision-making on border security”.

Scared yet?  Some poor bloke in the armed services will be reporting directly to Scott Morrison if the Coalition gets into Government –  you can only imagine how hard-line Mr Morrison would be as boss.

Malcolm Farr probably summed up how crook this whole Boat people beat-up has become with “The boat debate shifts to a war footing” and I have to agree with his comment:

 “Suddenly the PNG Solution looks well-planned, measured and achievable by comparison.

Yet as Ed Butler so succinctly points out in This is what Australia wants, political parties invest in focus groups and therefore both parties have been told by the public, we ourselves, that kicking the poo out of asylum seekers in the hardest possible way is a vote winner.  I don’t know where this  starts or ends as I am just one of those dumb punters, but I cannot believe that at this moment political talking heads of all flavours are sitting in TV studios around the nation seriously discussing these ludicrous military options (I am so thankful my grandfather is not around to see this inappropriate use of military force).

Not all the military are as gung ho as Retired Army Major-General Jim Molan and we can only hope that the likes of the eminently sensible and forward thinking Lieutenant-General David Morrison with his now famous quote The standard you walk past is the standard you accept is the future of our Armed Forces, not the likes of Molan.  Sadly it seems that beating up asylum seekers is the ‘standard’ that Australians want or our politicians would not be doing it.

There is a big difference between having our Navy help a distressed boat at sea and actively setting up a very powerful stand alone military structure working outside the normal boundaries of our armed forces.  This is a very very slippery slope, Australia.  One minute we are turning a boat back with armed force, next we are taking pot shots at it to scare it away?

Towing it back to foreign countries weaker than ours and dumping in harbours?

Aiming to become the bully boys of the Pacific in South East Asia?

This Coalition have already proven that they don’t care about insulting the likes of PNG or Indonesia, what the hell will they do if they get in power and have the keys to the arsenal?

Diplomacy is an art and as I said a while ago, if Tony Abbott is actually PM he won’t have a tame media overseas (like he does here) to explain ‘what Tony meant to say was…’ every time he stuffs up and insults a nation.


After the Single Parent screw-over and the PNG solution, I really did not want to vote ALP. My  local candidate being the best person for my electorate was the saving grace I had for my conscience, BUT, I swear, I am now a firm believer in the ABAP (Anyone But Abbott Party). As the sainted Mr Howard, who’s reign is lauded and trotted out at least twice in every Coalition press conference once said: “Be alert, not alarmed”.  At the time he said that pretty much anyone who was not a panic merchant had a lot of fun with those fridge magnets.  That warning was supposed to be about foreign danger, not home-grown, xenophobic, right wing nutters.

While these types had aspirations of leading the country I was alert to it, now they want to play silly buggers with the military, I am bloody ALARMED!

Mr Abbott was right about one thing today in his press conference. We do have a National Emergency. It is a very serious concern that this country could be run by him.


Australia – Tony Abbott style graphic courtesy “Exposing Tony Abbott & The LNP – Memes & Stuff” via@mcintyre00

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  1. J.Fraser says

    “Operation Weeting” and “Operation Elveden” as operational names had already been taken by the British police.

    “Slick” Abbott must have racked his brain to come up with this plan.

    And it shows.

  2. “military commander with a three star ranking”????

    Abbott hasn’t got a clue. Australian Army does not have a “three star” officer.

    • what is worse, when questioned on that this arvo, he just shrugged his shoulders with the standard ‘poo happens look’ ignored question & looked to another journo to ask a question. We needed a Bridie Jabour then to push the point & actually point out how stupid that was, but none put their hand up :(

  3. mea culpa

  4. Well written article Noely, love your work as always.

    And nicely said Higgs, Abbott clearly studies our Military like he does mining reports.
    More disturbing is that this defence refugee repelling plan was never discussed with any Serving Senior Defence personnel, just retired old war horses fat and safe in their armchairs at the club no doubt regaling Tony with past deeds of daring do.

    Sad, for if these “experts” have been out of the game for any more than 3-6 months, their advice is going to be flawed and any facts based on old generally no longer applicable circumstances that contribute little of worth..
    Way to draft plans Tony, the LNP is now as up to date as Howards beloved 2001 Pacific Solution.

    Abbott’s ignorance and rampant stupidity is beginning to scare me, whereas once upon a time he was just annoying, Morrison, well I dont know whats happened there, must suck to be hateful and nasty him.
    I did prick my ears when I heard the usage of Government boats overseen by the Military being bandied about, is this yet another Abbott attempt to revive the wheezy dead promises of Daddy Howard whose approval he desperately seems to covet.

    Those old enough to recall may remember Howard was mad keen on an Australian Coast Guard, then he did the maths, the people has a stroke at the projected cost and there went that idea into obscurity.
    Maybe not forever under an Abbott Government.

    The wanna be PM is an absolute diplomatic disgrace, he has no compassion for anything but his own wants and I now believe his arse is well and truly up for sale. Morrison really needs to get back under his sheet before the black Panthers spot him, and our ADF leaders need to tell the pretender to shut his mouth before we end up in a hostile diplomatic stand-off with a foreign nation.

    Rudd, well I see what hes trying to do, and I dont like much of it, but his time-frames make for lousy output of ideas and policies.
    Hopefully once Abbott’s hostile tactics and offensive statements get us to Defcom 4 and our planes fill the sky to keep us safe from the leaky completely unarmed and defenceless terror chugging slowly at us from abroad Rudd will have time to elaborate on details.

    What a disgrace this entire thing is.

    The first casualty of this political war hasn’t been innocence, but perhaps sanity closely followed by truth and complete loss of any sensation that we are NOT in the twilight zone.


    • I hear you… If you didn’t know better would be laughing as this crap is something from a Chaser Skit about Abbott upping Rudd, not real life :(

      • So true,
        At least its getting so stupid that even shows like The Drum are beginning to frown at whats going on.
        About bloody time, but still a long way to go.

    • Can find nothing to disagree with in your summation except – since Abbott came on the scene the Liberals are unrecognisable from the party I have known and I am neither young or a Liberal voter. Can’t believe he has been supported by his own party in his behaviour in parliament and policy-wise, is there no-one who will stand up and say to him “this is not right”!

    • Actually it was Beazley who pushed for a coast guard and Robert McClelland who first suggested in 2001 that we could use snipers in helicopter gunships to stop the boats.

      Why on earth anyone is remotely suggesting that Rudd’s human trading is a better deal is beyond me. It will kill many more people and yesterday’s inquest into 104 deaths by sea last June shows that Australia deliberately let them drown.

  5. J.Fraser says


    “Slick’ Abbott gets Australia laughing at him again.

    Wonder if Peta Credlin will get stopped by the ACT cops tonight ?

  6. Another great piece Noely.. Thinking you could lend a hand to the ‘fibs’ in how to create/explain an idea .. They have no ferking idea ..

  7. The trouble with Abbott is, it’s always the hell with consequence. I’ll still sell my arse to be PM.

  8. Nothing like a war to use fear to gain and hang on to power….just ask Thatcher, Bush, Blair, Howard, Hitler, Pol Pot and countless other ruthless “leaders” over history who didn’t understand the rights and responsibilities of being a human. War on Terror worked well for Howard…why not a war on the victims of the War on Terror for Abbott, son of Howard? The sad thing is that populations have fallen for this cruel trick for thousands of years, and if Abbott’s successful it shows we’ve learnt nothing from human induced human misery over history.

  9. Well said Noely, we may well have a problem but the answer is not with guns and armed force. It takes an Abbott mentality to come up with a cruel and embarrassing plan like this. PM? Never!!

    • Are all of you nuts? Gillard has been letting refugees drown and then using that as an excuse to trade and traffic them to birdshit islands without any human rights, knowing full well they will become terribly ill and be tortured.

      Vote Greens with the two major parties last, neither of them deserve the $2.35 for your vote for racist cowards.

      It was Gillard who started the vicious race lottery.

      • What are you 14…google Tampa & children overboard, Gillard like every Politician since John Howard has been trying to deal with what Howard started. And like every Politician since Howard is stuck with a hostile Parliament, outraged Human rights advocates the screaming general public and a moronic media.
        Trouble with the entire thing is nobody, but NOBODY can agree on a single bloody thing so it continues as a mess without resolution.
        By all means be angry, suggest solutions but keep you’re feet on the ground while you do it.

        Greens you say, and just exactly what do you think they will achieve thats any better as a minority party thats constantly attacking, demonising and segregating themselves from those with the power to change this issue?

        When the greens grow up and act as if they can negotiate without the extreme “all or nothing” statements and stop blurting aggressive idiocy I may consider them worthy of a vote. But I am not holding my breath on that happening any time soon.

      • OK, let the frigging major parties negotiate away the legal, political and civil rights of you and then get back to me.

        IN fact it was Hawke who started this racist pandering in 1989 over the Cambodians who didn’t believe Thatcher, Reagan and Hawke that the Khmer Rouge were not mass murdering criminals but were just naughty boys.

        The pandering to racists by the ALP continued in 1992 when they started the refugee prisons and forced people to pay for being illegally jailed, made the prisons indefinite without charge and gross human rights violations were happening from the very first one of them.

        Hawke said in 1989: These people, the Cambodians, are not political refugees..we have an orderly migration program, We’re not going to allow people just to jump onto that queue by saying we’ll jump onto a boat, here we are, bugger the people who’ve been around the world”.. Does anyone even know what that last sentence was supposed to mean.?
        REplace Iranians with Cambodians and Bob Carr with Bob Hawke and after 24 years of lies it is the same old lie.

        And still the ALP rusted on dingbat supporters refuse to see the facts in front of their eyes.

        It was Keating who started the vile practice of denying protection to Vietnamese refugees in 1994 by pretending they had citizenship in China, it is now Gillard who decided to refuse North Koreans protection on the lie that they had dual citizenship with South Korea even though they had not been able to get to South Korea.

        It was Ruddock who made the prisons bad, but it was Gillard who made them even worse than Ruddock. It was Gillard who declared that Sri Lankans have to be deported without due process and was trying hard to force Hazara Afghans back to their deaths before the courts stopped her.

        There is no high moral ground at all for the scabby ALP racists, they are the same people who declared that we had to deny the Chinese workers in the gold fields and the same racists who wrote and enacted the white Australia policy with so much love.

        Fair dinkum, how old are some of you people.

        And we are currently accepting the best protected refugees in the world under the so-called humanitarian program because the US asked us to.

        At the same time we are denying the right to protection to the very people the refugee convention was written for.

        So vote Greens, give them the cash and make the major parties work like dogs to get the votes.

      • Good, nice detached, rational and analytical response not at all reeking of one eyed hysteria. Chinese in gold fields..really, how hard are you searching for a reason to attack without sense. Also cant help but notice that at no time have you declared the liberals responsible for the exact same behaviour to be every bit as filthy in this matter, so I would suggest your indignation is extremely one sided thus a waste of reading time. . Real asset to discussion that was,

      • WRB, I think you will find I have been researching and doing this work since the TAMPA, I do know what I am talking about and will not reward either pack of cowards.

  10. The subject of asylum seekers was poisoned by Howard and his despicable abuse of these people to get himself re-elected. The LNP has form and Abbott is fully prepared to follow his mentor down this grubby path. The deplorable situation with which we are now confronted is entirely the product of LNP machinations. Yes we probably are being taken as a soft touch by the people smugglers but better that I feel than the sense of shame at the behaviour and policies of these disgusting power seekers. Australia is better than this. At least I always thought so. Abbott may become Prime Minister but his name will forever be associated with this cold blooded use and abuse of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet in order to feed his ambition. I am filled with loathing and despair that such a person could ever come so close to the head of government of this country.

    • For Christ’s sake, the ALP are just as rotten to the core, why just blame Abbott? And it was Hawke and Keating who poisoned the well with the jailing of Cambodians in 1989 because they didn’t believe the US, UK and Gareth Evans when they claimed the Khmer Rouge were just naughty boys and dared to escape.

      • There is no denying that the ALP is involved in this appalling game of oneupsmanship. The fact remains however that if the LNP would engage on this subject in a bipartisan fashion, a far more humanitarian solution could be found. They are politicians and at war with each other and as much as this issue should be sacrosanct, if the opposition uses it as a weapon then the government will respond. Like it or not. Rudd tried a softer approach and got kicked in the teeth. Gillard tried with Malaysia and got thumped. So what’s your answer, Marilyn? Hand power to Abbott and allow him and his head kickers free rein on all aspects of government including this? No thanks.

      • I don’t believe what a stupid question you just asked. Where on earth do you get the idea that either party wants to be decent on any sort of -bi-partisan basis when they both just want to deny refuge to people who ask for it based only on how they get here?

        I have not seen one shred of the milk of human kindness from any of the rancid scabs.

        And the dimwittedness of Australian’s astounds me – there is bi-partisan law, it’s called the fucking refugee convention which is enshrined in law. It has 34 legally binding rights and obligations and it is for every person on the planet, not just those we choose to think deserve it.

        Making statements is not law or policy, it is scabby politics using the innocent as pawns.

      • Making statements is not law or policy. How true. And whistling in the dark from opposition doesn’t give anyone the ability to make or apply the law. So if you want the fucking refugee convention adhered to, get yourself elected to parliament and enforce the law. Spraying about it in this forum will get you exactly fucking nowhere. Hope you enjoy swilling that kindly pap.

  11. I wonder when someone is going to tell Tony that a 3 star anything is an american rank. Is he outsourcing defence to the yanks now?

  12. Unless Tony meant 3 pips, instead of 3 star …. which means he’ll have a task force led by a Captain of the Australian Army, lol

  13. Buddy Rojek, CPA says

    Since the media won’t report it, I might as well provide the link to Palmer United Party policies, especially on asylum seeking, which complies with international law, and border health security and terrorism checks.

    Buddy Rojek, CPA
    Palmer Uniter Party
    Candidate for Corangamite
    twitter# buddy4coranga