8 November 2003

Not since Suleyman the magnificent...

The threat from the north, of course, has been immense: an invasion of 14 wet and weary Turkish Kurds on a leaky fishing boat.

Not since Suleyman the Magnificent expanded the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century has the world seen such a terrifying army on the march. A desperate effort was required to stop the interlopers, lest they cleverly forced us to honour our own laws.


The Wahabis' radical beliefs have led to members being banned from visiting the mainstream Lakemba mosque. It is presumably one of the most-under-surveillance buildings in the country.

Did ASIO wonder about this muscular and dreadlocked French convert, suddenly hanging around, and already in breach of his three-month visa?

Did they ask the French about his background? No. So then Brigitte marries a local woman, and does so, according to one report, in that same Wahabi hall. Brigitte's bride is a recent convert to Islam. She's also a former soldier in the Australian military.

Any questions yet? No. None. Just what does it take to make ASIO curious? It's as if Brigitte is jumping up and down, trying to get himself noticed. He's like Kath, from Kath & Kim, yelling: 'Look at moi, look at moi.'

It's not until the French authorities contact the Australians that ASIO finally makes inquiries, and we get the usual statesmanlike speeches from the Prime Minister and the Premier about our excellent security services.

National security is a great thing. But instead of swaggering talk, and the occasional bashing of boat people, most of us may prefer the real thing.

The government, when they finally arrested Brigitte, immediately sent him back to France like any harmless overstayed visitor. That did not stop Ruddock claiming that they had squashed a major terrorist attempt or that laws passed as drafted by the government stopped them doing whatever it is they should have done to Brigitte for whatever it is that he was doing if only Labor had agreed to the laws they actually agreed to.

Frankly I am beginning to dread the day when Grand Inquisitor Ruddock rises in the house, unzips himself and starts bellowing that when it comes to national security, size does matter.

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