Because politicians live in fear, they want all Australians to be constantly afraid: but, if you’ve done nothing wrong, why should your government spy on you?
Fear drives Abbott, Brandis
By Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia
The Coalition government is spending an extra $630 million because politicians are afraid. Read the official media release.
“Australia’s spy and counter-terror agencies will receive a $630 million funding boost to fight the threat of home-grown terrorism, which Prime Minister Tony Abbott says ‘has not changed’ and is still ‘’as high as it has ever been’,” Fairfax media has reported.
The threat is also as low as it has ever been, Civil Liberties Australia says. Before 9/11, in September 2001, the terrorist threat was officially ‘medium’. Immediately after 9/11, and for the following 13 years, it has remained ‘medium’. It has never changed. The threat to Australia is officially no greater than it has been for the past two decades.
Yet the government will spend $630m of taxpayer money over the next four years because they, the politicians, are afraid. They are so remote and out-of-touch with the Australian people that they can add an extra $13m a month of spending – more than $3m a week – for the next four years, simply due to their fear. The reason? So that they can’t be criticised if something “happens on their watch”.
Meanwhile, the Australia people just want the politicians to get their house in order, literally, by stopping all the shenanigans in parliament. And they want the Policing, Intelligence and Security Agencies (the PISA ‘leaners’, rather than lifters) to do the jobs they are already paid to do, for which they have been given vast resources over the past decade.
For example, after 9/11 ASIO went from 660 staff to 1860: their budget more than tripled. As the threat of terrorist danger changes, why can’t the 1200 extra staff be suitably allocated to deal with any current, altered threat, in terms of potential action or the location it comes from?
Police and other Australian intelligence and security agencies have all received similar boosts to both numbers of staff dealing with potential terrorism, and with budget allocations. In most cases, they have received vast electronic, equipment, weapons and vehicles upgrades as well.
Why is the government prepared to consider Australians guilty until proven innocent, when it gives the benefit of considerable doubt to the PISA bodies over their competence, including in terms of deciding priorities and allocating staff and budget funding?
Senator Brandis – Sky News
The media release announcing the Coalition proposals, launched by PM Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis, contains one of the greatest political ironies of our time:
“These powers will also be balanced with proper oversight to protect the individual rights of Australians, including their right to privacy. To ensure this, the Government will increase the resources of the independent Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security,” the media release says.
This is exactly the same government which announced less than three months ago that it was abolishing the very same Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. So much for its commitment to independent monitoring of what the PISA bodies are up to, and whether they are abiding by their rules and regulations.
Here is a summary of what the Coalition government proposes:
- Mandatory retention of metadata by telecommunications providers
- $630 million boost to national security agencies over four years
- Make it an offence to travel to designated areas without legitimate reason and broaden definition of terrorist organisation to include promotion or encouragement of terrorism
- Make it easier to arrest suspected terrorists without a warrant and extend questioning, detention and control powers
- Empower Foreign Minister to quickly suspend passports
- Improve co-operation with foreign intelligence agencies and improve collection of evidence for offences committed overseas
Some comments on the government’s proposed latest tranche of terror laws are interesting:
A’isha Khoury writes: 23 million people now have to pay for the idiots! It’s the old classroom trick of keeping everyone back, because of 1 idiot. The problem is that, obviously our current security and enforcement measures can’t track 23 real idiots, so you’re making the rest of us pay with useless and draconian legislation. How about legislating for proper economic management measures, and some common sense, instead of wasting time on needless legislation, that only caters for 0.000001% of the population? I hope this Liberal Government is a one-termer, despite the fact that I thought the last ALP Govt was a total joke.
Sickofblueties writes: Yes, there’s nothing like the threat of terrorism to whip everyone into a nationalistic frenzy and allow the Government to pass a host of draconian measures. It’s amazing what the Government can get away with when they create fear within the community. – sickofblueties, August 06, 2014.
The same Fairfax site – http://tinyurl.com/m5kzw8y – also has a poll, which was running at 92% ‘NO’ vote against the following question: Is data storage of Australians’ phone and internet use justified to guard against terrorism and general crime?
CLA V-P Tim Vines is quoted in this excellent summary: