I’ve made jokes in the past about hiding out under the bed or going to live on a mountain to avoid whatever particular mess I’ve managed to create for myself but in this instance I’m actually starting to consider just how much space there is under that bed and if WiFi is available on top of a mountain.
Normally I don’t think of myself as a coward or even cowardly, I joke about making a run for it but it is never something I’d actually do. In the past I’ve used avoidance to skirt around dealing with personal issues and I’m a Black Belt at DMA [Denial Marshal Arts] when it comes to my private live but when push comes to shove I stand. In fact I’m not above a little pushing and shoving myself if the circumstance warrant it but lately I’ve begun to truly know fear and what frightens me the most is that it is my own government that is scaring me so very badly.
I tremble for the future I see being painted by those who would rather leave others to starve or return them to near certain death rather than share what we have. The most recent changes spring from the ‘increased terror level’ and the crippling fear I have is not of terrorists gaily strolling down the Queens St Mall lopping heads but our own politicians [from the left and the right] gleefully gutting our rights. Happily chopping away at freedom of information, legal representation when charged, being held without charge, freedom of expression and the protection of the Geneva convention in regards to using force when questioning in regards to national security. [Discussion paper to the parliament to discuss new measures for national security]
When our PM comes out and declares with little or no preamble that Australians will have to deal with more security and less freedom then the ice starts to form as feel myself going into shock. Sounds a little melodramatic you think but I’m not kidding in any way shape or form.
I’m scared silly not just for me but for future generations because no government EVER redacts legislation that keeps them in control no matter what they promise at the outset and more importantly don’t forget that, as Martin Luther King reminded us, everything that happened in Germany was legal by their laws just as what is happening here will be if we don’t resist these changes.
I’m not uncaring, I know why people are reluctant to speak out, fear and the possibility of a real threat makes any measures that ensure our safety acceptable. But if it is a choice between what is right, what is ethical and what may ‘possibly’ provide a small measure of safety then we can’t act as cowards nor be compliant to the will of those who seek to subvert our way of life under the guise of protecting it.
There are currently eight matters up for debate in the parliament that relate directly to changes in the balance of freedom vs security and none of them are in any way appealing. The three listed below come under the National Security Reform Bill One entered into parliament as far back as July [prior to the terror alert but not prior to the backlash from the budget]:
- Journalists and whistle-blowers face jail for intelligence reporting [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Computer hacking powers for Intelligence agencies
- Immunity from prosecution for uses of force [The Australian] by ASIO officers involved in ‘special intelligence operations’ [and yes that is just what it sounds like]
The next four are from the National Security Reform Bill 2 entered into parliament on September 24:
- Expanding detention without charges [current opinion that it isn’t an effective solution even if it were expanded]
- Restricting freedom of movement and association with control orders and prohibited contact orders
- Life imprisonment for people who fight, or even prepare to fight. overseas in a foreign country
- Prohibiting travel to a region, or even an entire country, unless a person can demonstrate a legitimate reason for being there.
The final change that is being addressed is in National Security Reform Bill 3
- Mandatory data retention of Australians web and mobile data for two years.
You think it all sounds like something out of a novel but sadly it is real life here in Australia and it is something we are going to have to fight. The Labor Party under Shorten seems to be following meekly behind as if trying not to get left out. The only issue they are contesting is in relation to torture!!!
Yep you heard me TORTURE as a means of intelligence gathering was actually debated in parliament for the record and it was contested hotly on both sides. That alone makes me want to crawl into the deepest quietest hole I can find and simply make like a mole and be blind to all that is around me.
However it’s not something any of us can afford to do if there is any chance of stopping this madness before it escalates beyond retrieval and there is a very simple reason why. We cannot let the past repeat itself and whether it’s comfortable to admit or not we are heading down a path already trod and it is littered with the dead.
To finish this off I think it is fitting to close with an Australianised variation of a saying regarding how people let what happened in Germany occur prior to WWII and unless we are careful it will be our future..