Aug 6, 2014

Where’s the justification for the sudden rush for spy powers?

The government has suddenly lurched forward on national security with a huge package of reforms that strengthen our worst anti-terrorism laws without justification.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

So we’re now in the midst of a full-blown terrorism panic, with another assault on basic freedoms and more money thrown at security agencies, all justified on the basis of ISIS — a gift that has kept on giving to advocates of the War on Terror from the moment they emerged in Iraq and jumpstarted the long-dead hearts of neocons.


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22 thoughts on “Where’s the justification for the sudden rush for spy powers?

  1. Arty Boxer

    > with the onus of proof reversed for those claiming they have a legitimate purpose

    So all this data collection is still expected to be insufficient for proof.

    Meanwhile, the terrorist group of today, if successful, will be the freedom fighters of tomorrow, and perhaps eventually the government.

  2. klewso

    Maybe they can find Toady’s dog, Budget?

  3. mikehilliard

    We don’t need protection from terrorists as much as we need to be protected from this government.

  4. David Hand

    I think it’s clear what the policy initiative is trying to address. It is the departure of young men to radicalised places such as ISIS controlled Syria / Iraq who then return to Australia and may commit terrorist acts similar to the London bombings.

    It is also utterly reasonable to resist American style surveillance capability to be brought into being in the name of protecting us.

    The comment on the legality of fighting for Assad and the illegality of fighting against him is interesting but when you look through the prism of security of Australian towns, a radicalised ISIS fighter presents a greater risk than fighting for Assad.

  5. Steve777

    I am far from convinced of the need for these terrorism law changes and especially of the need to reverse the onus of proof in the case of someone travelling to trouble spots. These are some very basic and long standing legal rights we’re talking about. And terrorism, murder and sabotage and plotting to perpetrate any of these are already illegal.

    Compare and contrast with Australia’s response to the Cold War. We never legislated for draconian restrictions on communism. An attempt to ban the Communist Party was thrown out first by the High Court then by the Australian people. In contrast, a number of authoritarian regimes did promulgate draconian anti Communist laws, which they used to suppress dissidents and peaceful opposition.

    The Government needs to make its case. If Abbott and Brandis instead hector opponents, accusing anyone expressing doubts about the need for or wisdom of these proposed laws of being ‘friends of terrorists’, then we’ll know that the Government is trying to set up Jihadis as the new ‘Boats’.

  6. Bill Hilliger

    Security is a growth industry it soaks up enormous amounts of $$$$, no questions asked. Unlike the communists of a past era, with whom we make big trade $$$$ nowadays; terrorists are a never ending enemy. What more can a unaccountable payola security industry ask for?

  7. Vincent O'Donnell

    It might, too, given heightened security concerns, be the right time to ask when ASIO is to get the keys to its new home? The transparency problem has been solved, the reflective glass windows don’t fall out any more. Or is that lovely Russell Hill site going to be redeveloped as housing for the poor as the Chinese government is believed to have got their hands on the plans of the building?

  8. muruk

    This is Abbott and his squad of goons continuing the weaseling of their version of the Gestapo into Australian society. What else should we expect from this of bunch of secretive neo-fascists, an update to the more modern Stasi perhaps? Then how long will it be before each one of us has to achieve a weekly quota of denunciations in order to avoid punishment?

  9. extra

    How long will it be before they come up against a situation where the old ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ meme is applicable? they must be praying that they never have to express a view on current events in Libya. Then again, what about expressing support for the actions of the Stern Gang, the Irgun and the Haganah in British Palestine?

  10. The Pav

    Dear David Hand

    In the interests of fairness no doubt you will also condemn the number of Australians ( of all ages not just young men) who go to Israel to both serve in the army and also act as settlers in various disputed territories as this has been happening for many years

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