ACT 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:
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.
Parliamentary addresses and fax numbers, for your convenience:
Kim Beazley – Australian Labor Party
1/18 Council Avenue
Rockingham WA 6168
Fax: (02) 6277 8495
Bob Brown – Australian Greens
9th Floor, Marine Board Building
1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7000
Fax: (02) 6277 3185
Lyn Allison – Australian Democrats
1st Floor, 62 Wellington Parade
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Fax: (02) 6277 3235
Andrew Bartlett – Australian Democrats
Suite 14 B1
7/421 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Fax: (02) 6277 3087
Barnaby Joyce – National Party
90 The Terrace
St George QLD 4487
Fax: (07) 4625 1511
Steven Fielding – Family First Party
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.
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