Australian civil liberties are looking increasingly shaky as the Australian government proposes sweeping new laws that give security services astonishing powers to control ‘people of interest’.
UP to 80 Australian Muslims could immediately be placed under effective house arrest under the Government’s proposed anti-terror laws.
The laws mean they could each be required to wear tracking devices, or prevented from working, or using the telephone or internet, or communicating with certain people.
Fancy that. The state wants to have the power to rob you of your right to make a living and put an electronic dog collar on you.
The laws will apply to anyone who has trained overseas with any of the 17 banned terror groups, including al-Qa’ida, Jemaah Islamiah, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Abu Sayyaf and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The intent of the law is that authorities leave these people alone if it is considered they no longer pose a security risk.
Oh, so that makes it okay, then?
I must confess to having mixed feelings about this. I do not want people who have been hanging around that sort of outfit running around in Australia without some sort of supervision. I loathe these barbarians and their theological nonsense, and I concede that we do not live in a perfect world.
But to see people who have not actually committed an offence to be deprived of their ordinary right to make a living, and to be dragged hither and yon at the whim of an Australian beaurocrat is almost as grating as an Islamofascist.
There are real threats that Australia have to face. This story outlines how the Australian government sees the situation. But there are some troubling aspects.
For example, there hasn’t been any sort of terrorist attack in Australia since 2001 by Islamic extremists. The report claims that they’ve already disrupted several attacks. Therefore it seems that the onus is definately on the Government to prove the case that it actually needs these new powers. Instead,
The Government insists it should be taken on trust that the new laws will be carefully implemented and used only sparingly.
Only the most casual observer of the Australian political scene will have any trust in the government’s ability to do so. The Australian government has been mired in controversy over mis-management of the immigration system, and its competence in security matters is hard to assess. And with the re-introduction of ‘sedition’ laws, the government’s ability to prosecute people for their opinions is wider then ever.
All this is troubling enough, but what is even more alarming is the way democratic governments all over the world seem to be competing with each other to take more powers to control and imprison their citizens. The common thread is that if you are different, you are a threat.
Care to explain to me how that makes dealing with real terrorists any easier?