Police security defence
(Image: AAP/Ben Rushton)

Unsurprisingly, the newly minted national security law that allows for the deployment of military personnel within Australia on the government’s whim didn’t go down well with Crikey readers — the consensus was that it is more than a little concerning, particularly considering the recent hard-lean towards authoritarianism. Meanwhile, readers debated the trials facing Bill Shorten’s Labor on their way to next year’s election (with consensus being a little less clear-cut).

On the government’s new security powers

Rais writes: All this authority in the hands of someone who is now reported to see even our feeble rubber-stamp parliament as an obstacle to good government. Looking good for the introduction of really stable government.

Ng GJB writes: The defence force could respond quicker to “support” civilian emergency services in times of natural disaster, to resume services to communities and restore normality. Otherwise there is no reason for the military to be deployed in Australia.

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Gwen Clark writes: I was horrified. For the first time ever military force can be exercised against the public at the behest of the government. That used to be a point of delinearisation between police force and military. Military to defend against external threat and to assist in emergencies. Police to enforce law against civilians. Now there is literally nothing to prevent military force to be employed against the Australian public, including lethal force.

Peter Shulz writes: And to add insult to injury, the hypocrites who are implementing this dramatic trashing of our hard-won democratic traditions call themselves “conservatives” who bemoan the loss of our traditional values and purport to protect us against the migrants and Muslims who “hate us for our freedoms”.

On Shorten’s hurdles to the PM chair

Ben writes: I don’t think encryption will come back to haunt Shorten. Tech firms didn’t make big hay of it and journalists don’t see it as affecting their work yet, so see it as a much needed security tool — I’ve seen News Corp, Fairfax and ABC journos report it as necessary. Any egg on Labor’s face for voting for it was just seen by party and press gallery as a loss in the two-party battle on the final day.

RomeoCharlie29 writes: I think the biggest issue facing Bill Shorten is his personal performance. It is generally agreed that he is across the detail of party policies (some of which have already been identified as problematic) but as noted elsewhere he is perceived as both wishy-washy in his presentation, and downright gutless on many issues — such as the creeping nazification of our so-called security concerns. Maybe he believes that a small target is the way to go, but I am one who would prefer to see the fight taken up to the government.

Chilly Winds writes: The only thing mentioned in the article that should haunt Shorten is the Newstart thing. Why he can’t utter the words, “we’ll raise the Newstart allowance”, is completely unfathomable.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to boss@crikey.com.au. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name.

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