Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

26th September 2005


Safeguards Needed For New Terror Laws

“The Government’s proposed anti-terror laws must provide sufficient safeguards for human rights,” said Simeon Beckett, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, on the eve of the COAG anti-terrorism summit.

“Where coercive measures are proposed the Federal and State Governments must ensure that a court makes the decision and not government officials.

“People who have coercive powers used against them must be able to challenge the basis for the use of those powers in the courts.

“If there is evidence to back up the use of such powers then in all fairness the suspect should be able to ask a court whether the use of the power is justified.

“The Federal Government has sought to restrict courts reviewing such evidence when it says it involves national security.

“This effectively removes the legitimate role of the courts to safeguard our rights in a liberal democracy.

“Sunset clauses are needed not because the threat is short-lived but because such extraordinary laws must regularly be justified to the Australian public.

“The argument that there should not be a sunset clause because the government does not know how long the threat will last ignores the need to regularly review the requirement for such laws.”

“Premier Beattie’s call for a Public Interest Monitor is supported because we know that such powers can be misused.

“The Monitor must be independent and must be given sufficient powers to monitor and inquire into police and ASIO use of these extraordinary powers including while they are being used.

“The Monitor must be able to expose to the public misuse of powers including where their use has been based on insufficient or unreasonable evidence,” said Simeon Beckett.

Contact Simeon Beckett, President ALHR: 0412 008 039

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This page last updated 26th September 2005