You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NO CHATTERING ALLOWED
“There is some chatter—there has been some chatter” the Prime Minister quickly corrects himself at the start of his media address. He is about to reveal the thwarting of a plot to execute (possibly by beheading) an Australian citizen, on Australian soil (possibly in Parliament); and—consequently?—the introduction of new counterterrorism measures that will, regrettably, diminish the freedom of the nation.
That’s a tall order, especially coming from a man who (1) leads a government the policies of which, it stands to reason, must have played a crucial role in fomenting social discontent and instigating this shadowy imbroglio of violent machinations in the first place; and (2) has a track record as a liar in public office—many of us having simply lost count of the number of Abbott’s broken election promises.
Our suspicions are rightly piqued by the fact that the Mad Monk’s gung-ho attitude towards so-called terrorists (“Muslims,” some of the Yahoos call them) is all but guaranteed to curry favour with the electorate. To be sure, a bounce in Abbott’s personal approval rating will be duly recorded by newspoll over coming days. 
A little chatter, then, goes a long way.
According to my dictionary, chattering is something monkeys do, or humans when they talk informally about trivial matters. The last time I heard the word “chatter” used by Tony Abbott, back in June, was to downplay rumours of a leadership spill among Coalition ranks (“I think there has been a bit of overexcited chatter,” Mr Abbott said). By the same token, “chattering classes” is a derogatory label, sometimes applied by the likes of Abbott to that amorphous group of intellectuals given to the expression of (small-L) liberal ideas.
Little did we suspect, until Abbott made us look it up, that “chatter” bears another, more technical meaning, one that is symptomatic of our modernity: electronic or radio communication, especially between individuals being monitored by a government agency as a result of suspected involvement in terrorist activity or espionage.
The Australian public, that puzzled recipient of a message relayed by Chinese whisper throughout the echelons of the intelligence community and the news media, knows only one thing for sure. Global economy, that infernal war of all against all, presents a highly volatile situation. Chatter can get you arrested. Chatter can get you beaten, jailed, or killed. Chatter can precipitate war—yes, Prime Minister, even on the streets of Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra.
Expedient indeed, then, that Abbott should elect to beef up security at Parliament House. This includes an informational stonewall, since the question remains as to why intelligence, rather than this elusive and interminable chatter, hasn’t emerged into public view.
If it ever existed, the thwarted plot to behead an Australian citizen (here, for once, I’m voting Abbott, for reasons outlined above) has generated a buzz—a chattering of sorts—all its own.
Counter-terrorism: it’s a growth industry, fully subsidized by the Australian taxpayer. Its by-products are ideological, not just economic. Its costs, sadly, are all too human. Whether immediate or remote, the time-honoured prospect of decapitation demands a more or less rapid truncation and reordering of one’s hierarchy of needs. A population in fear of its life is less likely to complain, for example, about the Federal government’s impending savage, brutal and sadistic cuts to welfare. And who could fail to observe that counter-terrorism justifies, pretty much ad hoc, the Prime Minister’s blind commitment to a fresh military offensive in Iraq and Syria? Military expenditure being just the ticket, it seems, for a nation-state that declares itself too impoverished to invest in its public housing, health, education, transport and so on—much less accommodate refugees fleeing war zones!
As Abbott, like Howard before him, may yet live to fully realize—alas: counter-terrorism is an election-winning stratagem. We shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, ask yourself the following question.
Is the Commonwealth government as committed to weeding out terrorists as it is to winning the next Federal election—that is to say: By Any Means Necessary?
To the average Australian the question is, of course, purely rhetorical.
 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/23/tony-abbotts-approval-rating-rises-counter-terrorism-raids. Also: http://theconversation.com/terrorism-boosts-abbotts-ratings-32085.
 Oxford Dictionary of English. Mac OS X Dictionary 2.2.1. It must be of modern origin; my OED doesn’t list this denotation at all.