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.
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 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.