Counter-terrorism and security: are we prepared for what’s to come?

6 APRIL 2020

Counter-terrorism and security: are we prepared for what’s to come?

Podcast explores expert opinion on terrorism, security and government control

  • Charles Sturt University releases series two of its podcast, Law, Order and Activism”
  • Experts talk about issues relating to right-wing terrorism, activism, policing and more
  • Eight episodes available now

Charles Sturt University has released series two of the Charles Sturt Stories podcast, Law, Order and Activism.”

The series speaks with Charles Sturt academics in the fields of policing, counter-terrorism, emergency management, investigative journalism and activism.

The episodes draw on developments throughout 2019 and 2020 such as the Australian Federal Police raids on journalists, the threat of right-wing terrorism and includes a reflection on the tragic Christchurch attack.

All episodes can be streamed now from Soundcloud or downloaded on Apple iTunes.

Future episodes will focus on COVID-19 and bushfire recovery. Experts are available to speak on these topics now.

More information on the series episodes below.

Professor Tracey Green, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business, Justice and Behaviour Sciences

“I joined the police just after the Equal Opportunities Act…so it was all a bit unusual to have women doing the full range of police duties. Was there resistance? Yes I think it was fair to say there was a fair bit of resistance! You were breaking new ground all the time.”

Trying to avoid the steelworks in Sunderland meant Tracey became the first woman in the detective’s office in the force at that time. After navigating a world where her (male) boss would profile her boyfriends, and her fellow detectives didn’t speak to her for the first three months, Tracey worked on serious crimes, hostage negotiations, and moved to Australia to teach.

Associate Professor Patrick Walsh, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

“The media portrays it in a binary way...that we knew so much about jihadist terrorism and that policing and intelligence communities didn’t have any knowledge of white supremacists and ultra-nationalists. The answer is, these kinds of threats were also on the radar. But it’s true to say that we collectively don’t know as much as perhaps we should on these individuals and these groups.”

Patrick spoke with Charles Sturt Stories only a month after the tragic Christchurch shooting in 2019 and discusses the immediate aftermath of the event for intelligence agencies.  How much did intelligence communities know about right-wing terrorism and what can be done about it?

Dr Kristy Campion, Lecturer of Terrorism Studies with the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

“Even though fascism was considered to be defeated conventionally after WW2, and while that meant those states were defeated, it didn’t mean the ideology was defeated. From 2009, broadly, we saw right-ring extremism surge internationally and that was echoed in Australia.”

How much do we know about the history of right-wing terrorism?

How far back does our history of right-wing terrorism go, and how did it take root in Australia?

And at what point do ideological extreme views turn into terrorist acts?

Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp, Director and Lecturer in Theology, Philosophy and History

“People wanted democracy, freedom and progress. But authoritarian governments didn’t like it and in Syria, they didn’t relinquish power in peace and that started to cause civil war. And where there is civil war, resistance groups, insurgents will emerge and some of these will be radical. The radical will take advantage of this to open up new ground for them, and Isis did.”

Mehmet shares his thoughts on the influences in the Middle East that can lead to extremism, how the West is involved, and why military solutions don’t work. Read Mehmet’s latest Conversation article on COVID-19 and Muslims.

Associate Professor Nick O’Brien, Head of School, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

“In the late 70’s there were bombings in London in Oxford Street and elsewhere and it was a serious business. Everyone was aware of the fact that bombs might go off…but I think people got on with their lives and their jobs. But I remember where I was when 9/11 happened. I was at Scotland Yard and someone came rushing in…and the whole event unfolded before our eyes. We quickly became aware we were dealing with a terrorist group very different to the IRA. Al Qaeda didn’t want to negotiate.”

Nick shares his experiences from leading international terrorism operations going back decades from the IRA bombings in London to the 9/11 attack heralding the prominence of Al Qaeda.

Phillip Ebbs, Senior lecturer in Paramedicine

“In my final year of studies in high school, I was admitted to hospital and underwent surgery and without that I wouldn’t have been able to live for any period of time.  I guess in that time I transformed… I started to realise I wasn’t all that invincible. It was a recognition that my survival was dependent on others, members of the health workforce, the expertise of doctors and nurses and clinicians. Not only was I not invincible, I was - and we all are - vulnerable people and our wellbeing and sometimes our very survival depends on those around us.”

Phillip talks about how he came to be a paramedic, his experiences working in emergency management, and how paramedics cope with making life and death decisions in high intensity situations when lives are hanging in the balance.

Jock Cheetham, senior lecturer in journalism and Walkley Award finalist, School of Communication and Creative Industries

“Journalists are not usually the subject of police raids. With the News Limited raid and the next day, the ABC raids, a precedent was set and police going in and searching around journalist files is a dangerous precedent to be set. The problem is journalism has a role as a watchdog in democracy and having police interfere in that role…threatens the fundamental obligation of journalists to their sources to maintain confidentiality.”

Jock discusses the current climate and emerging laws governing data and security that are setting off alarm bells for investigative journalists in Australia.  Has it gone too far? And if so – why?

Read more: Jock shares his thoughts on the AAP closure and on the national security threat to journalists.

Piero Moraro, Lecturer in Justice Studies, Centre for Law and Justice

“We have seen this kind of approach to protestors before. It reminds us of darker times, in the history of Queensland with Joh Bjelke-Petersen where the government made it a priority to stop civil disobedience. The police were encouraged to be heavy handed on protestors. Now of course, climate change is the main issue and economic insecurities, inequalities are growing…we see rich guys getting a bonus when they commit fraud, so civil disobedience is growing.”

Piero talks about citizen’s protests and activism, and the government suppression of vegan and climate activism in Australia in the past 12 months. Do we have a right to protest? And why does the government seem to think we don’t?

Media Note:

 Contact Jessica Mansour-Nahra on 0447 737 948 or

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