Federal

Jan 11, 2018

Turnbull’s terrifying new ‘espionage’ laws endanger many innocent people

This move adds yet another layer on existing legislation that is designed to protect the government from embarrassment, rather than from genuine threats.

Greg Barns and Anna Talbot

Barrister and writer / Lawyer

If the Turnbull government gets its way, proposed legislation — introduced on the day the same-sex marriage law passed the House of Representatives a few weeks ago — means that innocent people could be treated and punished as foreign agents for simply doing their job or following their principles. Such reforms would be dangerous; laws that unnecessarily undermine fundamental rights do not make us safer.

Last year, the Prime Minister established a review into espionage and foreign interference, to assess whether existing laws met the challenges of the modern age. The outcome of the report is confidential, but we have been “assured” that there is an urgent need for reform.

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11 comments

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11 thoughts on “Turnbull’s terrifying new ‘espionage’ laws endanger many innocent people

  1. leon knight

    Is there a section called “Mein Kampf”?

    1. bref

      Its only a matter of time, we already have the black uniforms.

  2. Jude

    When people read this article I hope they recall Turnbull’s role in wrecking the NBN. He is singularly incapable of framing good public laws because his own personal and private interests are always the focus of his attention. He is a narcissist of the first, second and third order. Forget about the good Turnbull miraculously appearing; this is the real man. He is a hollow man. We need to resist these proposed laws mightily.

    1. CML

      Amen to that, Jude!!
      Are there any sane, reasonable people still available to run the show in this, or many other, so called democracies?

    2. klewso

      After promising so much, has anyone been so smug in their own deficit delivery?
      A mountebank who wants to use his position to shut down scrutiny.

  3. Gregory Bailey

    I strongly suspect that this is Turnbull (et.al. especially Abbott, Dutton and Abetz) showing his true colours. Yes, his lust for the position of prime minister–which has nothing to do with leadership–to some extent conceals his hard right credentials. He has seemingly hidden these for many years whilst projecting himself as a small L Liberal in a political system that has moved strongly to the right over the past thirty years.
    The real fear I have is that with the obvious bankruptcy of neoliberalism in all of its avatars–and the rapid emergence of climate change as a real threat–those who want to maintain the wealth of the 1%, and refuse to redistribute it, will stone wall until there occurs some kind of violent reaction. Either there will be a return to neofeudalism with massive wealth and privilege inequities, or serious violence brought on by these inequities and the ravages of climate change. Turnbull will stand with the neofeudalists as he always had, despite what the once independent media might have (still) said.

  4. Alex

    Does that mean that Alexander Downer would be guilty of espionage 🙂

  5. AR

    I wonder each day at what impels Talcum to continue his political coprophagy.
    He doesn’t need the money, nor the tawdry Lodge, he has trashed and thrashed every principle to which he ever pretended, he can expect to leave no legacy of his tenure and when he fulfils Enoch Powell’s dictum he’ll be more rapidly forgotten than the Rodent. (who, unfortunately keeps popping up recently, the eternal unflushable turd)
    Can it be that he has some cunning plan, to use Dunnuttin, as he does Morriscum, as a lighting rod or target for all the opprobrium that this nonsense will attract.
    If the torys lose, none of this matters, it’s not as if Labor would grovel in the gutter and pull out the rotting corpse of legislation, give it a quick duco and parade as sound policy.
    But, if by some miracle they win, it is almost certain that Dunnuttin, on the thinnest of margins, will be out on his ugly mug.
    That would be a win for this country.

    1. Karen Hutchinson

      AR….one of your best and your wordsmithery teeters on mesmerizing.

  6. Administrator

    We are “assured” these powers are necessary. Remember when the rodent assured us he had seen the evidence of WOMD, he could not tell us about it, but the evidence was “compelling”? Australians died for that lie by the “intelligence” community.
    Truffles tells us that with his new espionage powers under this Bill, he will expose foreign influence to sunlight. But he cannot even expose those past acts which he claims justifies the new powers he seeks.
    And he would define asylum-seeking as criminal. Does the obscenity completely escape him?
    If democracy still involves any consent by the governed, this Bill fails the test.

    1. raemec

      Democracy is where you tell the electorate you will cross the floor on a conscience vote e.g. sending the ADF to war to punish them evil Jihadists. Reality is where the Caucus and party hacks let you know your seat won’t be available at the next election if you do so.

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