Ever since the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation was established in the run-up to the Cold War it has been driven by a right-wing, proto-fascist and racist mindset. Long before Pauline Hanson, reared her ugly head these spy agents were discovering reds under beds, subversives of all shapes and hues, and even dreaded dissidents. Government critics, left cultural warriors and non-conforming artists of all descriptions came under their purview.
In recent times ASIO has been expanded because of the post- 9/11 hysteria about increased terrorism. It is regarded, as de rigueur for us to go around the world bombing civilians, getting involved in others’ wars, turning-back asylum seeker’s boats at sea, indefinitely incarcerating people who have committed no crime but simply asking for asylum and then subjecting men, women and children to such inhumane conditions that many self-harm or suicide.
These days ASIO is bound up in a super Department called Home Affairs which has all sorts of surveillance, immigration, customs, offshore jailing of asylum seekers operatives and other actors engaged in cruelty and indifference. Operatives are likely to mingle with other spooks from Five Eyes, black shirted border force thugs, prison guards, state special branch police, anti-terror swat teams and other civil libertarian promoting free thinkers. To suggest that their intellectual horizons are limited to a tunnel vision is an understatement. They are confined to monotoned echo chamber.
The hard left is the last of ASIO’s concerns because they have become so marginalised in recent times even as the conservatives have boosted ASIO’s funding. Fortunately, for these snoopers, a new threat has emerged. It consists of a devious bunch of centre right cross bench members of parliament uncommitted to any single ideological line yet strangely driven by issues such as humanity, decency and justice. Clearly, they amount to a momentous threat to ASIO’s and other Home Affairs officers’ view of the world. They are even proposing a bill in the parliament which would allow two medical doctors rather than Home Affairs’ bureaucrats to decide which acutely sick asylum need to be brought to Australia for medical attention.
These cross bench miscreants have been painted by Home Affairs operatives and their Minister, Benito Dutton, as endangering the security of the nation, of encouraging people smugglers, of posing a threat to the national economy and God knows what else. Yes, it is true that ideologically these spooks have been consistent for over 70 years but unfortunately this does not make their thinking intelligent, insightful, accurate or even good for national security.
Copyright © 2020 John Tomlinson