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Law Council launches final assault

UPDATE 7.50 PM by Margo: The Government has just, without notice to non-Government Senators,  guillotined Senate debate on the terror laws in what Dems Senator Andrew Bartlett said was an "utterly corrupt process". Few get the chance to state their views - speeches must end at 8.30pm. All amendments must be debated, questions asked and the vote taken in a mere three and a half hours tomorrow, with the vote at 6.30 pm. It's unprecedented. You can hear and watch the speeches by going here.

Here is Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett's first Webdiary report on the Senate terror debate so far:

My initial start on tracking the content of the terror debate got rather crudely overtaken by an early, unannounced guillotine which has also brought welfare on earlier than previously promised.  Will do some stuff on the content of speeches (such as there were) later, but below is the brief description of what has happened thus far.

The Senate started sitting at 12.30pm today with debate starting on the terror legislation. The speakers list on the Bill circulated by the Government Whip’s office had 28 Senators listed as wanting to speak. This initial list included 8 Liberal Senators. This is quite a large number of government Senators to speak on one Bill. The list also included all 8 Democrat and Green Senators and 12 from Labor.

The government amendments had not been circulated when the debate started, despite the plan for such amendments being announced 4 days ago.

Labor’s Leader in the Senate, Chris Evans, kicked off the debate. 5 speakers, including 2 from the government, were able to give their speech prior to Question Time.

Condolence speeches following the death of former Labor Senator and Minister, Peter Cook, occurred after Question Time and went for three hours. These speeches, made by many speakers from all sides, spoke of the immense value of his contribution and how his respect for the Senate and parliamentary institutions was part of the effectiveness of that contribution.

Within seconds of that debate finishing, the government moved, without warning, a guillotine motion. This was only passed because every single Coalition Senator voted for it.

This forced the Second Reading debate on the terror law to finish within less than an hour, preventing most of the people who had indicated a wish to speak from being able to do so. Guillotined at the same time was the welfare package, where the Second Reading debate has been given just two and a half hours, which also has to occur tonight, which has been extended (without notice) to sit through until 11.00pm.

Worse still, the same motion allowed just 3 and a half hours for the entire raft of amendments on the terrorism Bill to be considered, including 74 newly tabled government amendments.

Three and a half hours is also all will be allowed to consider all the amendments on the welfare legislation.  Again the government amendments have not even been circulated.  Indeed, this will also mean that some amendments from non-government Senators will not be able to be circulated at all, as there is insufficient time for the drafting to be finalised before the guillotine comes into operation.



LCA logo

Law Council launches final assault on counter-terror laws


MR 5405
4 December 2005

The Law Council has launched a final assault on the Federal Government's anti-terrorism legislation and its lack of response to the legal profession's objections to the laws.

Full-page advertisements will appear in newspapers tomorrow criticising John Howard's failure to reply to a Law Council letter condemning the counter-terror laws.

Law Council President John North said, "Our letter, written in early November on behalf of the Australian legal profession, has clearly fallen on deaf ears."

"These advertisements are our way of saying to the Government that the legal profession's pleas on this important topic require an answer and an explanation," Mr North said.

"The new laws, which will likely impact on the daily lives of every single Australian citizen, are draconian and disproportionate. The legal profession is profoundly disturbed by their introduction," he said.

"The community will be gagged, with public debate potentially stifled. People can be pulled off the street, locked up for 14 days and held without charges being laid."

"As the Law Council states in the advertisement, the Government is capitalising on the threat of terrorism to introduce laws that put our most basic civil rights under threat. What is even more disturbing is the manner in which the Howard Government has gone about ramming these extraordinary laws through Parliament."

"The legal profession believes that the ramifications of these laws have the potential to be as terrifying as terrorism itself. The least Mr Howard could have done was acknowledge our concerns. Instead, they have been brushed aside," Mr North concluded.

The Law Council's advertisement is attached.

[Click here to view a full-sized copy of the advertisement in .pdf (780k)]

Law Council advertisement

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re: Law Council launches final assault

The "compromise" offered last week by the government on sedition is a con job – there is far less protection of free speech here than the fallback the Senate Committee suggested in its recommendation 29. This law if passed this week will seriously erode what is still left of our freedom.

I think Senators Payne, Brandis, Mason – even Joyce and Fielding - should urgently rethink their position. This is the moment in their lives when they ought to cross the floor as a principled group – this is not a tactical choice, it should be an honourable and defining moment in their careers.

Read what the bipartisan Committee wanted on sedition, and the paltry meaningless response the govt made (below).

And what is a “publisher”? Are websites publishers? Which websites, and on what criteria? Margo‘s Webdiary? smh.com.au? abc.net.au? New Matilda? Online Opinion? Tim Blair’s website? Marg Hutton’s sievx.com? My tonykevin.com? crikey.com.au?

The L and C Committee had recommended:

"Recommendation 29 - If the above Recommendation to remove Schedule 7 from the Bill is not accepted, the committee recommends that:
proposed subsections 80.2(7) and 80.2(8) in Schedule 7 be amended to require a link to force or violence and to remove the phrase 'by any means whatever';
all offences in proposed section 80.2 in Schedule 7 be amended to expressly require intentional urging; and
proposed section 80.3 (the defence for acts done 'in good faith') in Schedule 7 be amended to remove the words 'in good faith' and extend the defence to include statements for journalistic, educational, artistic, scientific, religious or public interest purposes (along the lines of the defence in section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975).

Mr Ruddock responded:

Sedition (see recommendations 27 - 29)

In relation to the provisions dealing with sedition, the Government proposes to amend the bill to:

Insert the phrase 'by means of force or violence' after the word 'effect' in the definition of 'seditious intention' to make clear that a seditious intention necessarily involves the intention to use force or violence to achieve a particular outcome.

Remove the phrase 'by any means whatsoever' in the offences of urging a person to assist the enemy and urging a person to assist those engaged in armed hostilities.

Make clear that recklessness only applies to being reckless as to the consequences of the offence of urging the overthrow of the Constitution or Government, not the behaviour of an individual to ensure consistency with the other sedition offences.

Insert an additional good faith defence in relation to publishers of material who do so in good faith and in the public interest.

In addition, the Attorney-General has agreed to a detailed review of the sedition offence.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Senators, be aware that we are aware.

Who are we? We are voters. We come from the electorate.

We understand the subtle hidden powers, the silent threat, invoked by these laws before you.

We reject them.

How you, as Senators, deal with your responsibility acting as conscience to the process of government is of course up to you.

Should these dirty-word-sedition laws be passed, the Coalition can be sure a new force will present itself in Australia.

It is the force of opposition to them. It works in the same, subtle, hidden way, written into words just as the hidden threat is written into the words of this proposed law.

Is this what we have to deal with in Australia? So be it. But we are hoping not. This morning, we remain in trust of you.

Let it be clear.

The purveyors of this threat are nurtured by the unsaid.

So are we.

re: Law Council launches final assault

If they want to get the public's attention they ought to be using words smaller than "ramification".

re: Law Council launches final assault

We're just lucky they didn't put it all in Latin, David.

re: Law Council launches final assault

You know what, if all the lawyers in Australia were laid end to end. It would be a good thing.

re: Law Council launches final assault

The wording of these laws as demonstrated by Ruddock's reply are deliberately vague to give those in power complete discretion as to who they choose to use them against. I think it is to be used gainst the alternative new publishing methods, particularly the web.

Governments simply cannot stand not having some sort of control over an entity. The internet has been the one wild card over the past few years that took everyone by suprise. I've expected this assault on it's freedom for some time now.

A website could be targeted if someone innocently or deliberately posts a link to a site that describes one of Howard or Ruddock's "seditious" ideas. It's a backdoor method of control and it will work.

Moderate Coalition members in both houses have to be targeted in resisting these oppresive actions. They are either for the control of dissent or for freedom. There is no middle ground here. This is the legislation where we see once and for all just which elected member of parliament is one of Howard's backbench sheep and who believes in democratic freedom.

re: Law Council launches final assault

David R, I bet they were tempted.

I guess the substance behind this obtuse and cryptic comment of mine is this: On one hand we have a government using populist tools like fear, uncertainty and doubt to ram these laws through, whereas those who fight them resort to "Beazley speak" - prolix prose designed for their own consumption that really doesn't get the point across to those who really do need to "get it".

Hanson circa 1998 revisited...

re: Law Council launches final assault

Just another step on the road to a fascist dictatorship, that will see us under the control of the elite monopolies. Next step by the lib/lab coalition is to make it almost impossible for anyone to oppose them in elections, by bringing in a requirement that you have to be a member of a recognised registered political party of X size and X resources, to be eligible to register as a candidate.

Don't be surprised if they already have a list of potential sites and those that visit them for future reference.

We are no longer a free country and our laws are now some of the strictest in the so called free world. So much for democracy, or should I say Delusion. Anyone that votes for either major party after this is a fool. Just look at some of the lib polies, they may speak against some of these measures, as do the Labs, but they all vote for them, as brain dead slaves do when instructed to.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Barbara Collins, do I take it Madam, that you are volunteering? What a constitution you must have.

At this stage, this is just a Bill. Let's see whether there is any fire left in the Senate shall we?

What is it with elites Raglar Hanavak? You see them everywhere but never identify them or engage in maningful argument about them. It seems they are just a nebulous "them." As nebulous perhaps as your "us"?

re: Law Council launches final assault

People don’t like lawyers. People think the court system is a joke.

The first line of the Law council’s letter:

“Australians legal profession is united behind the Law Council of Australia in its opposition to your government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation.”

That’s a bad one liner to start off with in a Newspaper ad. The overwhelming majority of people support the legislation. It doesn’t matter which parts the Law council have a particular disagreement with, most people will start reading this letter and go “bloody lawyers again”.

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. First rule of advertising is to make your point within the first five seconds of an ad and appeal to the reader. If you don’t they will tune out and move on.

“John Howard you haven’t replied to this letter”... got their attention.

“Australians legal profession is united behind the Law Council of Australia in its opposition to your government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation.” Attention gone. It doesn’t matter if it’s the preventative detention provisions, sedition, or whatever. People know Kim Beazley supported the legislation, they know Bob Brown opposed it, so it must be good!

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin, has it ever occurred to you that the letter is not directed to the 'populace' at large, but to Liberal Party supporters of the type who read the broadsheets, and think of themselves as JS Mill type liberals? On that basis if I am right, the ad is quite good, I would have thought. Elsewhere, in less exhalted circles, the message is being sent via quite crude and amusing cartoons, drawn by people whom Howard fondly imagines, he has 'politically locked up' on the issues of terrorism and the like.

The 'Tampa' syndrome, if I can call it that, is rapidly losing its electoral utility, and JWH knows he has to be very careful with 'terrorism'. One wiff that he is doing to our safety at home, what he did to our reputation abroad in order to win another election, will see him trounced. He knows this even if his dopier supporters don't.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin Wilshaw yep crap advertising. They should have consulted the union advertisers. Now that was a scare campaign that grabbed the attention.

A bit like those weight lose machine adds. Grabs the attention for a short time gets the sale then the product is placed under the bed never to be seen nor heard of again when something better comes along.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin, people dont like Lawyers - thats true, but they dislike politicians, used car salesmen and journalists more.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Recently I have been thinking on our electoral system, and I had the thought that preferential voting can be a problem when neither of the major parties have any appeal.

Bar voting informal, under this sytem I "must" vote for one of the major parties, although I might find both repugnant. My vote and yours, eventually filters down to one of the majors. For me a disturbing thought.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Oh Hans, free kick to Justin.

Coredata conducted a survey in late November for News. 61% of respondents supported the government’s plans. 62% supported shoot to kill powers. 69% said the arrests of the alleged terrorists had justified the legislation.

Paul Colgan in the Australian wrote: “The survey found widespread support for almost all aspects of the Howard Government's proposed anti-terrorism laws before Parliament”

You should have let that one go through to the keeper!

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin Wilshaw (and so do others, including some media) claims that the majority of Australians support the Anti-Terror Legislation. On what basis does he make that claim? I am unaware that a census on that topic has been taken.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Robert Hill just told Kerry Nettle that if some civil liberties have to be curtailed that is too bad - but I bet his own civil liberty to lose $7 billion in defence money is not curtailed.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Speaking as a lawyer, Barbara, I could not agree more. And would you, Barbara, like to do the laying?

re: Law Council launches final assault

Barbara Collins, do you propose an intra-profession congress only (fine by me), or an all-comers affair?

re: Law Council launches final assault

I did not vote at the last election, my first failure to do so since I was enfranchised. I intend not to pay any fine. Why?

In good moral conscience there was not one person on my ballot paper that was worth the effort.

After a lifetime in the Australian miltary, and part of that in explosive detection, I cannot understand the wont of people to vote for any political party that addresses the issue of terrorism by legislation. No matter how substantial a Bill/Act, it will never prevent a detonation wave thrusting through flesh and bone.

All that has been achieved by the JWH propositions and acts is to diminish us and our liberty, and that having been done we are all the victim. The terrorists have won.

re: Law Council launches final assault

You do have to wonder why people can say that, "most Australians support this" about anything. They are entitled to hold that view and it may even be true although there is no proof that it is with the most recent of Howard's IR and phoney anti-terrorism laws. These ideas were never presented at election time. Although the Coalition may hold a majority of seats, in actual numbers its votes have ever only been a few small percentage points ahead of the Opposition, and in one case behind.

That doesn't make a government's actions good or morally acceptable.

re: Law Council launches final assault

I welcome the advertisement and hope it has an impact on thinking Senators who care about their contribution to the history of Australia. It is not too late to act as a House of Review and reject these obnoxious laws. Throw the whole lot out.

The Terror Bill is so totalitarian in concept and effect, that Senators should show moral strength and courage and cross the floor to defeat the Bill.

As for Malcolm B Duncan, you posed a rhetorical question to Raglar Hanavak about who or what is the elite. It is a question I have pondered all my life.

It was clear as a country high school student, when sons and daughters of the elite were sent to boarding school at Geelong Grammar, who then lodged at the University residential colleges supplied with live-in tutors and substantial in-house libraries. Few students from the local high school made it to university and that was usually due to Commonwealth Goverment scholarships. The result is clearly an elite which benefits from higher education.

It's also clear that in most media outlets the same elite is in control of what passes for a debate or free speech. The choices made as to what to publish and what to leave out continues to reinforce the prevailing prejudices and attitudes. There is constant censorship.

The narrow media focus now includes the ABC, which has been systematically silenced and is now but a shadow of a once great alternative media source. Who runs it now but an elite installed by the current government, chosen for their compliant attitudes and incapable of rigorous journalism and news reporting?

How many letters opposing the Terror laws were never posted or never published? How many voices have been ignored? I note that The Age cut short the debate on the sedition laws in their "Your Say" forum, but allowed the emotive issue of hanging to rage for as long as they could milk the issue. It also allowed pages to be published relating to capital punishment, but has never given a full account of the proposed terror legislation to its readers. The net result is an appearance of complacency on the part of the readership about the terror laws.

It is also clear that smugness and sneering is practised by the elite as a means of obliterating the voice posing opposite viewpoints. Especially if that voice has a foreign sounding name, which, appears to immediately render the speaker as somehow less worthy of being listened to. If the voice is that of a female, then there is added derision, and the speaker is labelled "dear" or "madam" or perhaps even called a "racist" for daring to poke their head up over the line separating an elite which insists upon its right to speak and to be heard.

As for seeking exemptions for some parts of the sedition laws, it is not merely journalists who should continue to have the right to practice free speech. That some people should be "exempt" and be free to enjoy freedom of speech while others are to be silenced, is of itself, an elitist concept.

I hope that the Senators will refuse to vote for this Bill.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin Wilshaw, what was the sample size, when was it conducted, how many don't knows, what was the catchment, what were the questions?

What nonsense. Liberty is not something which is "sampled". For most people it is something they only know they have lost after they have lost it, and often something they are only too happy for others to lose as long as it does not affect them.

I looked briefly at the NSW legislation today and shall still reserve my final comments until the Federal Bill passes and we can compare the mishmash (some very interesting Constitutional sleepers biding their time here) but, for now, would you explain to me please what you would expect the results to be if the sample were asked, "If as the result of a genuine mistake on the part of the Police or ASIO you were arrested and detained for 14 days, notwithstanding that you were innocent and the person on whom you relied to establish that innocence were someone you were not allowed by law to contact or speak to (and no-one could on your behalf either) would you support the legislation?"

"If as a result of the same genuine mistake the Police or ASIO shot and killed your wife/husband/son/daughter/father/mother, would you be in favour of shoot to kill powers?"

It all depends on the premise doesn't it old chap.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Malcolm, as I’m in the middle of cooking an excellent lamb roast, the following is only a partial response to the questions that you correctly raised (and that should be asked about ALL such polls):

“The survey, completed by 3890 people and compiled by research agency CoreData, found a majority of respondents trusted the Government's plans and only 39 per cent believed the Government was going too far.
Though the sample was not reflective of the total Australian population - a majority of respondents were male and 67 per cent earned more than $50,000 a year - the results show broad support for some of the most controversial aspects of the Howard Government's anti-terrorist legislation.” link

So – nothing about scale, nothing about proportions of don’t knows, nothing about the question structure (and as you well know it’s – relatively – easy to get the answer you want depending on the terms of the question). A hint about the catchment. And a ridiculously small sample size, in my very humble opinion.

Could do better, Justin.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Malcolm, here is another one.

Same result. Whilst the shoot to kill numbers are a reversal of the News poll, these numbers show 66% of people support the laws.

A democracy in action. The will of the majority, against the noisy minority.

Margo: Hi Justin. You need to put the http:// in your links. Hopefully, that will all be so yesterday on the new site.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Malcolm, those questions are leading and frankly, stupid. I would have thought someone of your intelligence would have come up with something better.

Malcolm, you can carry on about what “Liberty” is and is not. What it represents, or how it cannot be “sampled”. It will always, in a democracy, come back to:

1. What the voters want;
2. What the voters want.

The voters have been clear, they want these laws. Its why state Liberal and Labour. Federal Liberal and Labour are running with this. Because to do otherwise would be not what the voters want. See here for full details of the poll.

You may choose to disagree. But whilst polls like this one indicate that a majority support these laws both sides of politics will pass them.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Fiona, perhaps you could post me a larger catchment or poll, showing the lack of support for these new laws?

Oh and Fiona the highly regarded AC Nielson polls conduct using a sample size of between 1384 and 1428 persons, half of the poll that I showed.

I have posted another poll, also done by AC Nielson that shows the same result.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin, could you please give me your definition of "leading question"? And, perhaps more cogently, of "push polling"?

I don't really give a damn about AC Nielson's sample size (or, indeed, about CoreData's). Well, to some extent, I do. However, the two matters that for me, at any rate, are infinitely more important are (1) the skewed nature of the questions, and (2) the skewed composition of the sample.

In the meantime I will maintain my allegiance to Jacob Cohen (he of The world is round, p < .05 fame, and other remarkably lucid expositions on the proper use of statistics).

re: Law Council launches final assault

Interesting, isn't it, Justin Wishaw, that the links you provide do not specify the questions asked in the poll, so we don't know whether they were leading or not? As someone who has worked both for ANOP and Morgan Gallup and has a degree equivalent in Psychology and experience in questionnaire design, I know only too well how leading questions work (even out of Court). Of course my questions were leading and the reason you don't like them is we all know the majority response they would garner.

I shall say it again, whatever you say about your precious "majority": the test of a democracy is how it treats its minorities. When I have seen the final version of the legislation I shall tell you how well I think it is capable of applying that test.

On that point, it is interesting that you assert on the basis of these polls that there is support for legislation which has not yet been assented to i.e. which is not yet "law." Of course I doubt a technicality like that would fuss someone of your obvious statistical competence.

If you want me to apply my intelligence to questions even more subtle but with the same result, it's $350 an hour plus GST.

re: Law Council launches final assault

The majority of people have accepted that the terror laws need to be strengthened. I don't. I think that too many lies and calls of 'wolf' have been bandied around. Too many false accusations have been cast upon those who disagreed with a military action in a non-threatening country to defeat an enemy who was not there, being accused of terrorist sympathy makes me too reticent to accept most of political stance at first call.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin Wilshaw, it never ceases to amaze me that so many people think that if the public supports it, it's "right". The majority of Australians were opposed to Aborigines being allowed to vote. The majority of the German people supported Hitler (until they were clearly losing the war) and even applauded as Jews were marched away to their deaths as "enemies" of the state*, the "terrorists" of their time. Didn't make it "right", Justin.

Even the majority of the church in Germany were fanatical supporters of Hitler - a few, brave rebel priests like Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were sent to concentration camps as "enemies of the state" for going against popular opinion and opposing the state. Bonhoffer was even executed for his stand.

I guess you're not the heroic type, Justin. You'll probably be one of those people standing by the side of the road cheering while the "minority" like me are marched away for daring to oppose the government. Niemoller's words are quite famous now:

"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I was not a communist; then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew; then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a tade unionist; and then they came for me, but there was no-one left to speak out for me."

*Reference: Laurence Reese, Auschwitz: the Nazis and the final solution, BBC Books, 2005.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Malcolm and Fiona, you're hanging on a thread. The politicians see the laws are popular and that's why they will pass. Simple.

If the laws were not popular Beazley would oppose it until the cows came home. Hell, he opposes everything else.

re: Law Council launches final assault

At least, Justin Wishaw, I hang in good company.

re: Law Council launches final assault

One more thing, J Wishaw. Polls, opinions, etc are not a reflection of right and wrong. Science has shown that the majority of human beings are corruptible, brainwashable and tend to obey even the most evil of commands coming from someone in authority. Only a minority of people are capable of questioning, independant thought and pursing the morally right path. See The Milgram experiment and The Stanford Prison Experiment.

re: Law Council launches final assault

J McIntyre, yes, yes I know. But you fail to see the point. Who is to say you, Malcolm, and Fiona are right? Why is not the 66% who are right? Jane, why do you hang with the right people, but not I?

P.s How was the roast?

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin Wilshaw: “…you can carry on about what “Liberty” is and is not. What it represents, or how it cannot be “sampled”. It will always, in a democracy, come back to: 1. What the voters want; 2. What the voters want.”

In a democracy, yes.

But currently we don’t have a proper democracy. We have a Prime Minister who lies and cheats. How can a democracy exist where the head of the government lies and cheats? Dumb and gullible voters are taken in by Howard’s lies and we end up with a government led and supported by fascists. How is that ‘democracy’?

We are now being led by a Prime Minister that lied in order to bring about a war against Iraq in which – and I might just have mentioned this before – tens of thousands of innocent people have died. And Justin Wilshaw reckons that’s OK because that’s “1). What the voters want; 2). What the voters want.” What kind of voters do we have here?

Liberty!? Justin Wilshaw doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word.

re: Law Council launches final assault

I love these guys!

A largely empty Senate says more than I possibly could in this post. I'm one quarter of the way through today's Senate video and I have yet to hear from, or see, any Senate member but the one speaking.

This looks like a fait accompli to me. What a joke.

Ooops hang on. Someone is proposing something different. It's a Green. I'll be back...

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin, do you think the anti terrorism laws are right? I don't care whether something is popular or unpopular, the question has to be whether it allows us and the people we share this country with to be able to express themselves without fearing that they may lose their freedom as a result.

If you think that they are right, can you give me your reasons for supporting them, apart from that they are popular?

re: Law Council launches final assault

"Liberty!? Justin Wilshaw doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word."

You really are a fine one to profess a concern for liberty aren't you Lataan? I see that your dictionary has added a few new words, well one actually, fascist. Its the new buzz word replacing neo con. But not those tried and true ones "dumb and gullible"

Yes, I know this is probably borderline abuse, but when Lataan chooses to slander and abuse people on his own site over things they say on here its about time it is brought to wider attention.

It is to your shame as an editorial team that it has not been mentioned already.

People like Damian talk about freedom and choice. But the only people they want that for are those who agree with them.

Margo: Welcome back, Craig. It has been mentioned, and I've made my position crystal clear at least twice. To repeat, I will not and cannot be responsible for what Webdiarists write outside Webdiary. I won't link to material they write outside Webdiary which breaches Webdiary ethics and I won't have debates on that material on Webdiary. This is a site for civil discourse. There are several avenues apart from Webdiary for you to air your grievances if you wish. Keep this stuff outside, please. Craig, I've noticed from material you've written outside Webdiary that you don't think much of it any more. Fair enough. I wonder why you've come back. If it's just to bitch at me, I'm not interested.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Mr Wilshire, will you not answer the questions I have posed and engage in argument?

That I am prepared to do so in your precious democracy of the majority is what says I am right: right to do so.

Fiona, we'll all go together when we go, but not on a gibbet.

I would gladly take up arms against a sea of toubles, but that would not end them. I would (have, and do) fight for the minority against their being struck down by opinions, or even "laws". Whatever my personal view, as a lawyer, I am bound to do so. When the worm turns, as it will if you have your way, I will even stand up for you but I am not bound by logic, ethics or morality to agree with you.

Equally, when the worm turns, given the opportunity, I should be bound by those same ethics to prosecute you. Want to toss your democratic coin? Or would you just trust the Judge to protect you? I suppose you don't much like lawyers of any stature: you might prefer your majority to protect you. Best of luck.

re: Law Council launches final assault

David, I do support these new laws. I have stated on many of the other anti-terror threads why I believe these laws are necessary. I will not go there again. I’m tired of arguing this point. If you would like to have a complete understanding of my position, to the archives you go.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Well, the Greens' proposals were good, but rushed, largely incomprehensible to normal people and unnecessarily complex.

Non-one, and I mean no-one, can pitch an alternative to the government's current policy without a reasonable time to turn their ideas into a platform, which means writing good, solid policy speeches based on fact, not just lacklustre criticisms of government policy...

I have a bad feeling about this day in the Senate... it seems almost impossible to turn alternate policy into speech these days, as the government rushes through its poorly reasoned ideas. This is a bad precedent, in a world devoid of international law, human rights and justice.

OK, someone else is about to speak. I'll be back...

re: Law Council launches final assault

"Jane, why do you hang with the right people, but not I?
P.s How was the roast?"

Justin Wilshaw, I think the "hanging" comment was mine, rather than Jane Doe's. (Apologies, Jane, if I've misinterpreted Justin.) The tenor of my remark was that at least I have the wit to be grouped with people whose opinions and courage I respect.

The roast was superlative, thank you (but, then, I'm an excellent cook.)

re: Law Council launches final assault

Come now Malcolm. I have nothing against Lawyers. I quite like mine. He looks after my back as we go along with my business. To him, I owe a lot.

Malcolm, I too would defend your right to have your say. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with you.

Which question did you need me to answer? I’m more than happy to engage in a discussion. Everyone here knows I like a good rumble!

And it's Wilshaw

re: Law Council launches final assault

Thanks Graeme, for underscoring some basic facts (as opposed to an - almost certainly - unrepresentative sample). Look, Justin Wilshaw, the simple FACT is that all the mainsteam media/parties are in favour of said legislation ... which means, quite simply, that no major polling operation is (at all) likely to find against...

This isn't a "conspiracy" - because, said consensus means that it doesn't HAVE to be.

BUT, unless you can produce a poll with the (basic) honesty to also include its questions - and the methodology by which it's sample was selected - you'll (PLEASE) stop attacking readers such as Fiona and myself (with some REAL knowledge of scientific sampling methods) for laughing at the upfront FRAUDS - and, I use the term advisedly - that so often masquerade as "real" opinion polls in our sadly-debased press today.

Hope this was informative.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Graeme Hastwell, I'm a pollee in two of your nominated exemplary polls. And I'm a representative sample? Certainly hope so. Nonetheless, I will without any equivocation say that ALL the polls in which I've particpated over the past 24 months have had decidedly ambiguous questions. After all, it's so easy to think of a "well, if..." response.

And I'm sure that I'm not the only pollee to respond in such manner.

re: Law Council launches final assault

Justin Wilshaw is correct in pointing out that the AC Nielsen polls use a sample size of less than 1500 respondents, but neglects to mention several other crucial points. It is possible to obtain a pretty reliable estimate of public opinion from relatively small sample sizes (c. 1000 respondents) IF a well designed stratified random sample is used, and IF the questions are unambiguous and unlikely to influence the response, and IF the interviewers conduct their business in a way that does not influence the response.

Newspoll, AC Nielson and Morgan polls are generally considered to be the Australian polls that come closest to good sampling practise. Note that the CoreData poll is NOT, contrary to Justin's assertion, a Newspoll survey. I'm intrigued that The Australian - which usually publishes the very reputable Newspoll surveys - should in this contentious matter call on a company that pays for opinions. Ergo no random sample in CoreData's survey. Similarly, the relative abundance of highly paid males indicates that the sample is probably not very representative. I didn't see any breakdown of ages either, which can have quite a big effect on survey results.

Hard to say whether CoreData's results are truly misleading, but given the way the data appears to have been collected I wouldn't give it a lot of credence.

re: Law Council launches final assault

John, no not really. It wasn’t helpful at all.

It is NOT a fact that all mainstream media parties are in favour of the legislation. The ABC, Fairfax, and News all presented as opposed to parts, if not all of the legislation. This was my point.

If the organisations commissioning the polling are opposed, and the polling come out as favourable to the “yes” case, what conclusion can you draw?

John, Fiona and Graeme I have now included two polls, both from respected polling companies. Both companies are commissioned by different news organisations, both news organisations oppose parts, if not all of the legislation.

One of these companies (ACNielsen) is one of the most respected polling organisations in Australia ( if not the world). But oh no, Fiona and John with their vast statistical knowledge want to throw the results in the bin, because they don’t like THE RESULT.

You know what. I DON’T CARE. Howard and Beazley know these polls represent what the population is saying that’s why they are supporting the passage of this bill.

If these laws did not have community support do you think Kim Beazley would be supporting them?

re: Law Council launches final assault

JHC it is indeed true that surveys can give you the answers you want depending on the language used in the survey. It's a bit like the unqualified "yes" or "no" answers which clever lawyers can elicit to eliminate the "buts" from the opposition which might lead to reasonable doubt on the part of a judge or jury.

Social research measures values, beliefs and perceptions which unlike scientific experiments are all based on subjective judgements (apologies for the frivolous appearance of the linked page - the content is sound).

For instance, if I did an attitudinal study and were to ask a question like "Should the Government act to prevent terrorism?" I would say I would get a resounding "yes" from everyone. But then my findings may well be quoted in the Daily Telegraph as endorsing the Government's anti-terrorism legislation.

The organisation who conducted the poll is one which specialises in market research for companies, and the unstated and perhaps unconscious aim and assumption is to either deliver an outcome the client wants or state the bleeding obvious ("Coca Cola has the greatest brand recognition of all soft drinks"..."Australians are worried about terrorism").

For perhaps understandable logistical reasons as well, survey questions tend to be closed questions which will elicit either a "yes/no" response or, at most, permit a response on a Likert scale. No-one collating thousands of responses is going to want to read anyone's personal rant, factual though it might be. In fact many such surveys are computer-marked and results collated and examined at the same time.

I do not think you need a survey though, whether conducted on a large sample or a small one, to gauge that this Government has been engaged on a concerted campaign of fear-mongering, culminating in the passing of these totally unnecessary anti-dissident laws. After all every state has tough amendments to the Crimes Acts which are specifically designed to deal with any such threats. So apart from legislation specifically designed to dot the "i's" and cross the "t's" on intelligence sharing and co-ordination, what need was there for Federal legislation?

re: Law Council launches final assault

Syd Drate, "all" is three - and I have no idea why my name has popped out of the barrel. Political affiliations are unlikely: I have not been a member of a political party for more than 20 years, and would up until fairly recently have been classified as a swinging voter.

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