Chris Evans Media Statement - 14th October 2005
"… (the Howard Government) has about as much regard for Senate rights as it has for advertising guidelines…" - Michelle Grattan The Age 14.10.5
John Howard's pattern of arrogance when it comes to Senate Committee scrutiny is now well established.
Before year's end at least three major pieces of legislation will have come before the Senate - including Telstra, Industrial Relations and anti-terrorism laws - with the Howard Government allowing only for the minimum of examination. Last night's events in the Senate only conform to Howard's pattern of arrogance.
The Government, increasingly out of touch with the requirements of parliamentary democracy, moved to allow the Senate just one day for committee scrutiny of new anti-terrorism laws. Labor and the minor parties were united in the view that this was another gross abuse of Senate process. John Howard's pledge that he would use his Senate majority "soberly, wisely and sensibly" is now in tatters.
Senator Brown, 28th September 2005
The little resistance shown by Labor premiers to the Howard government’s new terror laws was easily eroded by the ASIO briefing yesterday, Greens’ Senator Bob Brown said today. “If ever there is a spectacle of political obsequiousness it is that of the unprepared politicians being terrified by spy chiefs who want more power,” Senator Brown said.
“The obvious end result is a police state, not a mature democracy. Yet police states often engender greater terrorism. It is a pity the Labor chiefs did not ask ASIO these questions:
would these laws have averted the London bombings? (Answer: No)
are these erosions of Australian liberties all ASIO will ever seek? (Answer: No)
did ASIO have real evidence that Scott Parkin had preached anything other than peace? (Answer: No)
As ASIO alleges there are terrorists in Australia, has it used available laws, including a week’s detention and questioning without trial, on these suspects? (Answer: No).
Senator Brown said that these questions will be pursued by the Greens when the government brings its Labor-backed laws before the Senate. Without justification to our parliament, the laws face Greens opposition.“We will move for the review and sunset clauses to be rolled into one and set 3 years hence, not 10 years hence,” Senator Brown said.
Senator Natasha Stott Despoja 13 October 2005
The Government is set to use its majority in the Senate to ram through its anti-terrorism legislation without input from the Australian people through the committee process, according to the Australian Democrats. "This is inexcusable a new low for democracy in Australia," Democrats' Attorney-Generals Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said. "Senator Hill, on behalf of the Government, snuck into the Senate late Thursday afternoon, defying convention, gave a minute notice to the Opposition and no notice to the minor parties and announced the referral of its new legislation for a one week committee inquiry.
"This was deliberately done late on the final day of the sitting fortnight to prevent a division on this matter, ensuring that even Liberal Party backbenchers were unaware and unable to oppose what was proposed. "The Government has shown contempt for democracy, the Australian parliamentary process and the Australian people in this underhand process.
When you next hear the tapping on your door at 2.30 am, and you ask who's at your door, expect to hear that tried and true response of 'Goons, hired goons'. We bill by the hour.
Cross posted at Bastards Inc.