Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Worse than I thought

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ever listening to submitters). But in the process they've revealed that they expect the law to be applied far more widely than expected. While the committee dismisses fears the law could be applied to protestors, it then goes on to say:

Similar concern was expressed about clause 7, which states that a person engages in terrorism-related activity if they “facilitate or support the carrying out of terrorism”. We consider this wording appropriate. It is deliberately broad, so that those who knowingly spread terrorist propaganda — whether as part of a recognised terrorist group or less formally — could be considered for a control order. Labour Party and Green Party members were particularly concerned about informal terrorism, and spe-cifically white supremacist terrorism.

So the threshold for having your liberty removed, without evidence, trial or prosecution, is "spread[ing] terrorist propaganda". Which seems awfully low. And it this stage, it seems worth pointing out that environmentalists are often considered to be terrorists overseas, that Australia has passed laws against "vegan terrorists" (AKA "people who film farm animals suffering") and is using similar rhetoric against climate protesters as it desperately attempts to defend the coal industry. So, speaking or posting in support of such groups or causes could fall foul of such a standard. And given Simon Bridges' views of Extinction Rebellion, this seems like an accident waiting to happen.

As for white supremacists, the implication here is that visiting Nazis like Southern and Molyneux who spread racist hate would be gagged at the border, without evidence, trial or prosecution. I don't like Nazis, but that seems a bit extreme, and not the sort of thing that a free and democratic society operating under the rule of law should do.

If "spreading terrorist propaganda" reaches a criminal threshold, it should be prosecuted. If it doesn't, then there seems to be no justification for restricting someone's liberty on the basis of what they say. And if the government believes the law in this area is inadequate, then it should say so, and make a case for proper legislation - not pull a half-arsed, tyrannical workaround which is open to abuse and undermines the values it purports to protect. But I guess that, like gathering evidence, that would be actual work.

Sadly, it seems like the Greens are still supporting this odious piece of tyranny. And if they continue to do so, then you should not support them.