PERSONAL LIBERTY WILL NOT BE A
CASUALTY, SAYS PM
would not be turned into a "police state" to protect
the public from terrorists, Prime Minister John
Howard said yesterday.
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."
Mr Howard said new security measures would be
considered after the London bombings, including
greater use of surveillance cameras.
not going to go to absolute extremes," he said.
not going to erode fundamental freedoms, but we have
to recognise that the people who perpetrate
terrorist attacks hate our society.
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
surveillance cameras had helped identify some of the
people involved in the bombings and could also act
as a deterrent.
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.
a very valuable weapon and they are things that
potentially we may need to look at expanding in
would not say whether Australia would adopt other
security measures being considered by Britain,
including detention without charge.
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.
Beazley criticised Mr Howard for being "terribly
vague" on the topic and said Australia must focus
its efforts on prevention.
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
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.
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,"
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'."
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.
he said surveillance cameras did play a part in
identifying the London bombers and were an issue
said that, let's acknowledge the fact CCTV in the
major capitals is already extremely widespread," he
Council of Queensland chairman Sultan Deen said any
new laws had to be properly implemented.
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