Friday, January 11, 2008

What have we (Australians) done to ourselves?

Today I delivered the training course I referred to in an earlier post. It was, I think, a success.

I was looking forward to writing some stuff on my broader interests when something happened that dropped me right back into current pre-occupations. The issue in question was the decision by the Australian Government to spend $20 million on security in schools considered to be at particular risk of attack.

Now no threat assessment was released. However assume, for the moment, that the risks of violence against those schools are so great as to justify all this extra cost. Just what does this tell us about Australia?

It tells us that the threat of violence against particular schools has reached the point that special precautions need to be taken by our national Government.

Now I do not actually believe this. But, if true, it is a dreadful commentary on the Australia that has emerged over the last thirty or so years.


Lexcen said...

Jim, I know for a fact that Jewish schools in the Hasidim Jewish enclave of Balaclava have employed security guards for years. I'm not sure if this latest development is brought on by any increase in threats to schools or whether lobby groups from Jewish/Muslim communities have been squeezing the government for funds.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Lexcen.

I should have mentioned the Jewish schools as an exception. I am not quite sure when guards appeared here, but I do know that there were security guards on buildings such as Sydney's Jewish museum from at least the early nineties.

Anonymous said...

Masada College had security guards when I worked there in 1988-9, and let loose trained attack dogs to roam the grounds, which were behind security fences, at night. We were warned about the dogs on Day 1! The context was the Israel and international situation, as the people there (mostly South Africans too) were well aware of what could happen.

The school used also to fly the Israeli as well as the Australian flag, and sang the anthems of both countries at assemblies.

Interesting place; the boss spoke fluent Zulu! It was and is a very good school, by the way.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Neil. That fleshes things out a bit more. Interesting comments, too, on Masada.