Labor and national security

John Richardson writes:  Re. “Crikey says: Shorten must step up on national security” (yesterday). So, Crikey hopes that “Blinky Bill” Shorten will save us from the shackles of unfettered government surveillance of our daily lives? Well, good luck with that. After all, the relentless but largely hidden campaign by the intelligence agencies and the AFP to promote the need for the latest round of “anti-terror” laws has been underway for years and won the support of Labor when they were in government.

To expect Labor to do anything other than to try and keep up appearances by casting themselves as the latter-day defenders of our freedoms is to credit it with principles it abandoned long ago in its quest to be on the right side of power. It was the late and controversial Christopher Hitchens who warned us: “the trade-off between freedom & security, so often proposed so seductively, very often leads to the loss of both.”

Nevertheless, it would be odd indeed if Australians were not willing to forego their freedoms for the false promise of the security and ignorance they seem to crave.

Peter Matters writes: The Abbott Government is too dumb to understand a) that the law is no longer a cornerstone of civilisation but a desperate means of last resort used only by the stupid and ignorant, b) prevention of the conditions leading to terrorism is morally superior, infinitely more effective and many billions of taxpayers’ dollars cheaper than pseudo dictatorial legislation. Instead of showing inspirational leadership, the Opposition displays some well meaning but ineffective spin.

On the IPA and the ABC

John Lawrence writes: Re. The ABC debate: we have Mamamia and Buzzfeed,we don’t need the ABC anymore” (October 24). Most interesting to see the words “fair-minded” being used by James Paterson, deputy executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs, regarding the ABC. I’m not entirely convinced he or his colleagues in the IPA have any real understanding of the term, judging by most of the media releases from this particular group. His comments appear to be more “free kicks” than serious analysis of the ABC as an organisation.