Thursday, October 20, 2005

Howard's extremist anti-terrorist legislation smacks of fascism

I find John Howard’s draft anti-terrorist legislation to be both extreme and ineffective. It is highly questionable whether this legislation will prevent terrorist attacks, but it is quite clear that it will compromise basic human rights and freedom in Australia.

If this legislation is enacted you could be arbitrarily arrested and held incommunicado without charge if you were seen with a daypack and police judged you to be a potential terrorist, perhaps influenced by the colour of your skin.

You could also be shot and killed under the “shoot to kill” provisions, as happened to an innocent man recently after the London terrorist bombing.

The lack of safeguards and monitoring of these suggested new powers for police is very worrying, as is Howard’s attempts to conceal the detail from the public under the cloak of confidentiality.

These extreme powers, combined with a lack of accountability for the police who could exercise them, are simply inappropriate in a free and democratic country like Australia. You would expect to find powers like these in a fascist state. Are we now sliding towards this?

The ill-considered war and occupation of Iraq, based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, has fomented a generation of terrorists in Iraq and surrounding Arab states. The Howard government has actually contributed to a worsening of terrorism, despite all their rhetoric to the contrary.

Attempting to put out fires with petrol simply does not work. There is no easy way out of this mess that John Howard has contributed to, but a focus on peaceful resolution of conflict would be a good start.

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