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a bit of a pickle--sedition « Previous | |Next »
October 31, 2005

I watched some of the debates in the House of Representatives tonight on the PBS and nuclear dump legisation to try and get a feel for how the ALP is travelling these days. They are in a bit of mess.

They were outraged and scathing in terms of the PBS and nuclear dump legisation. The Government Ministers (Christopher Pyne) just smiled and kept the taunts flowing despite the excellent work by the women on the ALP left--Jenny Macklin and Julia Gillard.

The ALP is kinda trapped by the politics of poilarization. Now it is not making the mistake of downplaying national security, and changing the subject to domestic issues such as health care, education, and job security. Yet, in looking tough, it is muted about preventative detention, control orders, judiical overview and sedition.


Still we do not hear much anti-terrorism and multiculturalism. Australia has not witnessed a terrorist attack on its territory by one or more of its multicultural citizens. Australia's multiculturalism has worked. So where is the terrorist threat? Why the rush to undermine the rule of law? Why the secrecy? Is this an insght into the way the national security state works? That iIt seeks to override the constitutional separation of powers and avoids any public debate in a a liberal democratic society? Everything is taking place behind closed doors.

Why not a proper, robust and bipartisan parliamentary inquiry to improve the legislation? There is no proper debate. Yet Australia is still a democracy. So where is the debate and the effective parliamentary review of the legislation?

The federal ALP is largely rattling the bars of the cage, with a little bit of help from the ALP premiers on the national secuirty state's anti-terrorism laws. These include broad clauses about carrying out, advocating or encouraging seditious intention. From all accounts the draft legislation sedition includes urging disaffection by any means whatsoever against the constitution and the Commonwealth Government. Does that include the work of writers, directors, producers, actors, singers, painters, editors, publishers, distributors and broadcasters because their work could been seen to "urge" sedition by way of analogy, dramatisation, imagery or other creative devices.

Where are the safeguards against this? Why this brroadening? What is wrong with the current laws? We don't have the equivalent of the IRA fight ing the federal government. in Australia. There is no demonstrated need re terrorist violence for these laws. Don't we already have a lot of anti-terrorism already on the books?

There is so little talk about human rights and civil liberties with these very tough counter terrorism laws. We need some human rights act or bill of rights as a template. Why isn't the ALP advocating for this to counter balance the anti-terrorism legislation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:37 PM | | Comments (0)