Proving that the Melbourne Cup is
not the only compelling game in town, yesterday must surely count as one of the
most important days in the Australian Parliament in recent memory, if not
overall. We were treated to the spectacle of the Opposition – led by a
stiff-jawed Kim Beazley – resolutely opposing all aspects of the Coalition’s IR
legislation. Eleven of their number were ejected from the House during debate on
the IR laws, but joined their colleagues to cross the floor more or less in a
block to support a superficially pedantic but important amendment to the
anti-terror laws.

Most evidence seems to suggest that
the government has got the anti-terror laws right. They enjoy bipartisan
support not only from the Federal Opposition, but from the range of Labor State
Governments across Australia. Henry is on record as
having called for change in this area on the back of serious debate and, in a
promising sign for the coming Santa Season, appears to have got exactly that. The Oz, for example, provides an excellent example of the kind of discussion
that is needed to inform Australians of the issues.

Mike Steketee thinks the Laws go too
far, and while raising some very valid issues about thin edges of wedges, goes a
bit overboard, in Henry’s view, with phrases like “police state” and by claiming that
support for these laws is indicative of collective political conspiracy to
ignore issues like the road toll and heart disease.

Michelle Grattan expects quick
arrests to correspond with the speedy introduction of the legislation
amendments, and it is hard to argue with her logic, as usual. Dennis Shanahan
thinks the stakes are too high for this to be a stunt, and Henry

While there are valid concerns about
the amount of recourse available to anyone caught up in the enforcement phase of
the laws, the laws are necessary and seem to have the balance more or less

Read Henry’s full view at the
“Forum: Anti-Terror Legislation” here.