The Abbott Government response to national security: proportionate or a moral panic?
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
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.
The nation “is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship” (p 7).
“Ethnic transformation begins only when elites consciously choose to select ethnic symbols as a basis for mobilization of support in competition with other elites...” (p 239).