Andrew Wilkie Accuses Abbott Govt of “Crimes Against Humanity”
The following article is by Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison…
Forget dirty bombs, homegrown terrorists and death cults, the greatest terror-related threat is the Liberal and Labor parties turning Australia into a police state.
Australia’s Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs was right when she warned that over the past 14 years Australian parliaments have passed “scores of laws” that threaten fundamental rights and freedoms.
The shift began after the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US and recently accelerated, putting Australia on a cusp of becoming such a police state.
Before you dismiss this grim diagnosis, let’s step through recent examples. For instance the new national security laws handed the security services a blank cheque, cosigned by the Federal Liberal Government and Labor Opposition, both desperate to beat their chests and look tough on terror. Among other things, these laws lower the threshold for the arrest of individuals from a belief they are about to commit a crime to a suspicion they’re up to no good.
Moreover there’s the new mandatory metadata retention law which requires telecommunications companies like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to keep records of your electronic footprint for two years including details of what phone calls you’ve made, emails you’ve sent, websites you’ve accessed and even location data from your mobile phone. And, alarmingly, security agencies won’t need a warrant to search this data.
This is an unwarranted extension of the power of government and shamefully it passed the House of Representatives with the support of Labor. Only three people, including me, out of 150 MPs, voted against this legislation.
The major parties are in lock-step over war powers.
Most democracies require their parliament to authorise deployment of military force.
Not Australia, where the Government can declare war.
Liberal and Labor agree on indefinite detention without charge in some circumstances.
Consider this country’s shameful treatment of asylum seekers including the locking up of babies and children in appalling conditions. I’m so concerned about this I asked the International Criminal Court to look into the actions of the Government as possible crimes against humanity.
Then there’s the denigration of people who speak out against these policies. Just look at the Government’s sustained attack on Professor Triggs for simply doing her job and speaking up. This vitriolic display prompted international human rights groups to rebuke the Prime Minister.
More recently a Minister called Senator Sarah Hanson-Young an “embarrassment to this country” after she revealed she was spied on during a visit to Nauru. Treasurer Joe Hockey this week denounced his economic critics as “clowns”. These are the words of bullies, not statesmen.
Fearfulness in a population is a handy ingredient for a police state and the Government is excelling with the assistance of its cheerleaders in the media. For example the front page of a national newspaper screamed recently that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Islamic State could build a “dirty bomb”, even though the sort of low-level radioactive material supposedly stolen from Iraq’s hospitals by the jihadists isn’t deadly enough to kill anyone, let alone be a weapon of mass destruction.
The truth is Australia helped create Islamic State by joining the invasion of Iraq, causing the conditions for the emergence of these jihadists.
Then there’s the nonsense about stripping Australians of their citizenship, even though the law and common sense compels us to prosecute and punish any Australian breaking an Australian law. Those Australians who think this is a good idea need to understand the Government is talking about having this power itself, rather than the courts, and that is scary. You wouldn’t want to get a Government Minister off-side just in case he de-Australianises you.
What makes Australia’s march to a police state more concerning is the Liberal and Labor parties agree on much of this nonsense. In other words, most politicians in Canberra think our pre-police state is okay and are not about to do anything about it.