Back to Basics
Tuesday, 29 October 2002
I've been thinking about national security lately - especially some of the criticisms that are floating around about ASIO spending too much money on high-tech surveillance and not enough on good solid grass-roots spying. As today is "Mutual Obligation Day", I suppose that it was only natural that my twisted mind should come up with yet another brilliant political initiative.
You probably know that those of us in the community who don't have salaried employment, financially viable businesses of our own or well-developed criminal proficiencies may be required to perform a range of Mutual Obligation activities to maintain our eligibility for our fortnightly stipend. It seems to me that gathering domestic intelligence could be added to the list of Centrelink approved activities, expanding our domestic intelligence gathering capabilities, at very little cost to the tax payer.
Most of the costs would be administrative - for example, Centrelink and ASIO would have to get together to design forms for reporting the intelligence gathered. It shouldn't be too difficult to design a simple diary, similar to the jobseeker diary, where participants in the "Spy for the Dole" scheme would record their incriminating observations of their friends and neighbours and any seditious remarks they might hear down at the local pub. Some additional funds might also be needed to provide training in the rudiments of spycraft, such as not standing too close to the glass when you're using the Zeiss 5X40s at your front window. Most of this stuff is pretty simple and a good half-hour training video is probably enough to put most of it across.
Let's face it, the threat of international mastermind islamo-fascist mega-terrorism isn't going to just disappear. It's up to all of us to do our bit in the global war against terrorism. This is a contribution every unemployed Australian should be proud to make.
For those who are interested, ASIO's annual report to Parliament is available (in PDF format) here.