You’d be forgiven for thinking that the government really doesn’t want to know what the public thinks about new laws that will allow surveillance without warrants and greater abilities to remove passports from so-called ‘radicalised youth’ and ‘potential foreign fighters’. Even the 24 hours allowed for submissions has been compromised – the link to make a submission on the Parliamentary Website is broken with only 7 hours of the 24 available for making submissions remaining.
However the Bill has serious opposition. Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford said the Government should not be rushing through bills which impact on human rights. Thomas Beagle the new President of the Council for Civil Liberties has taken a principled stance of refusing to make a submission. This is a sensible way to draw attention to the inadequate and undemocratic process.
The government’s approach is a travesty. The proposed legislation, as well as it’s method of introduction into the house is an example of anti-democratic over-reach by the Prime Minister and Attorney General. It is a simplistic, reactive tool to address a complex and multifaceted problem. In a nutshell the main effects of the legislation, when passed, will be its unintended consequences. The problems don’t need to be reprised here. They have been well covered by Professor Richard Jackson at Victoria and Assistant Professor Jeffrey Sluka on Morning Report this morning and by Paul Buchanan and Gordon Campbell who have covered the issues over months but most recently here and here.