Thursday, June 25, 2015

Australia's war on dissent

Tony Abbott has been trying to appear "tough on terrorism" by pushing to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists without judicial oversight. This has turned into a disaster, so he's pared it back to stripping it automaticly on conviction for a terrorism-related offence. Except even that seems to go far too far:

Gareth Smith, 72, is hardly the death cult killer the Abbott government has in mind when it vows to strip dual national terrorists of their Australian citizenship.

But on a literal reading of the government's citizenship legislation, introduced yesterday to Parliament, Mr Smith, who proudly acknowledges he's a "serial protester", could find himself in the crosshairs.


Mr Smith was convicted in 2000 of damaging Commonwealth property after he spray-painted, "Shame Australia!! Shame!" in hot pink across the front of Parliament House, Canberra, as part of a protest about East Timor.

Under the legislation, dual nationals who are convicted of certain offences would be automatically stripped of their citizenship. Those offences range from treachery, sabotage and mutiny all the way down to damaging or destroying Commonwealth property.

It also includes a broad range of speech-related offences such as urging violence or advocating terrorism.

In short: disagree with the government about its position on the "war on terror", and lose your citizenship. Unless you're white, of course - then the Immigration Minister can use their discretion to overturn it. Which makes it crystal clear that this is simply more political repression rather than any principled and proportionate policy.

Again, this is a counterproductive policy which will simply further alienate Australia's Muslims. But saying that is probably "terrorism".