Robert Hampton

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15th December 2014

Siege Mentality
Posted by at 10.55pm | In the News | 1 response

Surreal and frightening scenes in Sydney over the past 24 hours, as a tranquil Monday morning turned into for the customers of one cafe. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it would have been for the people caught up in it.

I’m not going to try and round up all the reaction (there’s lots of it) but this piece from the Sydney Morning Herald was quite good, I thought:

A stampede of politicians, State and federal, took to the airwaves to tell us how to feel. The incident was “horrifying” said Bill Shorten. Attempting a Churchillian gravitas, the opposition leader declared that “Australians are shocked, but won’t be shaken.”


Why do political activists turn to terrorism? Australia gave the world a lesson today.

They turn to terrorism to win attention, to cause fear, and to use that fear to produce an overreaction. That overreaction is the measure of their success.


Successful terrorism is so rare in Australia that the overreaction is perhaps understandable. The police response seemed exactly right. But our political and media systems need to get better at measured reaction.

In the aftermath of this dreadful incident, cool heads and a measured response and a are definitely needed. Knee-jerk reactions from politicians keen to get on the telly are not helpful.