Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Abbott Government response to national security: proportionate or a moral panic?



Title:

The Abbott Government response to national security: proportionate or a moral panic?

Citation:

Box, M. (2018). The Abbott Government response to national security: proportionate or a moral panic? Paper presented at the 2018 Federation University HDR Conference Ballarat. Retrieved from www.scholaratlarge.com


Abstract:

It is a long tradition of the Hobbesian realist view of politics that the most important duty of a government is the ‘protection of their citizens’. Since 2001 the dominant mantra in Australian federal politics has been protection of the community from ‘illegal boat arrivals’ and terrorists. However, is the response proportionate and necessary to the risk posed or is it a moral panic?

 Based upon the theory of moral panics and the nationalism perspectives of imagined communities and ethnic moralizers, this presentation explores the manner in which the Abbott Government (2013-2015) portrayed these issues. The words of the prime minister through transcripts and media releases published on his official web page at the time are analysed utilizing a discourse analysis model adapted from James Gee’s ‘Discourse analysis toolkit.’  It is concluded that although these issues were of significant national security concern the way they were handled constituted a moral panic.

The importance of this research rests in the almost universal agreement of terrorism scholars that one of the aims of terrorism is to cause a government to over react and hence undermine its legitimacy. Descending into a moral panic based policy response would achieve such an aim resulting in ‘policy blowback’ consequently weakening rather than strengthening national security.

References:

Abbott, T. (Cartographer). (2014a). Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit

Abbott, T. (Cartographer). (2014b). G20 volunteer launch

Abbott, T. (Cartographer). (2014c). Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda

Abbott, T. (Cartographer). (2014d). Joint Press Conference with Prime Minister Rutte, Parliament House

Abbott, T. (Cartographer). (2014e). Remarks at Federal Executive Meeting, Menzies House

Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. . London: Verso.

Brass, P. (1976). Ethnicity and Nationality Formation. Ethnicity, 3, 225-241.
 
Gee, J. P. (2011). How to do Discourse Analysis: A Toolkit. New York: Routledge.

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