Friday, October 28, 2005

21st Century Schizoid Man

On the front page of today's Age, Tom Allard reminds us that Phil Ruddock's "competent authorities" are anything but:

... As family members cowered and complained, an ASIO "technical team" began to film the premises and take photographs.

According to an account of the incident by the then Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Bill Blick, the senior ASIO officer then realised he had made a "serious" error.

He had the wrong address on the search-and-seizure warrant. That should have been patently obvious because ASIO and police had earlier gone to the actual address on the warrant — Mr Daye's father's grocery shop — about 100 metres down the road.

On the opinion pages, Tony Parkinson is having a bit of trouble working out where he stands:

Whatever the challenges of fighting terrorism, the Howard Government would have done better to let the sedition laws lie fallow in Australia, as they have done since the 1940s. For it seems a very old-fashioned, ill-suited legal remedy with which to address security threats to a 21st century democracy.


Dangerously, for the Federal Government, the debate over sedition laws is becoming a distraction from the need for practical, effective measures aimed at preventing a terrorist attack on home soil. Frankly, there is more than enough medievalism going around at the moment without an Australian Government introducing its own blast from the past.


[Muslim militants] happen to live in Western societies. In their determination to protect Islamic doctrine from criticism (or scrutiny) they do not defer to courts or parliaments. They don't seek the acquiescence of Jon Stanhope. They take up a gun, a knife, or a cudgel, and kill those they see as infidels. Simple as that.

Open societies are resilient. They accommodate divergent voices — even strident voices. But a line must be drawn when voices advocate killing or maiming other Australians to advance a religious or political cause. For this reason, the bill to be introduced into Federal Parliament next week — or something like it — is a necessary safeguard ...

Actually, there is one point Tony's pretty clear on - he doesn't like John Pilger:

To prosecute and jail Pilger for sedition, whatever his opinions, would be a travesty: a cruel and unwarranted punishment. If nothing else, spare a thought for the other inmates.

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