Published on Webdiary - Founded and Inspired by Margo Kingston (/cms)

Three weeks until new year's day, 1984

By Margo Kingston
Created 19/10/2005 - 08:15

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 [1]  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 [2],  to enable the implementation of the new measures. At a press conference [3]  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 [4], compiled by Roy Jordan, which features the key  existing terrorism [5] legislation,  a chronology and commentary.

Draft legislation relating to the COAG CommuniquéTerrorism Chronology [6]  as soon as they are available.

The COAG Communiqué [7] 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 [8] 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 [9] on the 'What's New' section of his website.

Official statements-proposals announced on 8 September 2005Counter-terrorism  laws strengthened [10], media release, Parliament House, Canberra,8 September 2005.

Reactions to the Prime Minister's proposalsEngagement or  confrontation? [11], media release Sydney, 9 September 2005.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Avalanche of opposition  to government's new terror laws [12], media release, Sydney, 9 September  2005.

Law Council of Australia, Don't rush to 'rubber  stamp' anti-terror measures, Law Council warns, [13] media release,  Melbourne, 9 September 2005.

Law Institute of Victoria, LIV condemns counter-terrorism  package [14], media release, Melbourne, 9 September 2005.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties, PM's  new counter-terrorist package: recipe for a police state [15], media  release, Sydney, 9 September 2005.

Crispin Hull, Opinion:  The fatal flaws in Ruddock's anti-terror plan [16], Canberra Times,13 September 2005.

Ben Saul, Opinion:  Without safeguards, new laws are suspect [17]. Sydney Morning Herald,  19 September 2005. Note generally the UNSW Gilbert &  Tobin Centre of Public Law Terrorism  and Law Resource [18] 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 [19], 23 September 2005

Jon Stanhope (ACT Chief Minister), Opinion:  Security 'solutions' cause for concern [20], Canberra Times, 23  September 2005.

K. Beazley (Leader of the Opposition), Opposition  calls for intelligence-based special police counter terrorism powers [21], media release, 25  September 2005.

Law Council of Australia, No place for politics  and populism at Anti-terrorism Summit [22], media release, Melbourne,  26 September 2005.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Safeguards Needed  for New Terror Laws [23], media release, Sydney, 26 September 2005.

Australian Homeland Security Research Centre, Critical  Issues for the COAG Research Summit [24], National Security Practice  Notes, September 2005.

ABC TV, COAG  meeting will discuss proposed counter-terrorism legislation [25], 7.30  Report, 26 September 2005.

N. Stott Despoja (Australian Democrats Senator), COAG  must protect rights [26], 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 [27], Canberra, 27 September 2005.

ABC radio, Police worried about  legal action from anti-terrorism laws [28], AM, 27 September 2005.

Phillip Boulten, SC, 'Australia's  Terror Laws: The Second Wave [29]', Australian Prospect, Winter  2005 (online only).

Official statements-COAG meeting on 27 September 2005Special  COAG meeting on counter-terrorism [30], media release, Parliament  House, Canberra, 27 September 2005.

Transcript [31]  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 [32], Parliament House, Canberra, 27 September  2005.

Reactions to the COAG meeting outcomesNew terrorism laws-Tough on terror, tough on human rights [33],  media release, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sydney,  27 September 2005.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Preventative  detention threatens all Australians [34], media release, Sydney,  27 September 2005.

Gerard Henderson, Opinion:  The 'ayes' have it on anti-terrorism laws [35], Sydney Morning Herald,  27 September 2005.

ABC News online, Anti-terrorism  laws do not go far enough: Beazley [36], 28 September 2005.

Michael Harvey, Terrorists  among us [37]. Herald Sun, 28 September 2005.

Michelle Grattan, Opinion:  Are we really safer now? [38], The Age, 28 September 2005.

M. Steketee. Opinion:  Human rights under threat in the war against terror [39]. The Australian,  29 September 2005.

K.C. Boey, Letter  from Australia: War against terror [40], New Straits Times, Malaysia,  2 October 2005:

ABC Radio National, panel discussion [41]  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 [42], 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 [43], 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 [44], 13 October 2005.

Human Rights Watch, Australia:  Anti-Terrorism Proposal Threatens Civil Liberties [45], media release,  13 October 2005.

UK legislationpreventative detention [46]  and control  orders [47] can be found on the UK Home Office Terrorism website [48]  (includes reviews of terrorism legislation).

See also the report [49]  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 [50] 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 [51] online on 12 October 2005.

For further detail,  please consult the Parliamentary Library's Law Internet Resource  Guide on terrorism [52].



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

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