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Friday, November 04, 2005

Hey Aussie, get yourself a bill of rights before it's too late.

-------UPDATE FRI-04/11/2005-------

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock


News that the Senate will take three and not one week to look at the bill and other MPs are getting some concessions from the crazed:
The Attorney-General's Department also agreed to re-examine the sedition provisions early next year and the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, promised, after last-minute talks with Coalition MPs, a higher test for prosecuting suspected members of proscribed terrorist organisations and people inciting terrorist acts.
Where previously a person only had to praise a terrorist act to fall foul of the law, now there will have to be a risk that their words will incite someone to emulate a terrorist act...
The original bill, leaked by the ACT Chief Minister, said only one parent of a 16- to 18-year-old detainee could be brought in to support their child. However, they could spend just two hours with the child, unless granted an extension by police, and would not be specifically allowed to tell their partner of the detention.
- They want to change that too. Small mercies, eh?


NRT has all the good oil on John Howard's emergency legislation to give more powers to the Australian security services to combat terrorism/bogeymen etc.

The conservative PM has taken advice from the organisations who will benefit most from the legislation and who presumably lobbied for it that they need it right now because of a vague possible threat that although not important enough to do anything about in any other way is about to happen and they need the new laws to thwart it. Now that all sounds preposterous enough. But the opposition leader Kim Beazley (is it his third go as ALP leader? fourth?) is dumb enough to believe Howard. The whole thing is a case study in spin, hysteria, manipulation, paranoia and stupidity. We need to pass the law now because a foreigner has burnt down the Reichstag might blow up Uluru or the Jo Bejelkie-Peterson Memorial Cane Toad Laboratory. Whatever.

If only the big newspaper barons gave a fig. Looking around the News Ltd papers and Fairfax stables they are either ignoring it or towing the government line and dutifully reporting every drawl of Howard as if it were gospel. From The Australian:

FEARS terrorists are moving closer to an attack on Sydney and Melbourne have forced the Howard Government to rush through an emergency law to make it easier for police to arrest suspects.
John Howard said the Government had received "specific intelligence and police information this week which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat".
The Australian has learned the intelligence relates to home-grown terror suspects in the country's two biggest cities who are believed to be building the capability to mount an attack.
The Prime Minister refused to divulge any details, stressing he could not talk about operational matters.

Notice how they say "forced" the government: yeah they had to there was no other way was there. It was "fears" that "forced" them?! Pathetic. And:

The serious nature of the threat allowed Mr Howard to secure backing from the states and federal Opposition for the swift law changes. The Senate will be recalled today to pass the amendment, which Mr Howard said would "strengthen the capacity" of police to respond to the threat.

So without this manufactured threat it could not have got through. So who wanted it through? - The security services. Who invented the "threat" - the security services. And:

Yesterday's move followed months of intensive operations by Australia's top spy agency, ASIO, and the Australian Federal Police.

So they've had their sweet time to do it too. And:

Despite yesterday's warning, ASIO did not change Australia's official threat assessment, which remains at medium. The level would increase if there was credible information of an imminent strike against Australian citizens on Australian soil.?

Hang on! I thought there was a "threat" and yet somehow there is no "imminent strike" and no change in the "threat assessment" which is only "medium". This just gets more phoney by the second. But wait, there's more this measure is just a last minute amendment to the main anti-terrorism/pro-fascism bill:

The effect of the amendment will allow law enforcement agencies to prosecute even if a specific terrorist act is not identified. "It will be sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the particular conduct was related to a terrorist act," Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.

Law enforcement agencies have been seeking this legislative amendment for at least 18 months, amid concerns the existing law is too restrictive.

The AFP and other agencies have been engaged in systematic monitoring of several terror suspects in recent months, but under the current law they cannot arrest and charge suspects without firm knowledge of a specific planned attack.

Yesterday's amendment would allow police to apprehend "suspects who are building the capability for an attack", a senior government source said...

Several MPs and senators last night questioned the Government's motive in rushing the amendment into parliament, but Mr Howard denied security services and police were "doing the Government's bidding".

Yesterday's decision came as the Government was expected to reach agreement with the states on the main counter-terrorism package, which will see the introduction of preventive detention and tough control orders on terror suspects.

While some Coalition and Labor MPs continue to question the severity of the laws, Mr Howard said the Government was close to a final agreement.

They introduce this security stuff the same time as controversial industrial relations legislation that they know will preoccupy the opposition parties and all on Melbourne Cup day! Brilliant - brilliantly evil.


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