Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Shoot it down

Today I am going to have a rant about the proposed anti-terror legislation that our government is trying to rush through parliament. (If you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, you can guess where I am, though I won't be able to tell you about it afterwards.)
According to the lead article in today's newspaper, nearly three-quarters of Australians think it is fine for people who may be suspected of terrorist activities to be detained without charge, for periods of up to two weeks, without being able to reveal their whereabouts to family and friends; with no judicial review (that is, the police don't have to have any actual evidence, let alone enough to procure a warrant), and no right to tell their version of the story afterwards.
All anyone (at least, about two-thirds of the population) seems to care about is the "shoot to kill" provisions: that the police should be allowed to shoot someone who runs away when they try to arrest them, even if they turn out to be innocent. As if the police don't already have the power to do that: remember Roni Levi, and David Gundy? (And that's just in New South Wales.)
Am I alone in thinking that the "shoot to kill" clause in the legislation is a smokescreen, inserted to shock the public (which it has done) and divert our attention from the other, more insidious, aspects of the legislation that have the potential to turn our democratic nation and justice system into a big-brother state? To muzzle the press and violate the trust of families?
We should not just be protesting against a few aspects of this legislation; we should let our democratically elected representatives know that the whole thing is unacceptable. And as for the Federal Opposition, where are they? Where is the voice of conviction standing up in Federal Parliament and speaking out for their beliefs? You know, actually opposing?
Come on, Kim: It's Time.
I don't know any other way to make our voices heard than to urge a visit to GetUp!'s website, where you can send an email to the appropriate parliamentary representative, although I am afraid even GetUp! is focussing on the shoot-to-kill aspects rather than the idea of defeating the whole bill.
But go on, make a stand for human rights and democratic freedom in Australia. While you still can.


beche-la-mer said...

I emailed a copy of this blog entry to my local MP and cc'd it to Kim Beazley. I'll post any responses I get (none so far -- not even an automated reply).

Maureen said...

Thanks Melody, I joined in the protest.