Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Australian 'anti-terror' laws.

Australia, at federal and state level, has floated, and implemented anti-terror laws. After 9/11, 2 Bali bombings, London, and Madrid, it is undeniable there is a clear threat to westerners, and Australia in particular. The US has it's Bill of Rights. Canada, NZ, even the UK have bill of rights legislation. Australia, alone of the Anglosphere, does not. The concern has to be that we not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and many, including peak law bodies also express reservations. Lawyers saying in part;
"Elements of the rule of law should be inalienable. The rights of our citizens to their liberty and freedom of speech, movement and association should be protected by our parliaments, rather than reduced by them," (UK Bar Council Chair Guy Mansfield QC).
There is a common thread to the attacks on the US, UK, and Australia, and that is fundamentalist Islam. A feature of those societies is intolerance, authoritarianism, and lack of respect for individual rights and freedoms. How sad it would be, if, viewed some time from now, we see that our response to an attack from those with the negative features above, is to tend towards the model of governance they espouse. My view is that we should celebrate, and protect, the rights and freedoms we stand for, not abridge them.
It would be even sadder, if, having given up some freedom in pursuit of safety, we end up with niether.
In that scenario, our unfree opponents would have won a victory.

Yes, we need to equip the police with the necessary powers to meet the challenge of terrorism, but no, not at the expense of the safeguards, rights and freedoms that the societies comprising the Anglosphere have spent more than a millenia developing and protecting. We are different to those who challenge us. We need laws that go as far as needed, but no further than needed.


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