Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

9th September 2005


Avalanche of Opposition to Government's New Terror Laws

“The Government’s proposed anti-terror laws remove fundamental rights of Australians living in a liberal democracy,” said Simeon Beckett, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.

“The Government needs to specifically justify why further extreme measures are needed. If the Government is to encroach yet again on the human rights of all Australians then great care needs to be taken before proposing new laws. The Prime Minister’s statement wholly failed to state a convincing basis for the raft of new laws proposed.”

“The Government has not reviewed the extraordinary laws it already has and one can only conclude that the laws have been proposed in haste following the London bombings. The government needs to directly link the reduction in actual risk to the proposed measures because they will impact on the lives of ordinary Australians.”

“It is genuinely distressing how easily the Government wishes to sacrifice hard won liberties in the face of what it says are increased risks.”

“The proposed laws against incitement appear to be an unreasonable constraint on freedom of speech. A person who speaks in support of the Iraqi insurgency will most likely fall within the Prime Minister’s category of persons ‘who communicate inciting messages against … Australia’s forces overseas and in support of Australia’s enemies’.”

“The asserted resemblance between control orders and apprehended violence orders is absent. Placing a tracking device on a person is a wholly new power that one would expect only after conviction for a criminal offence. As the government itself says such measures are based on “risk”. Judging from the current ASIO search powers that is not a power that will be exercised on the basis of evidence presented to a court.”

“Australia’s current anti-terrorism laws make it a criminal offence for the media to report use of certain ASIO powers and restrict review to an Inspector-General of Intelligence Services. One would be naive not to think that the government will extend this lack of accountability to the new laws,” said Simeon Beckett.


Contact: Simeon Beckett, President ALHR. Mobile - 0412 008 039

9 September 2005

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