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Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Australians have three weeks to protect our human rights for the next ten years, or more. Once the legislation is passed, there is no turning back. Dissent will effectively be outlawed.

We can't let this happen.

2005 is the year to read or reread George Orwell's 1984 and check out for clues on what seems to be happening to us right now.

Webdiary is committed to using all the skills and resources available to us to stop the legislation being passed without thorough, honest and transparent debate across the nation. The contribution of all Webdiarists is vital.

Below is a substantial collection of links and resources collated by the extraordinary staff of the Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library giving background to the new legislation. Webdiarists, please, contribute any and all links to further information and opinion both in support and opposition to the legislation. They will be added to the list below and used for informing research and debate on this issue that affects all Australians now and in the future. And send in your reviews and other contributions on 1984 in 2005.

From the Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library

Proposals to further strengthen Australia's counter-terrorism laws-2005

Compiled by:
Susan Harris-Rimmer, Analysis and Policy, Law and Bills Digest Section
Nigel Brew, Analysis and Policy, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Section
Issued 6 October 2005, updated 18 October 2005


On 8 September 2005, Prime Minister John  Howard announced  a number of proposed changes to Australia's counter-terrorism laws with  the aim of enabling Australia to 'better deter, prevent, detect and  prosecute acts of terrorism'. Drawing on overseas experience, particularly  the London bombings in July 2005, the Prime Minister declared that the  reforms 'will ensure Australia's counter-terrorism legislative regime  remains at the forefront of international efforts to counter the global  threat of terrorism'.

State and Territory leaders unanimously  agreed to the proposed changes at a special meeting of the Council of  Australian Governments (COAG) on 27 September 2005 and legislation will  now be drafted, based on the COAG Communiqué,  to enable the implementation of the new measures. At a press conference  following the conclusion of the COAG meeting, the Prime Minister said  that 'as a result of the decisions taken today, we are in a stronger  and better position to give peace of mind to the Australian community'.

The proposals have attracted a significant  amount of debate and commentary from a range of individuals and interest  groups. Outlined below is a compilation of references reflecting the  reaction to the proposed counter-terrorism measures and the outcomes  of the COAG meeting. This compilation will be continually reviewed  and updated as the issue progresses and evolves.

The Parliamentary Library also regularly  updates a Law Internet  Resource Guide, compiled by Roy Jordan, which features the key  existing terrorism legislation,  a chronology and commentary.

Draft legislation relating to the COAG Communiqué

The Bills and Bills Digest will be added  to the Parliamentary Library Law Internet Research Guide Terrorism Chronology  as soon as they are available.

The COAG Communiqué states  that:

State and Territory leaders agreed to enact legislation  to give effect to measures which, because of constitutional constraints,  the Commonwealth could not enact, including preventative detention for  up to 14 days and stop, question and search powers in areas such as  transport hubs and places of mass gatherings. COAG noted that  most States and Territories already had or had announced stop, question  and search powers.

The NCTC will settle the amendments to the Commonwealth  Criminal Code by the end October 2005 and consider options  for harmonising State and Territory legislative provisions.

The Commonwealth National Security website also  lists all terrorism-related legislation.

On 14 October the ACT Chief Minister John  Stanhope posted a 'Draft-in-Confidence' version of the Anti-Terrorism  Bill 2005 on the 'What's New' section of his website.

Official statements-proposals announced on 8 September 2005

J. Howard (Prime Minister), Counter-terrorism  laws strengthened, media release, Parliament House, Canberra,8 September 2005.

Reactions to the Prime Minister's proposals

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils,Engagement or  confrontation?, media release Sydney, 9 September 2005.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Avalanche of opposition  to government's new terror laws, media release, Sydney, 9 September  2005.

Law Council of Australia, Don't rush to 'rubber  stamp' anti-terror measures, Law Council warns, media release,  Melbourne, 9 September 2005.

Law Institute of Victoria, LIV condemns counter-terrorism  package, media release, Melbourne, 9 September 2005.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties, PM's  new counter-terrorist package: recipe for a police state, media  release, Sydney, 9 September 2005.

Crispin Hull, Opinion:  The fatal flaws in Ruddock's anti-terror plan, Canberra Times,13 September 2005.

Ben Saul, Opinion:  Without safeguards, new laws are suspect. Sydney Morning Herald,  19 September 2005. Note generally the UNSW Gilbert &  Tobin Centre of Public Law Terrorism  and Law Resource site.

Agnes Chong, Patrick Emerton, Waleed Kadous,  Annie Pettitt, Stephen Sempill, Vicki Sentas, Jane Stratton and Joo-Cheong  Tham, Laws  for Insecurity? Report on the Federal Government's proposed counter-terrorism  measures, 23 September 2005

Jon Stanhope (ACT Chief Minister), Opinion:  Security 'solutions' cause for concern, Canberra Times, 23  September 2005.

K. Beazley (Leader of the Opposition), Opposition  calls for intelligence-based special police counter terrorism powers, media release, 25  September 2005.

Law Council of Australia, No place for politics  and populism at Anti-terrorism Summit, media release, Melbourne,  26 September 2005.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Safeguards Needed  for New Terror Laws, media release, Sydney, 26 September 2005.

Australian Homeland Security Research Centre, Critical  Issues for the COAG Research Summit, National Security Practice  Notes, September 2005.

ABC TV, COAG  meeting will discuss proposed counter-terrorism legislation, 7.30  Report, 26 September 2005.

N. Stott Despoja (Australian Democrats Senator), COAG  must protect rights, media  release, Adelaide, 26 September 2005.

ACT Human Rights  Office, Advice  to ACT Chief Minister regarding the Council of Australian Government's  meeting - potential human rights implications of proposed measures to  strengthen counter terrorism laws, Canberra, 27 September 2005.

ABC radio, Police worried about  legal action from anti-terrorism laws, AM, 27 September 2005.

Phillip Boulten, SC, 'Australia's  Terror Laws: The Second Wave', Australian Prospect, Winter  2005 (online only).

Official statements-COAG meeting on 27 September 2005

J. Howard (Prime Minister), Special  COAG meeting on counter-terrorism, media release, Parliament  House, Canberra, 27 September 2005.

Transcript  of the Prime Minister, The Hon John Howard MP, COAG Joint Press Conference,  Parliament House, Canberra, 27 September 2005 (includes comments by  State and Territory leaders).

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)  Communiqué, Special Meeting on  Counter-Terrorism, Parliament House, Canberra, 27 September  2005.

Reactions to the COAG meeting outcomes

John von Doussa QC (President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity  Commission), New terrorism laws-Tough on terror, tough on human rights,  media release, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sydney,  27 September 2005.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Preventative  detention threatens all Australians, media release, Sydney,  27 September 2005.

Gerard Henderson, Opinion:  The 'ayes' have it on anti-terrorism laws, Sydney Morning Herald,  27 September 2005.

ABC News online, Anti-terrorism  laws do not go far enough: Beazley, 28 September 2005.

Michael Harvey, Terrorists  among us. Herald Sun, 28 September 2005.

Michelle Grattan, Opinion:  Are we really safer now?, The Age, 28 September 2005.

M. Steketee. Opinion:  Human rights under threat in the war against terror. The Australian,  29 September 2005.

K.C. Boey, Letter  from Australia: War against terror, New Straits Times, Malaysia,  2 October 2005:

ABC Radio National, panel discussion  about proposed counter-terrorism laws, Breakfast, 30 September  2005 (audio file - features Alan Behm, Marian Wilkinson and Gerard Henderson)

General commentary

Sir Anthony Mason, Democracy  and the Law, 2005 Law and Justice Address (Law and Justice Foundation  of NSW), 6 October 2005.

Alastair Nicholson, QC, Contemplating  Justice: The Law as a Tool of Justice and Human Rights, An Address  to the Annual General Meeting of ReprieveAustralia, 12 October 2005.

The Hon. Mr. Terrence Higgins (Chief Justice ACT Supreme Court), Address  to the Isaacs Law Society Ball, 13 October 2005.

Human Rights Watch, Australia:  Anti-Terrorism Proposal Threatens Civil Liberties, media release,  13 October 2005.

UK legislation

Prime Minister  John Howard stated on 8 September 2005 that some of the proposed measures  were based on UK legislation. Further detail on measures such as preventative detention  and control  orders can be found on the UK Home Office Terrorism website  (includes reviews of terrorism legislation).

See also the report  by Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, European Commissioner for Human Rights, on his  visit to the United Kingdom, 4-12 November 2004.

On 12 October 2005, the UK's Foreign  and Commonwealth Office released a research  paper comparing counter-terrorism legislation and practice across  ten countries, which included seven European nations, the US, Canada and  Australia.

The full text of the Report by the Independent  Reviewer Lord Carlile of Berriew, QC on Proposals by Her Majesty's  Government for Changes to the Laws Against Terrorism, is available in  an article published by The Times online on 12 October 2005.

For further detail,  please consult the Parliamentary Library's Law Internet Resource  Guide on terrorism.



For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to  members of Parliament.

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re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Fritz Stern writes in the recent issue of In These Times: 'To have witnessed even as a child the descent in Germany from decency to barbarism gave the question “how was it possible” an existential immediacy. So I have wrestled with that question, tried to reconstruct some parts of the past and perhaps intuit some lessons. ... My hope is for a renewal on still firmer grounds of a trans-Atlantic community of liberal democracies. Every democracy needs a liberal fundament, a Bill of Rights enshrined in law and spirit, for this alone gives democracy the chance for self-correction and reform. Without it, the survival of democracy is at risk. Every genuine conservative knows this.'

A Fundamental History Lesson: Did democracy fail? or did it prevail?

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

I would feel much more confident about this insidious situation if only..If only the opposition parties would protest. Their silence is deafening. Has Howard performed the ultimate wedge? (damded if you do etc.)

I look forward to the people on the other side of the house protecting my democratic right to free speech, so please get off your backsides and do precisely that, or, on the other hand perhaps you will be happy to support the "dissenters" when we fall foul of ASIO.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Thank you for that excellent bank of resources, Kerri. I am inundating my local media with offers of articles. You are right--we can't let this happen.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

I strongly recommend the (above) article by Sir Anhony Mason, former Chief Justice of the High Court (and presumably thus not someone Janet Albrechtson can so easily dismiss, although I wouldn't put it past her). It's not long, especially if you jump down to the section on civil liberties and terrorism. The quote from a former Israeli PM on the need to protect democratic conventions in the face of terrorism is a treat.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

"Once the legislation is passed, there is no turning back. Dissent will effectively be outlawed."

Er, ... no Kerri.

If it passes, it will filter through, the High Court will strike it down and many people will have suferred meanwhile.

The important thing is to stop it happening not by irrational, emotive pleas to the heart. "Cool, clear logic." Let us not be the parents of Winslow boys. Let us be adults of a democracy (such as it is).

Let us champion our freedoms. As soon as the polls turn, these Governments will run a mile.

BTW, is there anything in the Bill that reduces the subsidy for fertiliser?

Just a thought.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

When Mr Howard says that Australia's terrorism laws are a result of the London bombings, he is using as a template a society which has had similar laws to those he would implement for the last thirty years.

See if you find any of this language familiar:


2.7 In the language of the then Home Secretary introducing the PTA legislation in 1974, the Government believes that there exists now a clear and present terrorist threat to the UK from a number of fronts and that a terrorist threat is likely to continue to exist for the foreseeable future even when a lasting peace in Northern Ireland is achieved.

2.8 Having come to this conclusion, the Government believes that new counter-terrorist legislation is needed to take account of the changes in the nature of terrorism and the methods deployed. It also believes that this new legislation should be permanent - as is the case with the vast majority of criminal law. The annual renewal of current temporary anti-terrorist legislation, whilst useful in underlining the exceptional nature of the powers and the connection between their use and the prevailing terrorist threat, and providing an opportunity for annual scrutiny of the use of the powers, does not reflect the current reality that such powers are likely to be needed for the foreseeable future.

This consultation paper on Legislation Against Terrorism was prepared for the U.K. parliament in 1998, and shows great similarity to what the Australian Government proposes, aguably to a level of near-plagiarism.

The one crucial difference has been discussed before. The U.K. has been an occupying force in many countries for many hundreds of years.

Shouldn't we be "writing our own book" in this situation, instead of (as it would seem) utilising the timing of events to initiate a pre-prepared plan?

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Robynne Burchell: "I would feel much more confident about this insidious situation if only..If only the opposition parties would protest. Their silence is deafening. Has Howard performed the ultimate wedge? (damded if you do etc.)"

I presume that, as others have said, they are terrified of seeming "soft on terrorism". But by now, they should have had ample time to learn from those of us who know better that laws like these do not protect against terrorism. None of the terrorist outrages of the last few years would have been stopped by laws like this. If anything, laws like this are likely to provoke more of it. What laws like these do is to allow a government to waive the Rule of Law, waive human rights, waive civilisation as we know it, and plunge into a very dark place where, I suspect, a lot of people still subconsciously think we cannot go because Anglo-Saxons are Good Guys and don't go to places like that.

The facts are:

1. Anglo-Saxons are no better or worse guys in general than, say, Germans or Russians. We are perfectly capable of spawning leaders who wish to visit very dark places.

2. These laws are clearly intended for tight control of dissent in the general population, way beyond what any decent human being should tolerate.

3. The Opposition should be learning from people who actually have first-hand experience of either living in totalitarian regimes or living in societies that have endured persistent terrorist aggression. Such people are not difficult to find amongst our immigrants. They should find out how totalitarianism arises, and compare with what Howard is doing. They should find out how people have stayed safe in the face of terrorist threat, and what compromises people did and did not make. Then, they should be prepared to stand up and tell the rest of the country how things really are. If Beazley is too indecisive, slow and spineless to do this fast, then he should be sacked. It is high time the ALP had a real leader, and the longer said leader has to settle in, the better their chance of winning the next election (assuming that there is one).

Richard Tonkin "When Mr Howard says that Australia's terrorism laws are a result of the London bombings, he is using as a template a society which has had similar laws to those he would implement for the last thirty years."

??? I was living there 1963-1994, Richard, and no, we didn't have laws like this in place for most of that time.

Not in mainland Great Britain, anyway. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned - I quite agree with you. But that is a different kettle of fish, and a different legal system. Most of the time, mainland Brits carried on as if NI didn't exist.

Among the contributing factors that drove me out of the UK were the elements of creeping police statism brought in in the 1980's and 1990's by Thatcher/Major. These include the Criminal Justice Act that made it illegal to sleep in a vehicle parked beside the road (not enforced if you wore a suit and the vehicle was a large BMW) and the Public Order Act, which meant that a group of 5 mates going to the pub together are theoretically supposed to ask the local cops for permission, and check whether a police escort is required (also enforced selectively). Little did I imagine at the time that the next "Labour" PM there would move even more gung-ho in that direction. The tragedy in the UK is that the major "left" party is now a party of militarist totalitarianism, and their rivals on the right are even worse. At least we haven't quite stooped to that level of perversity yet.

RT: "Shouldn't we be "writing our own book" in this situation, instead of (as it would seem) utilising the timing of events to initiate a pre-prepared plan?"

1. Yes, we should not be blindly copying the Brits any more than we should the Yanks. I really wish that our leaders would look further afield for role models, or even (horrors!) risk making use of local expert advice to come up with original local solutions. I would love to see our political elite actually start believing in Australia as a genuinely independent country.

2. That "pre-prepared plan" triggered by timely events is a perceptive and worrying comment. I suspect that you are on to something. Is this a case of Howard applying the strategy that the PNAC/Neocon axis used re. 9-11 and Iraq?

Something that people might want to remember is that NO terrorist attacks have occurred on Australian territory in the last two decades. The only bombs that feel at all close to home are those in Bali, and although Bali may have become Australia's number 1 holiday destination, it is part of Indonesia, a quite separate country. Indonesia is, in practice, a fractious and crumbling empire with vast regional diversity of cultures and religions, run from Java. There is friction between Malays/Indonesians and Chinese, between Muslims, Christians and Hindus, between fundie Aceh separatists and secularist Javanese centrists, and so on. It makes most strategic sense for fundie Muslim bombers in Indonesia to be targeting mainly non-fundie (Muslim, Hindu…) Indonesians. Any Westerners who get caught up are, in their eyes, a plus, but this is a bit like right-wing British tourists getting caught up in an ETA bombing in Spain. If they were seriously after us, they'd be here, not there. So we shouldn't be taking them too personally and over-reacting.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

When the Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting was held in Melbourne (late 70's, I think) an Irish friend of our family operated a milk bar somewhere in Victoria, three hundred or so miles from the Big Smoke.

This man's father had affiliations with the Australian branch of Sinn Fein.

The Federal Police came down from Melbourne to conduct a weapons search, just in case his milk bar was a weapons cache for an armed action in Melbourne.

I raise this situation as it was not that long ago. There were, and are, many Australians and Irish who didn't sympathise with the British. In modern parlance supporters of Irish rebellion would be considered as criminals, and the literature that was circulated interpretable as inciting acts of terrorism.

What happens when somebody empowered by the impending Australian legislation decides that those who supported Irish efforts to reclaim Ulster may be supporting the terrorists attacking Britain? You can be sure that the possibily of IRA backers aiding and abetting Jihadists has been discussed once or twice in Downing Street.

On Easter Sunday last year I had the pleasure of sharing a Guinness with SA's Atternoy General, Mr Atkinson, at Adelaide's Irish Club. The occasion was Australian Aid For Ireland's annual commemoration of the uprising against the British in Easter of 1916. Mick sat in room full of predominately middle-aged to elderly Irish, listening attentively to this annual litany of celebrating a cultural revolution.

Crossing a fine line of definition, Attorney General Mich would be considered a terrorist sympathiser. I hope his involvement in creating the legislation ensures that he is not part of a future witch-hunt.

The Legislation discussed in my last post is here

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Jozef Imrich: when you quote this - "the recent issue of In These Times: 'To have witnessed even as a child the descent in Germany from decency to barbarism gave the question “how was it possible”" - few have read the real history of the rise of Hitler in that he actually took advantage of events happening in Germany that were coinciding with his desires before he really rose to the top. There's an assumption that Hitler created the climate in Germany for his assent to power, but it wasn't quite like that. Like-minded were going in that direction - corporitised government and such, creating the perfect atmosphere for Adolph to take over.

Industrial Legislation that is handing powers to corporations and a government that is pandering to powerful business interests... the very things that happened in the early '30s in Germany. They had their humiliations from WW1 used as an excuse to methodically restrict freedoms and we have our "war on terrorism" leading us to shaft our freedoms. Laws that can 'disapear' us. If these laws pass, forget Howard - down the tracks there may be some real monstor on the sidelines waiting to step in.

With the IRA situation in the UK, it was the secret services like MI5 and MI6 who did the really clever work.They didn't require these restrictive style laws we may get , and the UK now has.

How sad it was to see the very decent British Labour leader John Smith die suddenly of a heart attack and the unknown but saleable Tony Blair - and Thatcher clone - sweep in. No-one could tell he would trash all Labour plans to end privitisation and appear to have been bred from the same mould as George Bush. I think they must have got a hold of John Howard on a visit-with Jeanette safely taking tea with the Queen as is her want - and shoved Johnny into that mould and produced a mini-me for George and Tony.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Malcolm B. Duncan writes: "If it passes, it will filter through, the High Court will strike it down and many people will have suferred meanwhile."

Our suffering will be the only way to get rid of these laws - it seems to me that once these laws are in place, we will be forced to resort to peaceful civil disobedience in order to bring these laws to the attention of the High Court.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Andy Christy I was thinking along similar lines when the ABC broke into scheduled programming to show the aftermath of the London bombings as I am thinking along still.

It's a little off-topic and conspiratorial, so best read here.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Richard Tonkin: "The Legislation discussed in my last post is here..."

Thanks for the link, Richard. But…

This is a discussion document from 1998. The legislation that was introduced three decades ago in the UK was this 1974 Act, which has been embellished considerably since. Notice how incredibly mild and tightly focused the original is by today's standards. A terrorist was defined as an active member of a proscribed organisation, and there had to be evidence that someone belonged to or knowingly assisted such an organisation for the Act to be used against them. There was none of this crap about anyone's rights being suspended because they might know something about someone who knows something. No drivel about getting seven years for thinking Bad Thoughts about the government.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Richard Tonkin It is not only the Irish who need worry. There were many Australians who supported and gave money to the ANC and Nelson Mandela. I am not sure how many realise it but the ANC was regarded as a terrorist organisation almost up until it won government in a democratic South Africa and Nelson Mandela was (and some say still is) on the CIA and FBI list of known terrorists.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Might I suggest, Damian, that the reason there are no other protests yet planned is because most people are not overly worried about the new laws. I might further predict that the NSW protest will be attended by the usual anti-Howard mob - and not too many of them either. These laws are not as unpopular as many people are making out on Webdiary.

ed Hamish: They should be Dylan. This is not about the 'popularity' of the laws. Neither is it about 'Left' and 'Right' or whether we'd prefer a Labor or Liberal government. The only people who have nothing to be concerned about with this legislation are those who wish to see democracy radically deteriorate.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Sue, thanks for that post! This thread by itself is becoming a full time occupation. Many resources, little time to pressure the pollies - we all need to work quickly and smartly. Use those state and federal parliamentary email addresses everyone! Send them all a copy of Sue's post SNIP or the original.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

I'm on the mailing list for Jon Stanhope's press releases, where this went up today: SCHOLARS GIVE VERDICT ON DRAFT TERROR LAWS.

Three prominent experts in human rights and international law have contributed their thoughts to the debate on the proposed counter-terrorism laws drafted by the Howard Government.

At the request of the ACT Government, the Professor of International Law at the University of NSW, Andrew Byrnes, the Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the ANU, Hilary Charlesworth, and Gabrielle McKinnon, from the Regulatory Institutions Network at the ANU, examined the first draft of the laws to gauge the extent to which crucial human-rights guarantees made by the Prime Minister at last month’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments had been incorporated.


An electronic version of the analysis is here.

The main points appear to be these:

a. The preventative detention order regime breaches the human rights to be free from arbitrary detention and to due process and cannot be said to be subject to an effective procedure of judicial review that provides adequate safeguards against violations of the human rights of the persons affected,

b. The control order regime breaches the right to be free from arbitary detention, to a fair trial, to freedom of movement, to privacy and family life, and to the presumption of innocence.

The review also suggests that at least as far as the preventative detention and control order provisions go, the guarantees the Howard gave at COAG were not honored.

Haven't had time to read in full yet.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Thank you Kerri. You've saved a lot of us a lot of time. Will make use of at least some of those.

I am as worried as most I think but I also still have a hold on the Australian way, the fair go country that Howard misuses all the time. To me that country is still there and what's happening is mainly due to apathy, indifference and a lack of knowledge of historical equivalents etc. Plus evil rodents.

That though is just hope, not faith and I too will do what I can to raise awareness and provoke opposition to this stupid legislation.

Like others have said, this sort of legislation really does absolutely nothing to prevent terrorism at all. What it does and will do, is make all Australians anxious, afraid and less likely to speak out.

Terrorists are not stupid. They can read and see where any laws leave openings and, after all, the sort of terroism we may face does not care about laws and penalties at all. Suicide bombing holds no consequences other than maiming or death for them so why would Howard's new legislation worry them in the slightest? It won't, it will affect the innocent more so.

As a white Australian who is anxious (mild word) about this government, just imagine how refugees, Muslims and other groups which may be racially profiled must feel. If I was in those groups I think I'd be packing my bags and going elsewhere given the potential of these proposed changes. Somewhere safe like...?

On the opposing issue I see little point approaching any Labor MPs. They will already be opposed simply because it's not their legislation. Despite that they are indeed very quiet and simply proving again how ineffective they are.

I pin my hopes in the few Coaltion MPs and Senators who know this is wrong/bad and may just need more support.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Chris Shaw, I hear you.

The first thing is that this is "Howard's terror plan" we're talking about. That's the meme already spreading around the globe.

In fact, until Stanhope published Howard's terror plan it was "Howard's secret terror plan".

Now thanks to Stanhope we can see it is "Howard's secret terror plan exposing any one of us to 'shoot to kill' and execution by error".

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

First, thanks Kerri for the bucket load of useful resources. Are there, I wonder, any other protests in other states?

If not, why not?!!

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

From the NSW Council for Civil Liberties:

Against the proposed Anti-Terrorism Legislation?

We are considering staging a joint protest, against the proposed anti-terrorism legislation, with Doctors Against The Law outside Kirribilli House this coming Sunday 23 October.

We are gauging support for a rally at this stage and would appreciate it if you would indicate any intention to attend as well as likely numbers of attendees by replying to this email before 5pm today (Wednesday 19 October).

If the protest goes ahead we will advise you of details by email this Friday.

Yours faithfully

Susan Smith
Executive Secretary
NSW Council for Civil Liberties

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Hey Jozef, I am currently re-reading Tom Stoppard's 'Professional Foul', the play dedicated to Vaclav Havel. Even better the second time around.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Nice bit of 1984 spin from Queensland Nationals president Bruce Scott speaking on Barnaby Joyce:

"We've certainly had discussions with Barnaby wanting to help him through this situation".

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

This is a campaign like no other. Let's use the Howard Government's own methods against them.

We know that they put a reverse-spin on anything they want to foist upon the public. Names and catch-phrases are crucial to garnering the public's attention and moulding their point of view.

Point of view is everything, but it's not the spin-doctor's exclusive territory. We can fight them for the high ground. We are as good, if not better than they.

Sometimes the simplest idea can flip one's point of view. Then a new meme is born. By repeating the meme a new awareness is created.

A simple meme:

1. The terror bill is a wooden horse.

2. It is also Johnny's shield.

3. With ASIO's help it will become his force-field.

More please team - thinking caps on.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Malcolm: "If it passes, it will filter through, the High Court will strike it down and many people will have suferred meanwhile."

Malcolm, just off the top of your head (no, I'm not seeking free legal advice!), on what grounds do you think it will be struck down? Given that we (unlike the UK and the USA) have no Bill of Rights, are these proposed laws in any way illegal?

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Can anyone say what would have happened had these laws existed between 1965-83 - as in what would have happened to the Vietnam protest movement and the Pedder and Franklin greens?

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Hamish is quite right Dylan Kissane, when he says: “This is not about the 'popularity' of the laws.”

I might remind you that the majority of the German people in March 1933 were more than happy to give up their democratic rights entirely in exchange for the security they believed Hitler was going to provide them after the ‘communists’ burned down the Reichstag. Hitler made the Jews and communists the enemies of Germany and the Germans fell for it. Howard has made Islam and so-called ‘illegal immigrants’ the enemies of Australia and, as you suggest Dylan Kissane, Australians are falling for it.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

My preliminary view, Margaret Morgan, is that the High Court will take the view that they offend Chapter III of the Constitution. The Court has held in a number of instances that there is one judicial system throughout the Commonwealth. Anything which fetters the judiciary when exercising a Federal Power contrary to the intent of the Constitution at the time it was enacted is beyond power either of State or Federal Parliaments. That is why there are no majority verdicts in Commonwealth criminal matters (although some States do have them for State trials). Kable's Case is authority for the proposition that preventive detention is unlawful throughout the Commonwealth. That is why the runt is trying to get the States to pass it to try and get around the decision. Don't think they can do it, and this sort of thing offends almost the entirety of the conservative Bench (with one notable exception who shall remain nameless because I have to appear before him from time to time).

That said, there is considerable authority for the proposition that, in wartime, the Defence power can be used for various draconian purposes. If anyone can point me to the Governor-General placing the Armed Forces on a war footing I'd be pleased to see it. [See my post on another thread about the Communist Party Case and follow the link particularly to the judgement of the then Chief Justice, Sir John Latham who was in a minority of 1 to 6).

I may, of course, be wrong, but this just offends every sensibility of English justice since the Civil War. I do keep harping on about that don't I? The funny thing is, this time it's the people v Parliament not Parliament v The King.

In a democracy, I know who's supposed to win out.

Yours aye.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Like most people who are dedicated to the arts of deceit Howard relies heavily on a bevy of tactics, repetition regardless of contradiction, using emotional resonance to substitute for thought, and good old fashioned projection, accusing your opponents of what you yourself are doing. The latter frequently emerges in this government's version of Newspeak, where a word or phrase actually means its opposite, WorkChoices is the latest example, anti-terror laws that place intimidatory and secretive coercions in the hands of government functionaries is another, since on any measure the list of sanctions are more about putting terror into the targeted population than preventing terror.

Indeed, in the case of these draconian pieces of illiberalism we are moving into Kafkaesque realms. Consider, your mother, father, brother, sister, spouse phones you, "hello you say", "hi" they say "I just wanted to let you know I'm safe" and then they hang up. Like anyone used to living in a totalitarian state you'll be able to read the code. They are not safe, they are in the hands of the secret police and can be for at least 14 more days. You cannot tell anyone, not even that they are "safe" or you can also be arrested. Because to say they are safe actually means they have been arrested and are outside the legal system the rest of us are in. They are no longer Western citizens with Western citizens rights.

I can just see John Howard, in absurd Kafka moment proclaiming, "we are all safe now".

These laws will go through, the question is what to do.

Only a segment of the population sees this for what it is, and fewer still may be brave enough to act. However, lessons from places as disparate as the United States, the Soviet Union and India make it clear acting in numbers is best, and mass civil disobedience that exposes the absurdity as well as the outrageousness of this should be an effective tactic.

For starters a web list of those who declare their determination to not co-operate with these laws (we will declare the safety of our loved ones no matter what!) or the authorities enforcing them would be a good start. This would echo the podpisatel movement (roughly, those willing to sign) in the USSR, where dissidents, bravely, publicly registered their objections as citizens against the violation of human rights and Soviet law by Soviet authorities. The cost may be jail but they can't jail everyone, and a continual stream of postings that signatories x y and z have all been declared "safe" should shame the govt before the world if not before the more zealous and rabbit minded of the Australian population. Of course such a website may have to be located off shore. Like the Chinese regime the govt should be placed in a position where perhaps it is next trying to ban access to overseas websites in order to defend the integrity of its laws, thus exposing their absurdity even further.

This government must be resisted, but as mockingly as possible. While depraved and stupid these laws are also perfect fodder for humour. However, networks are amongst the first things we need to build, just as was done for draft resistors during the Vietnam obscenity. Next, protocols and support for friends and relatives of those arrested, and advice for the arrested themselves, need to be put together. The press will also have to work out where it stands when people begin reporting detentions in definace of the laws. Will any press outlets be brave enough to publish?

There are a number of battles ahead, but they are worth fighting. This sort of policy is after all the biggest threat to Western civilisation since World War II and its aftermath. Insurgents against Howard’s terror laws anyone?

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

What nonsense Damien Lataan, "I might remind you that the majority of the German people in March 1933 were more than happy to give up their democratic rights entirely in exchange for the security they believed Hitler was going to provide them after the ‘communists’ burned down the Reichstag."

I AM going to remind you that Hitler came to power in a co-alition government. It was later that that government initiated the "reforms" that made it possible for him to govern in his own right.

Not trying to be nasty, lad, just accurate (adrenaline levels still not down from cross-examining a loan-shark today - Duncan 1; loan shark -50).

Yours aye,

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Damian and Ross, don't thank me, thank librarians. As Nancy Pearl, defender against America's Homeland Security laws says: Being a librarian is how you change the world.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Hey Kerri, not a problem. Thanks withdrawn. I mistakenly assumed you had collected the information in the post as you signed your name to it.

Thanks instead to those who actually did the work, and the post.

Appears thanking people is viewed neagtively so I herewith propose to cease such.

ed Kerri: Ross, thank you for your consideration! I didn't mean to reject your thanks - but I believe in giving credit where credit is due ... (and having trained as a librarian myself...)

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Objections on the grounds of Godwin's Law be damned. In fact, objectors should have a look at the original formulation of Godwin. Anyone who hasn't seen the parallels needs to have a look at some of the historical details.

Here is a collation of short excerpts from this site, which is mirrored at many other URL's. It describes events in Berlin in March 1933. See if any of it resonates…

"… Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels put together a brilliant public relations display at the official opening of the newly elected Reichstag. On March 21, in the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the burial place of Frederick the Great, an elaborate ceremony took place designed to ease public concern over Hitler and his gangster-like new regime. …

Later that same day, Hindenburg signed two decrees put before him by Hitler.

The first offered full pardons to all Nazis currently in prison…

The second decree signed by the befuddled old man allowed for the arrest of anyone suspected of maliciously criticizing the government and the Nazi party.

A third decree signed only by Hitler and Papen allowed for the establishment of special courts to try political offenders. These courts were conducted in the military style of a court-martial without a jury and usually with no counsel for the defense...

On March 23, the newly elected Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler's Enabling Act. It was officially called the "Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich." If passed, it would in effect vote democracy out of existence in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler…

Before the vote, Hitler made a speech in which he pledged to use restraint.
'The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures...The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one,' Hitler told the Reichstag.

He also promised an end to unemployment and pledged to promote peace with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But in order to do all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act. A two-thirds majority was needed, since the law would actually alter the constitution. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it. He got those votes from the Catholic Center Party after making a false promise to restore some basic rights already taken away by decree."

The rest, as they say, is history.

If you check out the links, it will be evident that achieving the 2/3 majority in the Reichstag was also helped by arresting most of the Leftie members first, and using SA thugs to intimidate voters. Hopefully, that sort of thing won't start here until next year at the earliest.

Additionally, this site compares Bushite attitudes and aspects of the US PATRIOT Act with Hitler's enabling legislation.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

In George Orwell’s 1984 the Rulers of Oceania, by their language of newthink and process of doublethink, convinced the masses that statements formerly considered irrational were rational. In other words, virtual reality became actual reality. The Party's slogans, accepted by the ruled, were "War is Peace", "Freedom is Slavery", and "Ignorance is Strength". Our Rulers seem to have us well along these same paths, with new realities surfacing each year. Another one, "Injustice is Justice", has become apparent. Especially when the CIA is using mental torture to interrogate people in US military prisons in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, and when it thinks physical torture is necessary, it kidnaps people and physically tortures them in countries like Egypt and Jordan. If there is no rational explanation, the only thesis must be the Orwellian one: in US today, injustice is justice.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Hi, does anyone know of a basic 2 page summary document of what's wrong with these laws (preferably written by a lawyer)? I'm just looking for analysis, not commentary, if that makes sense. Something like the PIAC analaysis only shorter than 47 pages!

The link to Alastair Nicholson's speech leads to a statement of copyright. Try substituting http://www.sisr.net/apo/Nicholson.doc

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Interested Webdoggies might want to have a sniff at this turnout…

FORUM ON THE NEW TERRORISM LAWS, Manning Clark House Canberra, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest, ACT 2603, Wednesday October 26, 5–7pm, Light refreshments 5pm, presentation starts 5.30pm
Please be seated by 5.25pm, free of charge

Chair: David Marr
Speakers: 1. Professor Penelope Mathew, ANU Law School. Professor Mathew teaches International Law, International Law of Human Rights. Dr Mathew's research interests are in international law, human rights law and refugee law.

2. Assoc Professor Alexander Gordon was head of the International Intelligence Unit of the Australian Federal Police, and an ANU fellow in the School of Strategic and Defence Studies. He currently lectures in terrorism studies.

3. Clive Williams, research interests are terrorism and politically motivated violence. He has been Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) Attaché in Washington, and Director of Security Intelligence. He is currently at the ANU.

Information, and discussion on the potential consequences of the new terrorism laws.

RSVP: Liz Shaw 6295 9433 or manningclark@ozemail.com.au.

Peter immemorial Woodforde

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

A bit off topic, but since some analogies with the Nazi era are being used to illustrate many of the comments being made about Howard’s anti-terrorism proposals it may be useful to show a quick chronology of the sequence of events that ultimately gave Hitler full dictatorial powers.

Both the 31 July 1932 and the 6 November 1932 Reichstag elections ended in deadlock. While the Nazis were the biggest single party in the Reichstag in both elections, they still were not able to produce a majority nor were they willing to govern in coalition.

On the 17 November 1932, Franz von Papen, the Chancellor, resigned. Two days later the German President, von Hindenburg, invited Hitler to form a coalition government. Hitler’s attempt to form such a government failed. Instead, on 4 December 1932, Kurt von Schleicher managed to form some kind of ministry, albeit an extremely fragile one, via a coalition of centrist and left parties. By 28 January 1933 this failed and Schleicher too resigned the Chancellorship. Germany was now in crisis. Since most of the major German state parliaments were already in Nazi hands and after some very complex wheeling and dealing and much behind the scenes arm-twisting (mostly literally) the befuddled Hindenburg finally gave the penultimate top job, Chancellor, to Hitler. At noon on 30 January 1933 Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

But still no full dictatorial powers as such. On the evening of the 27 February 1933, just a week before yet another election to resolve the impasse created by a lack of a majority, the Reichstag burnt to the ground. The communists were immediately blamed.

The 4 March 1933 election saw the Nazis with 288 seats in the Reichstag which now sat in the Kroll Opera House. It was by far the largest single party, but still not a majority. Meanwhile the Enabling Act was being put together. Due to most of the Communist party Reichstag members being either locked up by SA brownshirt storm troopers or simply terrorised into staying away from the parliament while the vote went ahead, the Enabling Act went through, though not without much turmoil inside and outside the Kroll Opera House. The story is a lot more complex than that but that is the upshot of it. Hitler now almost had full dictatorial powers. I say ‘almost’; the ancient and ailing Hindenburg was still around as President – Hitler’s next target.

Hitler had to wait until 2 August 1934, the day that Hindenburg died, to realise his dream of being complete dictator of Germany. On that same day Hitler merged the titles of President and Chancellor and officially became Fuehrer of the German Reich and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Over the next few days all the officers and men of Germany’s armed forced swore a personal allegiance to Hitler. The transformation was complete.

Possibly the best narrative of this period can be found in William L Shirer’s classic work The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Chapters 5, 6 and 7, though there are various other works which deal in great detail with some of the specific aspects outlined here.

re: Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

Malcolm B Duncan, in the interests of accuracy I did not suggest that Hitler did not come to power via a coalition government; I merely suggested that the German people were more than happy to give up their democratic rights entirely in exchange for the security they believed Hitler was going to provide them after the ‘communists’ burned down the Reichstag. I should remind you that it was on 23 March 1933, a little over a month after the Reichstag fire, that Hitler was handed full dictatorial powers via the Enabling Act.

Little wonder that your adrenaline levels are down laddie.

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