If you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear
Saturday October 15th 2005, 6:39 pm

image: police-state.netACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has put the draft for HoWARd’s latest terrorism bill on his website, jamming HoWARd’s intent to spring it on Parliament and the Australian public with almost no time for debate. HoWARd’s cheesed orf, too- he knows that more public noise on this issue may jeopardise passage.

Remarkable in HoWARd’s bill is the provision to incarcerate anyone, without cause, for up to two weeks, with no right to contest the incarceration nor a right to contact legal counsel- or even one’s family. With HoWARd’s laws, you will be held fully incommunicado.  You will not be able to tell anyone of your experience, even if you are released without charge. You may as well live in China.

HoWARd says that only those who are doing something wrong should fear his new laws. However, his laws are the only ones I can think of where fully innocent people can be legally incarcerated, with no proof at all rendered to a judge that there is any cause to hold them. You don’t have to be doing anything HoWARd thinks is ‘wrong’ to be arrested and jailed with his abusive new laws.

Further, HoWARd’s laws will give police shoot-to-kill powers, whether there is a life-threatening situation on not. You’d think that giving such powers would not have been considered after London Police mistakenly killed Jean Charles de Menezes in the wake of the 21 July 2005 attempted attacks.

HoWARd has only slated a week for these new police powers to be debated in Parliament. It has taken hundreds of years to wrest the powers of indiscriminate or unjust arrest from governments, and John bloody HoWARd wants to roll them back into the hands of people no more special than to be elected to do a job- in a week. A week!

Honest John is a good politician. He understands manipulation of public perception as well as any PR guy. He knows that if there is significant public debate and criticism of these measures, he stands a good chance of not getting them through Parliament, even with his bully majority in the Senate.

It’s noise time again, folks:

Dear Senator/Representative:

I am deeply concerned about John Howard’s proposed anti-terror legislation. I fear that this legislation affords too much discretionary power to incarcerate people to government and eliminates due process. The proposals that people may be detained without just cause for two weeks, without being able to contact their families nor having a right to legal representation, as well as elimination of the protection against self-incrimination are all completely unacceptable in a first world democracy.

We have plenty of laws on the books which cover anti-social behaviours and terrorist activity. Howard’s proposals only give the government the power to incarcerate people who cannot be shown to have been involved in illegal activity. The government is seeking the right to jail innocents. This is a power the government never, ever should have, especially not for a proposed period of 10 years.

In the light of the recent detention and deportation of peace activist Scott Parkin, it’s very clear that this government will abuse its authority.  This government will use these powers not to protect Australia from terrorism, but to protect itself against public criticism.

We don’t need any more terrorism legislation. Please work to oppose this unnecessary and draconian legislation.

Regards 

(your signature)

Parliamentary addresses and fax numbers, for your convenience:

Kim Beazley – Australian Labor Party
Electorate Office:
1/18 Council Avenue
Rockingham WA 6168
Fax: (02) 6277 8495

Bob Brown – Australian Greens
Electorate Office:
9th Floor, Marine Board Building
1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7000
Fax: (02) 6277 3185

Lyn Allison – Australian Democrats
Electorate Office:
1st Floor, 62 Wellington Parade
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Fax: (02) 6277 3235

Andrew Bartlett - Australian Democrats
Electorate Office:
Suite 14 B1
7/421 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Fax: (02) 6277 3087

Barnaby Joyce – National Party
Electorate Office:
90 The Terrace
St George QLD 4487
Fax: (07) 4625 1511

Steven Fielding – Family First Party
Electorate Office:
PO Box 500
Box Hill VIC 3128
Fax: (03) 9897 4578

If you don’t have easy access to a fax machine, I’m quite happy to forward faxes on this issue. Construct your letter in MS Word or scan it into a JPG file and send it to me via email. I’ll fax it as soon as I receive it.

-weez


10 Comments so far
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How far back does this take Australia back in terms of due legal process? My god, and we all thought Howard’s regime was all about bring back the picket fences of the 1950’s… talk about underestimating the bastard, by about a century or so. First we have IR “reforms” that took Australia back to what seems to me to be a pre-Harverster decision position (1920’s???) and now this doling out of police powers that exist entirely outside the due process of law… has this EVER been countenanced before in the history of the Commonwealth?

NO CIVIL SOCIETY CAN EXIST WHERE ANYTHING IS DEEMED TO LIE OUTSIDE THE DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

If it all goes ahead I think some hardcore protest is in order.

Care for a little sedition anyone?

Comment by Marcus 10.15.05 @ 11:42 pm

Sedition. The mere idea that they’re putting a sedition section in the bill speaks volumes. Apparently it’s now effectively a capital crime.

Seeing as I live in one of the more culturally diverse areas of Victoria, I’ve knocked up a copy of that letter addressed to my local member, too. Perhaps it’d be a good idea for people to look up their local members at this site and fire the letter off to them too.

Comment by Evan 10.15.05 @ 11:55 pm

Oh yeah, from Wikipedia:

“Sedition refers to a legal designation of non-overt conduct that is deemed by a legal authority as being acts of treason, and hence deserving of legal punishment. The term is deprecated in most countries, though equivalent language may still be in use in totalitarian and fascist jurisdictions.

*cough*

Comment by Evan 10.15.05 @ 11:57 pm

As Tevye fiddles on the roof, the gallery sings… “Seditionnnnnnn… Sedition! Seditionnnnn… Sedition!”

I love the smell of sedition in the morning… it’s the smell of victory…

Comment by weezil 10.16.05 @ 8:11 am

I don’t even think GDubya has this kind of power, outside of Iraq that is. Packed your bags yet, Weez?

Comment by JahTeh 10.16.05 @ 2:00 pm

JT, I’m waiting for the government to propose penalty revocation of Australian citizenship acquired by naturalisation. I’m a naturalised citizen, but when they change the rules for revocation to suit my case, you can bet I will be on the underground railroad.

Comment by weezil 10.16.05 @ 2:11 pm

I’d hide you at my place but I think I’ll be on the list for house arrest.

Comment by JahTeh 10.17.05 @ 10:05 am

JT, at least we will be sure you are at home when we stop by. ;)

JT, are you a fashion plate, by chance? Will your ankle bracelet be stylish? For me, since I’m not a real fashion hound, I think I’d like something in black leather with chrome studs.

Comment by weezil 10.17.05 @ 10:31 am

I have champagne tastes on beer money. A little bejewelled Thai silk bracelet by Collette Dinnigan would do nicely. Anything chrome clashes with my steel knees.

Comment by JahTeh 10.21.05 @ 2:01 pm

[…] Ruddock wants the laws passed as drafted and proposes to fix them later. This is a bear trap. Once the government has the power to detain innocents, it will not give it up easily. Australia will then have the distinction of having genu-wine 100% political prisoners. This is a power no government should have for 10 seconds, much less for 10 years until the proposed sunset provision kicks in. […]

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