The New South Wales Government has gone full YOLO and recently hit up Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to adjust the current anti-terrorism laws.
Premier Mike Baird has written in and requested an extension on the current 8 days that ‘terror suspects‘ can be held sans charge to 28 days. In addition they have asked that the age a minor can be placed on control order be lowered from 16 to 14, mirroring laws already in place in the UK.
A control order can stop a person from: ‘being in certain areas or leaving Australia, communicating or associating with certain people, owning or using certain things, carrying out certain activities, including work, accessing certain forms of technology, including the internet.’
It also means a person can be made to: ‘remain at specified premises for maximum of 12 hours within any 24 hour period, wear a tracking device, report to someone at a certain time and place, allow themselves to be photographed and fingerprinted.’
Last night federal Attorney-General George Brandis announced that the Commonwealth government would indeed be introducing amendments to the legislation – “a fifth instalment of counter-terrorism laws which have been developed in conjunction with NSW and other states and territories.”
In response Greens senator Nick McKim said: “We’re very disappointed that our hard won civil liberties are being eroded with no evidence at all.”
This renewed push comes after the horrifying murder of Curtis Cheng outside the NSW State Crime Command. “The act of terrorism at Parramatta was a clear demonstration that we need to strengthen powers to prevent terrorist acts and improve law enforcement’s ability to respond to the changing terrorism environment,” said Baird.
The president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Stephen Blanks [he’s not playing hard to get, that’s his real name] questioned the potential powers to secretly detain 14-year-old children: “The last thing we need is more laws. Australia has legislated more than any other country in response to terrorism and the legislation has been utterly counterproductive. What more extreme legislation does is alienate sections of the community. The proposed laws are undoubtedly going to be in breach of human rights standards.”
Maha Abdo, from the Muslim Women’s Association, said of the current climate: “I’ve had many mums tell me their kids aren’t even able to focus on the HSC, Mums are stressed and pulling children out of end-of-year parties and gatherings too.”
Elsewhere, prominent counter terrorism researcher, Professor Greg Barton of Deakin University, said: “I think the control order, even for children as young as 14, with proper checks and balances and limits, may well be a productive thing because it’s a way of protecting them from malign influence.”
A spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Greg Barns, said of the proposed changes: “If you want to further radicalise people, if you want them feeling they are completely alienated from society and you do that to a 14-year-old kid then you’re going the right way about it.”
On whether the children detained do feel further alienated will come down to their treatment whilst in custody which, given cops are people too, will be greatly influenced by community perceptions of ‘terrorism’.
By and large, though, it does seem people very rarely have a positive experience going through the criminal justice system, or with captivity in general.
via ABC, SMH, Sky News, The Australian.