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

some call it contempt « Previous | |Next »
October 26, 2005

The argument of the national security state is that the new anti-terror laws are urgently required by changed circumstances signified by the war on terror. So we need to curtail civil liberties (the rights to liberty and fair trial) to win the war. This is then bolstered by the Howard government's scaremongering campaign.

LeunigA3.jpg
Leunig

Associated with this scaremongering is the Howard Government's strategy --- like that of the previous Keating Government --- to increase the power of the executive at the expense of the Parliament, exemplied by Howard trying to minimise the scrutiny of legislation in parliamentary committees.

Another example. Next Tuesday, about 90 minutes after the Melbourne Cup, the government's anti-terror bill, which allows suspects to be detained for up to a fortnight without charge, will be introduced to parliament. The government will force an immediate debate on the legislation, giving the opposition only 10 minutes to examine the bill rather than the usual fortnight. By refusing to give details of the terror legislation Howard is minimising scrutiny of his methods and panic legislation.

Why the hurry? What exactly is the terror threat? Should we be worried by the legislation? Absolutely.

Jose Borghino of New Matilda asks a dam good question:

Will anyone from the ALP stand up in the House of Representatives next Tuesday and oppose the Bill or suggest amendments? And a week later, when it's the Senate's turn, will the ALP (and at least one member of the Coalition) muster sufficient guts to slow the passage of these laws through Parliament for (hey, let's go crazy!) an extra day?

Will they? I appreciate that Kim Beazley and ­federal Labor have been “wedged” by their state Alp as well as by Howard. Will they--the federal ALP, not the compliant state ALP premiers --- find the political courage to take the legislation to the High Court on the grounds that it is unconstitutional? Will the federal ALP affirm the principles of federalism: a separation of the functions of the Parliament, the Executive (the Government) and the Judiciary that ensure that no one arm had absolute power and so power is split between the three so that 'checks and balances' applied to each.

Or will they huff and puff for the media headlines then buckle under like their state colleagues who have turned their backs on looking after a liberal democratic society so tbhney can look hairy chested on law and order?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:22 PM | | Comments (0)
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