When the conservatives within the Liberal Party blew up the Government, many Australians were relieved that Morrison rather than Dutton assumed the helm of the sinking ship. Morrison was considered less dangerous, but the unity ticket he and Dutton are on in relation to “terrorism offences” demonstrates how ignorant they both are.
There has been a proliferation of new “terror offences” in Australia in the period since the attack on the World Towers which the Americans refer to as 9/11. We have more anti-terrorism legislation than any other Western country.
They now want to be able to deport anyone who has been convicted of a terrorist offence, whom the minister believes can claim citizenship in another country. The law currently only applies to dual citizens convicted of an offence with a sentence of six years or more in prison.
Michelle Grattan pointed out on the ABC Breakfast Program that we stop people considered to be likely to go overseas and commit acts of violence by taking away their passports because we have decided that we will not allow Australians to commit terrorist acts overseas. She went on to point out that there is a cognitive dissonance between preventing someone whom it is considered might commit a terrorist act from leaving Australia and deporting people whom the courts have been found guilty of terrorist crimes.
Dutton and Morrison have decided that if someone whom they believe should be deported gets a court to stay their deportation on the grounds that they would be stateless then they should be held indefinitely in immigration detention. This ex-Queensland copper and son of a New South Wales copper have not learnt that such contempt for the rule of law in unjust and self-defeating. It diminishes our supposed liberal democracy.
“In a joint letter to the department of home affairs, obtainedby the ABC, the directors of public prosecutors of every state and territory warned that the measure could endanger the community by encouraging ‘non-citizens [to] travel to Australia for the specific purpose of committing criminal offences, knowing that they would effectively be rendered immune from prosecution and the consequences of conviction by making a request for removal’.
The Guardian Australia reports that:
“Under the changes the minister can strip a convicted terrorist of Australian citizenship regardless of the severity of the conviction and need only be “reasonably satisfied” that the person would have another citizenship.
The president of the Law Council of Australia, Morry Bailes, said the measures “challenge key legal principles on which our democracy was founded, and therefore demand very careful consideration”.
“The proposed automatic loss of citizenship and subsequent administrative action do not provide sufficient safeguards to accord with the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and the right of appeal,” he said.
Morrison rebuked the Law Council of Australia saying he was not bothered.
“Terrorism expert Greg Barton was dubious about the likelihood of the plan securing parliamentary support. ‘It’s hard to imagine a situation where it’s going to stack up politically, legally or morally,’ he told The New Daily.”
Morrison and Dutton keep pointing to the two Melbourne Burke St outrages as the justification for their attitudes. It needs to be remembered in the first car rampage in Burke St 6 people were killed and over 20 seriously injured the man driving that car was a deluded Christian. The second violent attack was initiated by a deluded Muslim man and his attack resulted in the death of one person and the serious wounding of two others. He was shot and killed by police at the scene.
I abhor all violent acts carried out against unarmed people. Each week in Australia a woman is killed by a partner or an ex-partner. Hundreds of others are violently attacked by their partner or an ex-partner each week. Almost daily children are killed or badly injured by family members. The issue is not terrorism but violence and no government in Australia has succeeded in doing much about it.
Morrison and his associates are running a government which leaves one in ten children living in poverty. They daily discriminate against the Indigenous people of this land. They run offshore concentration camps which are driving hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees slowly mad. They sell armaments to war criminals.
It is time for the Morrison government to stop playing political games with our future, our democracy our international reputation and get serious about violence.
Copyright © 2020 John Tomlinson