If you meet a nice ASIO person then be alert and very alarmed

First published in New Matilda 2005


The Howard-Ruddock “We did it to the refugees and now it’s your turn” Acts are being rushed through the parliament. If you are questioned you should state your name address and date of birth. You might also give your serial number in the Class War. In case you’ve forgotten, everyone’s number is “one”. You should at this point mention that you are relying on the protections provided by the Geneva Accord. It is then unwise to answer any further questions until you have had time to research the various acts and regulations which are being used to provide the pretext for questioning you. It is equally unwise to refuse to answer questions as this will be used by the spooks against you. You need to make it clear that you are willing to answer the questions after you have completely clarified your legal situation.

Spooks incorporated will probably refuse to provide you with copies of the relevant legislation and regulations. By the way, inform them that you will need to have a copy of the Acts Interpretations Act, which has recently been updated, to assist you to understand what the other acts mean. You will of course require all the current “terror” legislation plus drafts of foreshadowed legislation. The reason you need to have copies of the foreshadowed legislation is because it may subsequently be made retrospective.

Mr Plod will tell you that you can rely on your lawyer (who specialises in conveyancing most of the time) to be fully on top of this “terror” legislation arguing there is no need for you to have access to the legislation. Stick to your guns, failing to know the law is not a defence in Australian courts – let alone the soon to be set up Kangaroo courts. It would be unwise to even answer the question “How are you?” with the response of “OK”. This is because, if you were to fall ill during a subsequently interrogation you could be charged with providing a false answer to an ASIO agent.

Of course, it is not wise to discuss any of your activities which might constitute your defence with anyone whilst you are being detained. Besides saying anything before you have had time to read and digest all the relevant legislation is not smart. Let your lawyer advise you but keep your own counsel whilst incarcerated, because ASIO will be listening to every word you say. Lawyers don’t like going into court hearings without knowing the grounds you are planing to use as a defence – but you’ll have time to discuss that with your lawyer in the court room itself. Make sure you indicate, to which ever macropod is presiding over the Wallaby tribunal that you need to talk with your lawyer in the court room itself. ASIO is not yet game enough to place electronic bugs in court rooms.

ASIO operatives, Mr Plods and their assorted hangers on will, no doubt, tell you that by “not cooperating” you are lengthening the time you’ll remain in custody. Such advice is designed to con you into saying something which can then be used against you and should be treated with the contempt it deserves. The forthcoming industrial relations changes and the Liberals war of terror legislation are driven by a similar “control the powerless” mentality. Howard and Ruddock want to silence all opposition to them. So if we are picked up then “silence should be our firm rebuke”.