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Sydney siege tragedy: What should be talked about

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The siege at Martin Place ended at 2am last night with the police storming the cafe, numerous shots being fired and two hostages being killed, along with the alleged "terrorist". Bob Ellis considers the things that will now be covered up or glossed over.

"Shotgun pellet wounds". '"Out on bail". "The Prime Minister refused to speak to him". These are some of the things that should be talked about and will be covered up or fudged in the next few days.

Did the "terrorist" have a non-lethal weapon? Why was this not known? Was the initial gunfire non-life-threatening!? Was it police gunfire, not his, that killed the "innocents" who died?

He was a man charged with sexual assault this year and, before that, with complicity in the murder of his ex-wife, who was burned to death. He had written insulting letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. 

He was a "self-styled cleric" preaching  hate in a time of a Red Alert. He was accused of sexual offenses. Yet he was out on bail.

Why did the Prime Minister refuse to speak to him? Why has the Prime Minister not done a press conference this morning?

Is it, indeed, a "terrorist incident" any more than, say, the killings at Sandy Hook? Was there a "death cult" inviolved, as the Daily Telegraph alleged, or, as his lawyer suggests, a 'nutcase'?

The 'Red Alert' in New South Wales has been worse than useless. The Whitlam funeral boasted five prime ministers and five hundred celebrity 'prime targets' and I, for one, was able to get in  with a radio and a laptop that could have been bombs. It would have been easy to smuggle a pocket-knife in. There was no electronic device we had to go through. There was, moreover, no search of the crowd outside. There were no snipers on any balcionies or roofs, as there might be at a public meeting addressed by Barack Obama. There was no significant 'security' at all, plus five hundred prime targets and a nationwide Red Alert.

There were no body-searches at any Opera House opening night. And Man Haron Monis, proven a violent, crazy man, was allowed out on bail.

The is incompetence here and millions wasted, on a cocked-up populist Chicken Little operation, that failed to note that a man involved in the murder of his ex-wife and the persecution of dead soldiers' wives might be dangerous.

Baird said:

"We will get through this. We will get through this."

But some officials won't.

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