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Australia’s Fascist Laws

(Excerpted from the CEC’s 2004 pamphlet, Children of Satan III—the Sexual Congress For Cultural Fascism)

The Howard government has proposed or enacted a stunning 28 (!) “anti-terrorism” laws in just the last two years. In addition to trying to overthrow the Geneva Conventions so as to open the door for torture, as in its latest legislation, the following are just a portion of the powers already enacted, in addition to those passed by various states: 1) the army is now empowered to shoot and kill Australian civilians for the first time in our history (this was passed already in 2000, pre-9/11, giving the lie to Howard’s claim that all these laws are to “fight terrorism), 2) the Attorney-General may ban whatever organisations he feels like, 3) ASIO is granted Gestapo-style powers to pick up and effectively “disappear” individuals as young as 16, who will be deprived of the right to remain silent or face a 5-year jail term, 4) an extraordinary range of wiretaps and espionage against Australian citizens has been established, including allowing ASIO and the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to spy on Australian citizens for the first time, and on and on.

Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman has stated that “Laws are being progressively extended in a quite radical way that no other country is doing. Civil liberties as a result are being taken away.” As for the notorious “ASIO bill” cited in point number three above, NSW Council of Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy has charged that ASIO is now allowed to operate “like the old Soviet KGB”, and that “These powers are absolutely the worst in Australia’s history in terms of allowing the violation of people’s basic rights and liberties.”

The following list includes only some of the more important of these “anti-terrorism” laws. In reviewing the following, keep in mind that all of the 28 federal laws proposed or enacted over the last two years are based on a definition of “terrorism” inserted in the criminal code in 2002, which is so broad that it is a catch-all that can be used against long-accepted political practices like trade union picket lines, or other forms of civil dissent. That sweeping definition refers to some acts which are clearly terrorist, but it goes much further, in stating that “terrorist act means action or threat of action where…the action is done or threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.” This definition goes well beyond anything in even the U.S. or British laws, as several Australian legal experts have emphasised.

The CEC has fought many of these bills. Sometimes, at least in the days before Latham took over the ALP, it has succeeded in sparking resistance within the ALP to the worst of these measures. Now, however, with Labor signing on the dotted line to every piece of “anti-terrorism” legislation put before it, no matter how hideous, the only way to stop this juggernaut, and to send the message: “Enough of this fascist garbage!”, is to vote for the candidates of the Citizens Electoral Council. (See p. 59)

The Anti-Terrorism Act 2004.

As noted above, this act: officially recognises the military commissions appointed by Bush to hold (and eventually try) the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, which commissions deny the basic rights that guarantee a fair trial, as well as opening the door to torture; increases the penalty for “training” with a terrorist organisation “recklessly” (i.e. you didn’t know, but you should have) to 25 years, with a reversed onus of proof, so that the accused must prove that they weren’t reckless, rather than the prosecution having to prove that they were; denies bail for any terrorist charges, and mandates people convicted of terrorism offences serve a minimum of three quarters of their sentence.

There are two additional bills before the present parliament, including the National Security Information (Criminal Proceedings) Bill 2004, and a brand new bill, the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2004 (No. 2). The National Security Information (Criminal Proceedings) Bill 2004 gives the Attorney-General the absolute right to intervene in terrorism court cases, and decide not only who gives evidence, but what that evidence is, how it is presented, and, in some cases, to deny a terrorist defendant access to the evidence they will be attempting to defend themselves against.

The Anti-Terrorism Bill 2004 (No. 2) is the much-anticipated law against “consorting” with a terrorist organisation. Given the extraordinarily wide definition of “terrorism” now codified as law, which allows many legitimate political activities to be so classified, to outlaw “consorting” on that basis, gives the government virtually unlimited powers of arrest. The Bill also provides that the decisions of the Attorney-General under the amendments are excluded from the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act, which means that they will not be subject to judicial review.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2003

On June 27, 2003, the ALP caved in and passed what the Government’s own Parliamentary committee had earlier denounced as “the most draconian legislation ever presented to the Australian Parliament”, the notorious “ASIO bill”. The Act transformed the spy agency ASIO into a full-fledged Australian secret police. It gave ASIO powers to detain people, even as young as 16, for up to seven days incommunicado (in some cases for indefinite periods). Detainees will be deprived of the right to remain silent—under threat of a five-year jail term—and the onus of proof will now be on the detainee to show he has no knowledge or material evidence related to terrorism. The original form of the Act was far worse, and was only watered down thanks to a nationwide outcry, and a mobilisation against it by the CEC.

2002 “Anti-Terrorism” Acts

In March 2002, the Howard Government suddenly handed an astonished House of Representatives eight bills comprising the most sweeping changes in Australia’s security and intelligence measures since World War II. The bills had been prepared in utter secrecy and the ALP and the smaller parties were given precisely 16 hours (overnight) to examine the 100 pages of legislation and 100 pages of explanatory memoranda before debate began on them the following day. Only a miniscule two weeks were allowed for public hearings, in which some of the finest legal minds in the country testified that there was no need for these new laws, and that they constituted grave violations of human rights on numerous fronts. The major parties ignored such testimony, and all but the ASIO bill rapidly passed both houses and became law. These included: the Border Security Legislation Amendment Act 2002; the Criminal Code Amendment (Espionage and Related Offenses Act 2002; the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002; the Telecommunications Interception Legislation Amendment Act 2002; the Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist Bombings) Act 2002; and the Criminal Code Amendment (Anti-Hoax and Other Measures) Act 2002.

Intelligence Services Act 2001

As originally proposed, this act granted intelligence services immunity from prosecution if they break the law “in the course of their duties”. The ALP amended the immunity provisions, but still allowed the bill to pass. It specifically authorised the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to spy on Australian citizens for the first time ever, where these agencies previously had been restricted to foreign intelligence.

Measures to Combat Serious and Organised Crime Act 2001

This act extended the use of “controlled operations” (otherwise known as “stings” and entrapment) to other Commonwealth offenses, not just drugs, permitted officers to manufacture fake documents and to assume false identities, and increased the use of listening devices, even where a “suspect” is not known by name. Already in 2001 Australia’s various State and Federal police agencies used 2,157 phone taps, compared to the U.S. which used only 1,491. Australia has 20 million people, while the U.S. has 284 million, and the rate of arrests arising from the Australian taps was five times lower than that of the U.S. These figures do not include the massive number of phone taps regularly conducted by ASIO, whose scope was broadened even wider by the 2002 legislation noted above.

Additionally, almost every recent major public event has been used to further extend police-state powers, beginning with the huge expansion of police powers for the 2000 Sydney Olympics through until today. One such event was the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 2001 in Melbourne which saw “an unprecedented widening of special police powers”, according to the Courier Mail, even above those for the Olympics. Other events included “S11” and other “anti-globalisation” demonstrations.

ASIO’s Telecommunications (Interception) Legislation Amendment Act 2000

ASIO’s previous powers to open mail, intercept communications, place bugs and tap phones were expanded to allow ASIO to plant tracking devices on people, to hack into computers, and to crack and modify password control systems. In effect, this law enabled ASIO to add or change data, and sabotage website, e-mail facilities and internal communications systems.

Western Australian “anti-gang” Criminal Investigation Acts

WA’s Gallop Labor Government seized on the slaying of retired police detective Don Hancock in September 2001 to ram through the Parliament a series of laws that experts decried as “some of the most draconian in the western world”. The Acts allow police to conduct searches without warrants, seize documents including legal files, confiscate profits of crime, and dismantle “fortifications”, including houses. The Acts allow judges to indefinitely imprison people who refuse to answer questions for being in contempt of court. President of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties Terry O’Gorman told the Nov. 8, 2001 West Australian, “These powers put WA in a class of its own. I am staggered by these laws.”

Border Protection Act 2001

Ostensibly designed to deal with the “Tampa crisis” of August/September 2001, the Act allows Australian customs, police, security or defence forces officials to turn back a ship from Australian territorial waters into international waters, and for the Australian military to use “reasonable force”. However, as originally proposed, “the special powers would not be open to challenge or review by the judiciary or by Parliament. The bill was intended to override all other laws, both international laws covering seafaring and Australia’s criminal and civil law”, according to a summary in the Aug. 31, 2002 Australian Financial Review. (emphasis added) This was a bit too much for even the normally compliant ALP, whose then-leader Kim Beazley instructed the ALP to reject it, because “it involved the suspension of all Australian law”. However, a slightly watered-down version, without the provision to override all other laws, was passed on Sept. 26 with the full support of Beazley and the ALP. Sen. Natasha Stott Despoja, then-leader of the Democrats, denounced the “draconian legislation ... the sort you might expect in the days of Stalinist Russia.”

The Racial and Religious Toleration Act 2001

Passed by the Victorian Parliament on June 14, 2001 after fierce debate, the act decrees that no person is allowed “to engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons”—an intentionally vague, politically correct clause which may be interpreted as desired, but which carries fines up to $30,000, six-month prison sentences, and authorises police to use search warrants (previously only issued in Australia in the event of serious crimes) and to break down doors to seize “evidence”. The major intent of the laws, according to their chief sponsor, the Anti-Defamation Commission of B’nai B’rith, was to shut down the presence of Lyndon LaRouche on the Australian continent. LaRouche charged that the legislation was “1) an intent to violate human rights; and 2) legislation in the same character of law as the February 1933 decrees which first established the Nazi government as a dictatorship.”

The Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid To Civilian Authorities) Act 2000

This act, the infamous “Shoot to Kill Bill”, allows Australian defence forces to enter buildings, cordon off areas, erect barricades, and stop traffic to search and seize people and property, and to use “lethal force” if “domestic violence” flares, or if the “Commonwealth’s interests” are threatened. The act represented a radical break with all previous Australian legislative history. As Sen. Vicki Bourne of the Democrats said in the debate shortly before the bill passed, “Let’s get clear what we have here. If this bill is passed, it will mean Australian troops can be directed, as a lawful order, to shoot dead other Australians under some circumstances.” The Coalition/ALP gang rammed the bill through, refusing to even allow a one-line amendment which would have forbidden the army to shoot “people engaged in peaceful protests or civil disobedience.”

Y2K Emergency Laws

The Victorian State parliament passed a series of laws in late 1999 ostensibly to deal with potential “Y2K chaos”. The laws were the most sweeping in Australian history, allowing authorities to ration food; to “make a declaration that any service is an essential service” (e.g. water, transport, electricity, health care) for purposes of the law; to requisition any citizen or any machinery for an indefinite period of time; to impose fines of up to $1 million or imprisonment for three years for anyone not complying with an officer under the law; to give blanket immunity to any official acting under the law, and so on. In short, said the leader of the opposition Liberal Party Dr. Denis Napthine (whose party wholeheartedly supported the laws), Clause 5 of one of the Acts “proposes giving enormous power to the minister, who will be able to do virtually anything. It provides powers that could put the situation on a war footing.” Even ALP Minister for Transport Peter Batchelor, when introducing the legislation, admitted that “the powers given to the minister are so broad as to be almost draconian.”

All of this power was allegedly granted to deal with a crisis which never existed in the first place. As LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review magazine documented at the time, the “Y2K crisis” was manufactured in order to pump money into the global speculative bubble, to keep the world’s financial system afloat for a few more years. Although the laws had a sunset clause which terminated them in June 2001, a precedent was set, in particular to deal with “interruptions of essential services”; it also added new provisions on such “continuity of services” to the Emergency Management Act 1986, which did not sunset. Such “interruption of services” are precisely a function of privatisation looting of essential infrastructure, such as the privatisation of the State’s electricity system.

The National Firearms Program Implementation Bill 1996

This was passed in the wake of the April 28, 1996 mass slaughter at Port Arthur in Tasmania by Martin Bryant. Bryant was a known security threat, and had been under the care of brainwashing experts associated with British intelligence’s Tavistock Institute from his early youth. His main controller was Tavistock’s legendary, Tasmania-based brainwasher, Dr. Eric Cunningham-Dax, as the New Citizen documented in an exclusive investigation published in its June-August 1997 edition. Much stricter gun control laws were implemented by state police ministers within days, followed by the federal law. Neither would have had any chance of being enacted without Bryant’s bloody mayhem. Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer charged (falsely) that the huge protest rallies against gun control, such as the 150,000 people who gathered to protest in Melbourne, had been organised by LaRouche, and that “There is no place in Australia for the kinds of ideas associated with LaRouche.”

Such restrictive laws on the possession of guns by Australian citizens were a lawful prelude to the “Shoot to Kill Bill” passed a few years later, allowing the Army to shoot and kill citizens who now do not have the means to defend themselves.

You, as an Australian citizen, have a choice about how you respond to the above list of fascist laws. You can either become demoralised at the attempt of the Howard-led neoconservatives, aided by Latham’s ALP, to replicate Nazi Germany here, or, you can decide to fight—as most Germans did not do in the early 1930s. The only moral thing to do, is to fight. And, if you make that decision, there is only one organisation waging a determined warfare against both the police-state laws, and against the economic rationalist policies, which render those laws necessary—the Citizens Electoral Council.

You should also realise that, although the odds might not look in our favour here in Australia, we have the enemy on the run globally. Two years ago, when LaRouche began his campaign in the U.S. to oust the neoconservative kingpin Dick Cheney from office, everyone warned him that that was “too dangerous”, or that “you could never do it.” But now, thanks in large degree to the series of “Children of Satan” pamphlets of which this is the third, it is a matter of daily speculation in the U.S. media and in political circles, as to when Cheney will be dumped, and with him the whole neoconservative cabal which organised the Iraq war, and has been leading the drive for more wars and for domestic police-states. So, we have an excellent chance of succeeding, and now is the time for you to join the fight.

Craig Isherwood
National Secretary
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

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