Oct 4, 2017

Turnbull’s proposed detention law is a victory for terrorists

Turnbull's legislation threatens “one of the most fundamental safeguards of personal liberty”.

Greg Barns — Barrister and writer

Greg Barns

Barrister and writer

Locking up someone for 14 days without charge in a terrorism investigation might enable a desperate government to win some points with voters but it is a charter for police abuse and any "evidence" obtained is likely to be of little value and rejected by a court as unfairly obtained.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s proposal, similar to one mooted by Victoria’s government recently, is part of a package of new anti-terror laws he is proposing. If these laws see the light of day, it will bring to around 75 the number of anti-terror laws considered by, and in the main passed, by the federal Parliament since 9/11.

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23 thoughts on “Turnbull’s proposed detention law is a victory for terrorists

  1. John Hall

    There’s no evidence we need this smoke in our rapidly deteriorating democracy – shame on you Turnbull.

  2. MJM

    Of course he has to ramp up the war on terror. He has no achievements to point to after 25 months as PM and the LNP has fallen again in 2pp polls. When we thought he might be a civil libertarian we were wrong – misled by the Spycatcher case and the leather jacket wearing appearances on Q&A. ” threaten[ing] “one of the most fundamental safeguards of personal liberty”” does not worry him at all.

  3. Gordon Sharp

    Was not all this in place BEFORE Dr Haneef’s case? Special secret judges in closed secret courts with security agency appointed “defence” lawyers drawn from a secret Coalition-loyal panel; exact nature of charges and evidence not to be known to the accused? 14 day detention, renewable by ministerial fiat; a long-sentence gaolable criminal offence to tell anyone at any time in the future where you had been, if you were released without actually being gaoled for the alleged offence?
    Like Lear’s Father William, I am old, and memory is not perfect, but my memory is that Dr Haneef was lucky to be taken before a normal Queensland state magistrate who ran an open court.

    1. lykurgus

      It was 7 days (talked down from then-AG Daryl Williams’ original 14, ‘cos the Rodent was such a good bloke), but otherwise yes.

  4. 124C4U

    I grew up in South Africa during the Apartheid years and saw how a Government went from a sort of democracy to a full on totalitarian state. Complete with all the trappings like Secret Police, informer network, unlimited police power, and full control of the military. All this to ensure the existence of the ruling Afrikander National Party.
    What I’m now seeing here in Australia is a repeat of all the measures used in S Africa being slowly introduced. The same excuse is also being used – “we need these measures/laws to deal with terrorist threats”.
    Be alert my fellow citizens, this could all come around to bite us peasants and ruin our way of life.

    1. Rais

      And in South Afrika they didn’t have all the surveillance technology that governments now have. At the same time as normalising detention without charge they want to put everybody’s driver’s licence or passport photo on a nationwide database and use it to trace our prescence in any shopping centre, warehouse or airport, all the time. Of course these details will NEVER be hacked and stolen because, well, because Malcolm says they won’t. Yes, that Malcolm. The one who thinks the law of gravity is Trumped by Australian law. Robben Island here we come, all they need to do is extend the leases on the Manus and Nauru centres.

  5. Graeski

    The ‘N’ in LNP stands for ‘Nazi’. These traitors to Australia and it’s democracy have a deep, deep commitment to Fascism.

  6. lykurgus

    He has to do SOMETHING – promising to convene some meetings to look into, the prospect of proposing, to eventually join the other 67* nations that can find the $8M/yr* to have a space agency, didn’t persuade enough people of his agile innovative doingness (it was a Snowy 2-point-fuck-it). So he had to be decisive and doingy on something easier.

    *(not typos)

    1. 124C4U

      Too tru Lykurgus.
      One (this one anyway) wonders how Mal Talkbull plans to keep a space agency up and running when the lights keep going out and the computers keep shutting down due to a shortage of electrickery.
      A STUDY into the possibility of a Snowy 2.0 is not going to provide anything other than Photo opps and B/S rights. That is all that is on the table so far.

  7. Rais

    So we move closer and closer to the authoritarian model we used to criticise. I seem to remember there used to be a Senator named David Leyonhjelm who described himself as a libertarian, opposed to government becoming too intrusive and, yes, authoritarian. Is he silent or is the media conspiracy such that he is now involuntarily silenced? Could Crikey, which is not into silencing pollies with interesting views, invite him to an interview specifically about his position on detention without charge?

  8. Djbekka

    I’ll add two other pauses for thought to the list already suggested by the previous commenters.
    First, a number of those who have been arrested before hand or actually committed a terrorist act were young – teens or early twenties, some described as loners or even anti-social. Detention for 14 days will not convince any of those very young men to desist from terrorism. Indeed the time in detention may make them even more convinced that Australia has nothing for them.
    Second, we seem to read repeatedly of men who later go on to injure or kill female partners or ex-partners are released on bail or given very short prison terms and then early parole. While I agree that locking them up may not prevent the domestic terrorism they already have form for at the time of their bail, short sentencing or parole, why is there not a legislative rush of attempts to intervene in their offending and the attitudes that allow the violence against their partners? Or even legislation and funding of services to protect the partners and children?

  9. Camm

    The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission already has the power to indefinitely hold someone in detention without legal recourse under its standing royal commission powers and the associated power to compel.

  10. zut alors

    Turnbull & Co are so busy violating International Human Rights that it’s surprising they have time to manage three breaches of the ICCPR for 14 day detention.

    It made our eyes roll when Turnbull announced Snowy Hydro 2.0 but, frankly, I’d be happy if his days were monopolised (dawn to dusk) by this horse-&-buggy project rather than him turning his attention to tinkering with our rights & soil everything he touches. Everything.

    I cannot think of one thing he has not botched.

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