Jun 14, 2018

How 2014 ushered in the new police state era in Australia

A confluence of factors has meant that the past four years have seen the development of a police state in Australia aimed at punishing dissent. But ultimate responsibility lies with voters.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Why has the drift to an anti-dissent police state in Australia accelerated since 2014? It's a conjunction, or perhaps coincidence, of several factors.

The Liberals' illiberalism

The purported liberalism of the Liberal Party is only ever heard of in opposition. When Labor's then-Attorney-General Nicola Roxon raised a data retention scheme, the opposition Liberal partyroom expressed concern and George Brandis and Malcolm Turnbull condemned it. After a change of government, Brandis and Turnbull led the charge to implement what they had condemned in opposition. Being in government literally erases the liberalism of Liberal moderates, who transform into national security hardliners the moment they obtain power. 

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18 thoughts on “How 2014 ushered in the new police state era in Australia

  1. 1984AUS

    Yes the ultimate responsibility does lie with the voters.

    Unfortunately they are not informed, deliberately not informed via the least diverse media in the supposed first/free world.

    Try not accessing any media information other than that obtainable via the MSM genres TV, print, radio which is what the majority of voters are subjected to and brainwashed with – I did this recently for two weeks, it was a most salutatory and informative experiment and explains how the Coalition ever get elected.

  2. graybul

    . . . . . so where to from here Bernard? For those of us who have watched incremental change over past years; and feared the loss of parliamentary credibility, transparency/accountability know; we have no voice. Even those around have not heeded. Many many posts; apathy, lack of vision, tolerance of mistaken beliefs abound. Public Service infiltrated, mute, not only compliant but in many departments comfortably embracing of emerging new order? Nuff said about ABC. Where now Bernard?

  3. Peter Wileman

    At dinner with friends last night
    “Dutton is a really dangerous bastard”
    “Who is Dutton?”
    “One of Malcolm’s boys”
    “Malcolm Fraser?”
    Compulsory voting means that these good, mature, financially secure, hard working folks have to decide on which way they vote. Based on???????
    Perhaps we need a license to vote.

    1. graybul

      Tears . . . . not laughing! We are truly stuffed.

    2. David Nicholas

      Dutton is not one of Malcolm’s boys. He is a horse of another colour. as they say in America. Unbridled ambition, fascist black, a Himmler contemporary.
      And as poets our duty is to warn, and warn and warn, making sure it never becomes the norm nor that we become used to this state if things.
      The state of things is always n flux but Dutton would have us fixed and obedient.

    3. Andrea

      It’s this way everywhere. The majority don’t pay attention to what doesn’t directly affect them. However I don’t see this as an argument to end compulsory voting. Most will make an effort to vote with some knowledge around election time, and our electoral system works really well here. I’d hate to go down the US path, where the have-nots defeatism stops them from voting or caring about who governs them.

      1. 1984AUS

        Compulsory voting is necessary.

        The IPA want it gone.

        IN America 3 million more people in the popular vote voted for the Democrats. The Electoral College system enabled Trump and the Republicans to be elected.

  4. klewso

    Limited News Corpse is the metasteses in our body politick – overriding healthy tissue cells – with the death of democracy the outcome.
    …. Meanwhile “Turnbull Ink;” wants to go on about how crook the likes of GetUp! and Cambridge Analytica are to “our democracy”?

  5. Hunt Ian

    Yes, it is deeply worrying Bernard. We need more voices in favour of rights against oppression, although Leyonhjelm says little on that subject and more on supposed rights for citizens to pretend that they have no collective responsibilities. Others have asked the crucial question: what can be done, when a President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, like Gillian Trigg, can be hounded in public with the help of the Murdoch Media. You are probably raising big issues about how power is wielded in Australia, which raise troubling questions for those of us who wold lie to have power really responsive to the people of Australia.

  6. Sleuth

    What we really need is a tide of anonymous whistle blowers, to divulge state secrets, including details on turnbacks, border force indiscretions, party room discussions, the processes of government regarding the formulation of these repressive laws, and the influence of undemocratic institutions, with power over elected members.

    Unfortunately, several journalists, and also editors are going to have to be arrested and jailed, before the public even begin to smell the rat in the room.

    1. AR

      If we rely on “journalists, and also editors are going to have to be arrested and jailed,” that rat will lie stinking until dehydrated & mummified.
      Perfect analogy for the body politic.

  7. covenanter

    With the plethora of variously uniformed quasi-private armed personnel in the place the actual defence forces tasked with the defence of Australians must be alarmed and alert?
    Hopefully they have plans to disarm and detain those who rival them in arms in the nation; that would be part of their job description after all.

    1. AR

      Pity about the unarmed citizenry.
      Unarmed also as in ‘no shits to give’.

      1. covenanter

        Yes, before there were “standing armies” there were the local militias, expected to rally in arms for the local defence of their villages, one assumes, and now no-one has arms?
        In his article on the Expenses of the Sovereign, Adam Smith gives a scathing assessment of those incapable of defending their own freedoms. ( Book Five, Article II) in the penultimate paragraph; “but the security of every society must always depend, more or less, upon the martial spirit of the great body of the people…. But a coward, a man incapable of defending or avenging himself, lacks one of the most essential parts of the character of a man.
        Final paragraph; A man without the proper use of the intellectual faculties of a man, is, if possible, even more contemptible than a coward,…
        Might be worth tracking down and reading the fuller account?
        Seems to correspond to many of the complaints directed towards the complacency of Australian voters, though they have long been “deceived and oppressed” by parliamentarians.

  8. MJM

    Just read this: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/home-affairs-officer-without-passport-called-in-help-to-get-on-plane-20180613-p4zl6s.html

    Who do they think they are, these Home Affairs staff, travelling overseas without a passport? The rest of us will soon need ID just to go into an airport, never mind board a flight.

    Dutton’s Dept sorely needs cutting down to size.

  9. 1984AUS

    IA also reports on the police state era that both the Coalition and Labor are imposing on the nation.

    “Porter wants two separate tranches of legislation – the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill and a Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill – to be passed before the “Super Saturday” byelections on July 28.

    Porter’s argument appears to be that unless the legislation passes in the concluding two weeks of the mid-year session of Parliament, those by-elections will be conducted in a perilous atmosphere.

    An initial version of the bill was poorly drafted. It represented an unreasonable threat to individual liberties and freedom of expression.

    It was particularly antagonistic to journalists operating in the security space. Long gaol terms for publication of unauthorised security material were incorporated.”


    In the government’s sites is Crikey, The Saturday Paper, IA, the ABC, etc and we will eventually get our very own jail a journalist episode. Thankyou Bernard Keane for reporting on this without fear.

  10. David Nicholas

    Correct, Bernard. Quite correct . Now that we know this, what do we do? How do we correct it and live to tell about it?

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