Panic (noun). A sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour.
Australians see themselves as a relaxed and tolerant bunch. But scratch the surface and you’ll uncover an extraordinary level of fear.
Cronulla. Henson. Hanson. Wik. Haneef. The boats. … Panic shows all of David Marr’s characteristic insight, quick wit and brilliant prose as he cuts through the froth and fury that have kept Australia simmering over the last fifteen years.
“Turning fear into panic is a great political art: knowing how to stack the bonfire, where to find the kindling, when to slosh on a bucket of kero to set the whole thing off with a satisfying roar … These are dispatches from the republic of panic, stories of fear and fear-mongering under three prime ministers. Some chart panic on the rise and others pick through the wreckage left behind, but all grew out of my wish to honour the victims of these ugly episodes: the people damaged and a damaged country.” —David Marr
We do "panic" very well in this country. The media relies on it for their bottom line. If it isn't the Muslims it's native title coming to claim your backyard, or lesbian schoolteachers coming to corrupt your children through the safe schools program, or the Murdoch hate media screaming about some secret plan by Labor to steal your superannuation, or ... who fücking knows! ... and now it's bloody scurvy What next? Panic buying so that the supermarkets run out of tinned sauerkraut?
Australians are not experiencing this public health emergency as politics as usual. Political leaders that try to make it about the politics — Trump in the US and, increasingly, Morrison here in Australia — pay a price.