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Terror laws reviewed

By Kerces - 20 October 2005 7

In today’s terror wrap up: the results of Stanhope’s commissioned academic review of the draft terror legislation, Malcolm Fraser’s thoughts on the worldwode eroding of natural justice, my thoughts on Stanhope’s stand.

Jon Stanhope commissioned three human rights and international law experts to examine the draft terrorism legislation and report on whether it complied with our human rights obligations or not. The overall conclusion was that it does breach these obligations and also does not meet the guarantees John Howard gave at the COAG meeting where everyone agreed these laws would be a good thing. You can look at their report here.

The Canberra Times reports Mr Stanhope is negotiating with the Federal Government over the human rights implications. However, he said he has “not resiled from [his] commitment to this legislation or the need for it”.

He told the ABC that he has not ever said he would not support the laws but rather that he just wants them to be human rights compliant.

“I simply wish the legislative response to be framed in a way that recognises the importance of the rule of law and civil liberties and our human rights, and I hope that’s achievable,” he said.

He has also sought advice from Stephen Gageler SC, Kate Eastman SC, Lex Lasry QC and the ACT judiciary on the laws.

The Sydney Morning Herald is carrying the full text of a speech given by former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser on Wednesday (The ABC’s take on his speech is here).

His point is that the proposed terror laws go even further than the ones that are already in place to erode what he calls the “Rule of Law”.

“The laws should be opposed because the process itself is seriously flawed ‘ he said. “Instead of wide ranging discussion the Government has sought to nobble the field in secret and to prevent debate. The laws should be opposed because they provide arbitrary power which would be dependent on trust, a trust that has not been earnt.”

To finish off he quotes Thomas Paine, which I have been asked to reproduce here:

“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his own enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

And finally, I personally think Mr Stanhope has made a strong stand for democracy and transparency. He has allowed the people access to legislation the government very much wanted to be kept hidden and as such he has opened up what may well be one of the most important debates of our time. Read more of my views here.

(Also although I’ve been told to keep this to a mainly Canberra angle, if you’re interested in what else people are saying about the legislation, this is as good a place to start as any.)

[UPDATED: Laurie Oakes in The Bulletin has glowing praise for Mr. Stanhope.]

What’s Your opinion?


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7 Responses to
Terror laws reviewed
colsim 4:14 pm 20 Oct 05

Can’t remember exactly where I read it but there’s a whole other thing in there as well about the fact that if ASIO (or whoever) lock you up (without charges) for x amount of time and then decide you are innocent and let you go, it’s illegal for you to tell anyone that you were locked up without ASIO (or whoever)’s express permission.

(On the other hand, it could be a doozy of an excuse – “Why have I been away for the last five days? – I’m sorry but I don’t have permission to tell you”)

Kerces 3:46 pm 20 Oct 05

Mael I thoroughly recommend reading Malcolm Fraser’s speech if you’ve got a spare 10 or so minutes. He talks at length about what can happen to you under the current laws and how, even if you don’t have a clue what it is you’re being locked up for, you have to prove that you don’t have a clue. So the “once they find out you’re innocent” scenario isn’t that likely –it’s up to you to prove you’re innocent. Personally, I think only the guilty can prove their innocence because they’ve got something to prove.

Maelinar 2:25 pm 20 Oct 05

Ahh laws schmaws…

Everybody with half a brain knows that the great thing about laws is they keep the responsible people in place and the irresponsible disregard them (hence the whole court thing)

The whole thing is a farce, since the terrorists aren’t going to be stopped by the offchance they can be held without charge for an additional 72 hours or whatever, the government should be summarily ignored which is what you do with an insolent child who is craving attention.

The only reason this has become an issue is because the left arm of Government let out the right arm of Governments little secret, it’s all balls.

As I said, terrorists don’t abide by laws at all, the new anti-terror laws won’t stop that.

For the left of extreme left lefties out there, when you’re mistakenly arrested as a terrorist because you’ve chained yourself to a tree in Nimbin somewhere, once they find out you’re innocent there’s a little thing called ‘suing their asses off’ that’ll make them reluctant to do it again.

Nik_the_Pig 2:06 pm 20 Oct 05

Colsim, yes this is the place to vent!

Kerces 1:47 pm 20 Oct 05

Have also had this piece by Laurie Oakes pointed out to me (haven’t read it myself but it mentions Stanhope in the intro so must be relevant).

colsim 1:36 pm 20 Oct 05

I can’t wait for Howard or his dancing bears to talk about Stanhope listening only to the “elites” in this matter. Heaven forbid we ask the opinion of anyone with half a brain. (Or maybe he won’t, I’m just generally pissed off by current anti-intellectualism and by God, this seems like the place to vent 🙂

Kerces 1:00 pm 20 Oct 05

Also Deb Foskey thinks the laws are “unacceptable”.

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