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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

networks of surveillance « Previous | |Next »
September 10, 2005

The Government's proposed new anti-terrorism laws that will tighten civil liberties. The spin from the national security state is that the changes are small compared with a far greater civil liberty: people's right not to be blown up on their way to work. Consequently, civil liberties may have to be eroded to protect Australian citizens from terrorist attacks.


The central dilemma is how to protect citizens within the rule of law when "fragile" intelligence did not amount to clear-cut evidence.

The justification for the new networks of political surveillance is that there is a war on and this provides the grounds for such incredibly tough measures. The threat is based on the tacit, unspoken claim that it is likely that terrorists will strike in Australia's homeland within the next two years. Tis an unrealistic threat, but this politics is about fostering fear, is it not?

The Howard Government proposes some tough measures that build on the substantial widening of ASIO's power that had been passed the Federal Parliament.The new measures are:
■ Detention for terror suspects without charge for up to 14 days.

■ Increased police powers to stop, question and search suspects.

■ Electronic shackles and other limits for terror suspects.

■ Fines for leaving baggage unattended at an airport.

■ New offence of inciting violence, including against Australian troops overseas.

■ ASIO and police access to air passenger information.

■ Greater use of cameras and random bag searches at major events and transport hubs.

■ ASIO given more time to use secret surveillance and conduct searches.

■ Crackdown on money laundering to fund terrorism.

■ More terror groups to be banned.

■ Tougher criminal background checks on citizenship applicants.

■ Citizenship applicants to wait three years instead of two for approval.

■ Crackdown on charities raising money for terror groups.

The Howard Government now controls the Senate.That means Labor and the minor opposition parties (Democrats and Greens) are impotent to defend our civil liberties. It is now up to the Labor states and the backbenchers--but don't hold your breath that either group will challenge these proposals on the grounds that they pose a danger to our democracy and freedoms even their rationale is to protect our representative democracy and freedoms.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:17 AM | | Comments (3)


The arrogance of the state becomes evident when it removes civil liberties.


Michelle Grattin has a good article on this in The Age.

She finishes by saying:

But dramatic legal changes are no automatic solution, and what is done should be measured and fully considered. While some of this package is reasonable, other parts raise deep concern. It requires thorough debate and extensive modification. It's at times like this when a Senate that's awkward for a government would be good for the country.

The article is entitled, 'Leash tightens on a nervous nation'.

all those who oppose your views actually lack the basic essence of the subject. You must keep doing the good work.