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Rights are a luxury in the age of national security

  • 06 October 2017


In this time of austerity I am pleased and proud that Our Glorious Leader has decided to curtail the luxuries which we had formerly enjoyed — for our own good, of course. I refer, of course, to our rapidly diminishing pool of civil liberties.

This is understandable and wise — the general lack of reaction by Australians to previous state intrusions such as the expansion of ASIO powers and terror laws, administrative removal of citizenship from certain criminal suspects, pre-trial detention expansion and curbs on reporting of ASIO abuses show that they weren't using their human rights anyway. There has certainly been no obvious appetite for a bill of rights which might put them on a slightly firmer footing.

Away then with pesky details such as rights to privacy (to not having one's photo ID shared with anyone, private company or government agency, who wishes to see it) and to freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention (the new proposed laws allow 14 days pre-charge detention — more than enough time, as Dr Haneef will tell you, to ensure police can work out something to charge you with).

These are so passé in an age of national security, where the citizen's first duty is to panic and surrender all to the state.

Our wise and benevolent rulers have also ensured that the new laws even come in family friendly versions — our justice minister has assured us that the new detention without charge provisions will apply to children as young as ten.

Undeterred by the campaigns of some social services agencies advocating to raise the age of criminal responsibility, the new laws ensure that tiny terrorists who seek to take away our freedoms (and thereby presumably compete with the state!) will be firmly put in their place.

Of course, it's not as though governments haven't been doing something similar in plain sight for quite a while. All those nasty queue-jumping asylum seekers have had all these rights taken from them and more over the last 30 years — both in onshore detention and, more recently, 'enjoying themselves outside ... by the beach and all the rest of it' in the offshore havens run for them by successive governments on Manus Island and Nauru.


"These rights are so passé in an age of national security, where the citizen's first duty is to panic and surrender all to the state."


In general, these policies have been quite popular with large portions of the Australian public