While he has been deported and is now back in the US, Scott Parkin is pursuing a challenge of his recent visa cancellation with the help of Greenpeace. Andrew Wilkie makes the point that if Parkin had committed acts in Australia which were actually threats to national security, Parkin would not have been deported- he would have been charged and committed to stand trial.
Civil rights advocates have been screaming doomsday about the amount of discretionary power afforded to the government, particularly in the redefinition of the offence of sedition. The HoWARD government has proven without doubt that they will abuse their authority. HoWARd’s draconian terrorism laws will not be used just to defend Australia from terrorism, but to protect the government from criticism.
ASIO chief Paul O’Sullivan admitted to a Senate committee last night (transcript on Webdiary) that Parkin had not been violent while visiting Australia. The actual reason why Parkin was declared a threat to national security has not yet been disclosed. "I think the Australian government was unhappy about people protesting at the conference," Parkin said. He may not be wrong.
There is no case which illustrates the need for a Bill of Rights for Australia better than the deportation of Scott Parkin, as well as suggests some founding language for such guarantees. In example, the US Constitution affords protection to all people on US soil. Conspicuous by its absence is the mention of ‘citizens’ in the language describing the individuals covered in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The preamble to the US Constitution even begins with ‘We The People.’ This is an assurance that liberty and justice are at least fundamentally available for all who are in the country. There’s no second class to the American freedom of speech. That’s a good act to follow.
If you have not written your Premier or Chief Minister about the lack of safeguards against arbitrary and capricious incarcerations and deportations under HoWARd’s terrorism laws, please take a moment to do so. Big thanks to all of them for at very least putting the brakes on the vote for today. Looks like Peter Beatty has a fairly good grasp on the failings of the legislation. Let’s hope there’s some appropriate checks and balances built into this material before it becomes law.
UPDATE: ASIO pays out an undisclosed sum for a bungled raid on a Sydney couple’s home in the weeks after September 11, 2001. ASIO had a warrant- but not for the address of the house they invaded.
We should trust ASIO to shoot to kill without warning and we should trust their suspicions as just cause to incarcerate when they can’t even raid the right house?
I think not.
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