IT'S OFFICIAL - OUR FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS ARE TO BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS! STAND EASY!

 

 

PERSONAL LIBERTY WILL NOT BE A CASUALTY, SAYS PM
______________________________________

Lachlan Heywood

      The Courier-Mail (26-07-05)  
 

AUSTRALIA would not be turned into a "police state" to protect the public from terrorists, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday.

Mr Howard also gave assurances that Australia's "fundamental freedoms" would be protected at all costs.

"No government is going to turn Australia into a police state in order to protect us against terrorists," he said.

"We don't need to do that."

However, Mr Howard said new security measures would be considered after the London bombings, including greater use of surveillance cameras.

"We're not going to go to absolute extremes," he said.

"We're not going to erode fundamental freedoms, but we have to recognise that the people who perpetrate terrorist attacks hate our society.

"Now, when you're dealing with that kind of threat, you have an obligation to the public to take whatever measures are reasonable and proper to protect the community."

He said surveillance cameras had helped identify some of the people involved in the bombings and could also act as a deterrent.

"The biggest single thing that I have learned by a country mile out of my visit, particularly to Britain, is the extraordinary value of surveillance cameras," he told the Ten Network.

"They are a very valuable weapon and they are things that potentially we may need to look at expanding in Australia."

Mr Howard would not say whether Australia would adopt other security measures being considered by Britain, including detention without charge.

Labor Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said surveillance cameras would help Australia after a terrorist attack, but closing gaps in aviation and railway security should be a priority.

Mr Beazley criticised Mr Howard for being "terribly vague" on the topic and said Australia must focus its efforts on prevention.

"I welcome the remarks (Mr Howard) made about (cameras), but that's about gathering evidence after the fact. The fact has to be prevented," Mr Beazley said.

"The point is to stop the attack happening . . . and what we need to do there is to address those yawning gaps in aviation security, in railway security (and) in port security where we face the potential of those holes being exploited by our terrorist enemies."

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman, who has just returned from London, said the loss of fundamental freedoms remained a possibility despite Mr Howard's assurances.

"He may not have that intention (going to extremes) and I would accept that he is not that sort of person. But the fact that he does not have that intention ignores the fact that that could be the end result," he said.

"Once laws are passed, they will never be removed, and it is then beyond the government of the day as to how the intelligence services and the police put those laws into effect.

"So it is a bit glib of him to say: 'I have no intention of turning Australia into a police state'."

Mr O'Gorman said there was no evidence that showed the "current, extensive terrorism powers" introduced by the federal and state governments since September 11 did not work.

However, he said surveillance cameras did play a part in identifying the London bombers and were an issue worth revisiting.

"Having said that, let's acknowledge the fact CCTV in the major capitals is already extremely widespread," he said.

Islamic Council of Queensland chairman Sultan Deen said any new laws had to be properly implemented.

"We have no problem (with what has been proposed) whatsoever, as long as it does not create a situation where you have gun-happy people that are implementing it," he said.

 

 

 
 

IF YOU SEE A MEDIA REPORT WHICH IS WORTH SHARING, E-MAIL THE TEXT OR THE WEB-LINK TO US AND WE'LL CONSIDER IT.


 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO CONTENTS PAGE

 

H