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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Sunday December 04, 2005
01:42 AM

Australia's anti-terrorism laws

[ #27850 ]

Australia's anti-terrorism laws.
Like many countries, Australia is seeing a decline in its civil rights, with new laws being passed which the government considers necessary to combat the threat of terrorism.

One of the most controversial of these laws is the Australian Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005. Amongst other things, this law provides for (paraphrased from Wikipedia):

  • The short-term detention of individuals (up to a fortnight), without charge, and without evidence. Individuals can be interrogated by Australia's security forces. Revealing that an individual is or has been detained or interrogated is a criminal offense.
  • Almost unlimited restrictions on named individuals, including restrictions on association (including with one's laywer), movement, possession of items (including those necessary to one's profession), wearing a tracking device, and attendance or non-attendance at particular locations at particular times.
  • Restrictions on all citizens to express certain opinions, particularly those that express dissatisfaction with the government. This has been the topic of great concern by the media, where reporting of particular opinions may be considered seditious.
  • To recklessly provide funds to a potential terrorist. The person doesn't have to be a terrorist, only that the provider is reckless about the possibility that they might be.
  • An increase in the powers granted to police in seeking information, and making it a criminal offense to reveal that such information has been sought.

The potential for abuse of these new powers is chilling. Individuals can be made to disappear for detainment and interrogation, but cannot ever tell anyone what happened. Individuals can be restricted in who they see, what they own, how they travel, and even where they are allowed to be. While our laws already provide for such restrictions, they come with the requirement that a person either be charged or convicted of a crime. The new laws do not.

For those interested in learning more about the laws, wikipedia has a good article on the new laws including a great many references. A statement by some of Australia's professors on international law and human rights makes very interesting, albeit dry, reading.

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  • That sounds mild by comparison with what loony Blair is ramming though the UK. The official oposition (Tory Party) is foaming at the mouth to go even further, as is most of the media - which is mostly right wing anyway. The only real oposition comes from the Liberals and a few comedians on TV/radio.

    Most people don't care as long as they can continue to shop on credit. The UK has gone from being phlegmatic to brain dead.

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."