Dec 13 2014
Muslim terrorists have succeeded in stealing Christmas joy from Sydney’s train travelers. The traditional Yuletide tinsel, baubles and bunting that normally greet commuters at the city’s busiest stations has been banned this year because the nation is on a “high” terror alert.
Daily Telegraph (h/t Marina) Colorful decorations, fake gifts and small blow-up Santas are being replaced with simple posters containing just one of three phrases: “Merry Christmas”, “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”.
“With the country on a high terror alert, you can’t have Christmas stuff liked wrapped boxes lying around all over the place. It makes it more difficult for security staff to check the public areas at stations for suspicious items,” a NSW government source said.
It is understood Sydney Trains’ bosses have told staff there are to be no Christmas decorations on station concourses and platforms. But Christmas trees, candy canes, angels and stockings will be allowed in staff areas including lunch rooms and back offices away from the public.
However, at Central station, management is allowing two Christmas trees to be put up. Tomorrow, a large tree will be erected on the main country platforms concourse. Another tree will be placed near the ticket barriers.
A station assistant at Town Hall station, who asked not to be named, told The Daily Telegraph he and his colleagues were surprised no decorations had been put up with Christmas Day just a little more than two weeks away.
“This time of year we usually have tinsel, Christmas balls and ‘Merry Christmas’ banners hanging above the ticket barriers,” the worker said. “We haven’t seen any of it this year.”
Meanwhile, on Sydney Buses, the annual Christmas Bus decoration competition between depots is under way. Opposition Transport spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said Sydney Trains had gone too far. “Being able to put tinsel up where no one can see it means the Grinch has come to Sydney Trains,” she said.
“Just as bus drivers take pride in bringing Christmas fun to their buses, train staff should be able to decorate ticket windows and stations and wear a Santa hat if they wish.”
Back in September, the federal government raised the national terrorism alert level from medium to high, based on advice from security and intelligence agencies, including the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). A “high” alert means a “terrorist attack is likely”.
At the time, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said there were raised concerns about the increasing number of Australians working with, connected to, or being inspired by terrorist organisations such as Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda.
Australia isn’t the only place where Muslims are having some success in destroying Christmas: