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Prime Minister Turnbull announces "series of measures to keep Australians safe" (screen shot via @TurnbullMalcolm).

Jim Pembroke ponders Malcolm Turnbull's impressive fearmongering, which has accompanied the latest alleged terror threat. 

IT'S A BAD and scary Australia out there. 

We know this because the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull keeps showing us.

He's standing in front of storm troopers talking about spies, soldiers and balaclavas.

He's posing in front of cameras spruiking security and foiled attacks and asking: ”Do you love Australia? See, I can do spine-chilling hebbie-jeebies, too.” 

But most of all, he's trembling in front of his Coalition colleagues, being all rightwing leathery, checking his smart phone’s opinion poll app and blowing raspberries at former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In spite of this, there are some who doubt the Prime Minister's capacity to effectively "monger" fear. Some suggest he was overreaching when he claimed the Labor Party's negative gearing proposals would cause bottomless sink holes in house prices.

Similarly, will Labor's generous renewable energy target really cause higher electricity prices, as solar panels consume enough photons for the sun to expand into a red giant and engulf the earth? 

And, even when the Prime Minister thundered and warned Australia that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was a sycophant, sucking up to billionaires, the whole country paused, turned to the PM and asked politely:

“Er, sorry Malcolm, isn't that you?” 

On the other hand, some on the conservative Right criticise Malcolm Turnbull for not pushing the throttle of fear further, all the way to brain-numbing paralysis. They urge him to fully embrace the Islamaphobia Industry.

After all, says Tony Abbott, “Islamaphobia hasn't killed anyone”, conveniently ignoring the Crusades where Christians plundered Muslims in the Eastern Mediterranean for 200 years. 

It's difficult to get the balance right in any scare campaign.

Fearmongering 101 emphasises the need to walk a fine line between populist beat-up and scaring the bejesus out of everyone. So, holding a press conference in front of an armoured tank surrounded by masked Special Forces in full military kit, while the PM lobs amalgamation hand grenades at journalists, is probably pushing the boundaries a bit. 

Prime Minister Turnbull announces "series of measures to keep Australians safe" (source: @TurnbullMalcolm).

But maybe the real problem is that the Prime Minister seems to be doing all the heavy lifting himself. Every time there's any hint of a security incident, it's Malcolm Turnbull who's forced to walk out and be the fear huckster — again.

It's time the Coalition Government got over their internal fighting and some other Cabinet Ministers did a bit more scare peddling grunt work. After all, it's not like they've got anything more important on their agenda — like stagnating wages, housing affordability or increasing inequality.

And if Malcolm Turnbull really wants to get the most out of his scare campaigns, sending Australians scurrying to protect their loved ones, terrorist attacks are clearly the most pressing issue to send folk hiding under their doona covers. After all, no one would be frightened to see him standing in front of a tank ready to wage war on family violence, youth suicide or workplace accidents.

Read more from Jim Pembroke on his blog jimselbow.wordpress.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jim_Pembroke.

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