Chief Minister Jon Stanhope told the ABC today the increased terrorism risk in Australia was John Howard’s fault.
He said the Prime Minister should acknowledge that in fact our involvement in the Iraq war has come at a cost to our safety.
“To continue to heap on one group of Australians responsibility for the behaviour of people over whom they have no control, without at the same time saying: ‘and we the rest of Australia will accept our responsibility for what it is that we have done that has increased or enhanced the risk of terrorism’,” Mr Stanhope said.
“That goes straight to the heart of the Prime Minister’s responsibility and culpability in taking Australia into an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.”
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He also said the arrests made in the police raids earlier this week should not be used by the Federal Government as a reason to backflip on the concessions they have made on the anti-terrorism laws.
UPDATE: Adding to these thought on the terror laws, Mr Stanhope’s put out a press release (text below) demanding to know what Shadow Attorney General Bill Stefaniak thinks of Howard’s terror laws given his recent attacks on the Chief Minister’s stance.
FURTHER UPDATE I’ve now found Bill Stefaniak’s press release that is probably what cause this fuss from Mr Stanhope. In it, he accuses the Chief Minister of going to ground after his “attempts to straddle the world like some Colossus of human rights” were shown up by the terror raids.
WHAT DOES BILL STEFANIAK BELIEVE IN?
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope will make a submission to the Senate inquiry into the Anti-Terrorism Bill, outlining his lingering concerns with the detail of the legislation, and he has called on ACT Shadow Attorney General Bill Stefaniak to let the people of the ACT know where the ACT Liberals stand on the substance of the Bill.
â€œMr Stefaniak has been extremely vocal over the past few weeks, launching almost daily personal attacks on me, but not once has he actually come clean and told Canberrans what he, a man who sets himself up as the alternative attorney general of this Territory, actually thinks about the detail of the Prime Ministerâ€™s draft laws,â€ Mr Stanhope said today. â€œIn fact, Mr Stefaniak is even on the record boasting that he hadnâ€™t read the draft laws that have been the subject of the debate. Yet he has the gall and presumption to criticise me for trying to extract the best, fairest and most workable laws for the people of the ACT.
â€œOne can only assume that Mr Stefaniak would, if given the opportunity, have signed on the dotted line without even reading the draft laws. One can only assume that, given the chance, he would roll back the concessions made by the Prime Minister over recent weeks, concessions that have only been extracted because of the public scrutiny and considered debate the draft laws have received.
â€œOne can only assume Mr Stefaniak would reinstate the shoot-to-kill provisions that were contained in the original circulated draft, that he would gaily countenance the locking up of children without charge and without access to their parents, that he would gladly sign away an individualâ€™s right to judicial review on the merits.
â€œMr Stefaniak evidently believes that the so-called delay that resulted when the Prime Minister shifted the sign-off deadline in response to concerns raised by the Premiers and Chief Ministers â€” a delay that amounted to a whole four days â€” was an unacceptable price to pay for the significant concessions that were achieved over those final hours. One can only assume that he, a lawyer by training, would have been happy to give the nod to laws that would almost certainly have been found to be unconstitutional.
â€œBut of course it is impossible to know with any confidence what Mr Stefaniak believes about these and other issues that go to the heart of our legal traditions and our democracy, because he has so steadfastly declined to engage in a single momentâ€™s worth of debate in relation to the contents of the anti-terrorism laws. The people of Canberra already know what Bill Stefaniak thinks about me â€” he has issued no fewer than eight media releases on that subject over the past few weeks in relation to the anti-terrorism debate. What Canberrans deserve to know is what Bill Stefaniak thinks about anti-terrorism. On that, they havenâ€™t a clue.â€