Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Howard's anti terror laws must be amended to protect our freedom of speech

I believe that John Howard's proposed hastily drafted anti-terror laws will compromise freedom of speech in Australia, particularly the sedition-related clauses.

John Howard and Philip Ruddock should respect the democratic process of the recent Senate inquiry and accept their own Senator's recommendations for amending this legislation.

If these recommendations are ignored, then both our freedom of speech and the fundamental workings of our democracy will be compromised. The current extended Asio powers are sufficient for dealing with the terrorist threat to Australia – which has unfortunately significantly increased since the Howard government ill advisedly committed Australia to supporting the war in Iraq.

We must look for peaceful solutions to conflict and international relations issues rather than continued military action, which is a really only making matters worse in places like Iraq. And of course, neither George Bush nor John Howard has an exit strategy for Iraq.

Prior to the United States-initiated war against Iraq (which was based on the false premise that there were weapons of mass destruction), Iraq was not sponsoring terrorist activity outside its borders, even though there were many serious human rights abuses internally.

After the invasion of Iraq, the killing and disruption resulting from the so-called "war against terror" has contributed to creating a generation of disaffected Iraqis, some of whom may now unfortunately retaliate via terrorist attacks. And serious human rights abuses continue in Iraq.

In short, the “war against terror” has made Australia and the world a much less safer place.

There is now no easy solution to either terrorism or stopping the impending civil war in Iraq.

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