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32 WA groups likely to say "NO" to terror laws

32 WA groups likely to express resounding "NO"to terror laws

Media Release
Wednesday November 2 2005 7:45am WST
For immediate Release
No Embargoes

More than thirty-two community groups ranging from human rights to social justice organisations, groups and alliances and peace activists, both secular and church-based, will meet in what promises to become a powerful forum at the University of Western Australia this Friday, with ALP backbencher Dr Carmen Lawrence and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert as keynote speakers.

"The planned forum is likely to become a central springboard for strongly resounding dissent with the proposed federal anti-terrorism laws for the massive number of groups, WA human rights lobby and action group Project SafeCom said this morning."

"Already anyone who shares information and communication in the course of a formal appointment in an organisation where this person is accountable to that information, cannot possibly comply with the secrecy provisions of the laws, Project SafeCom spokesman Jack H Smit commented."

"I have to say, with regret to Mr Howard, that any wish for ASIO to contact myself for any information, any planned arrest of people such as myself, will have the immediate effect that I will be obliged to brief the Project SafeCom steering committee and the wider membership."

"As an accountable executive operator and representative of my organisation, nothing I have said or no information I may or may not have received, has occurred in the course of my work and not as a private citizen. This information is not mine, but it is the property of Project SafeCom - and as such I cannot possibly comply with these made-on-the-run ridiculous secrecy provisions."

"Not only that, the laws are so ridiculous that they just seem to be fabrications of a panicked mad-man, greedy and hungry for power. They are seriously in breach - just like the nasty legislation enacted in the Migration Act that has caused untold grief to thousands of people seeking rightfully protection in our country under UN Conventions - they are in breach of a multitude of commitments Australia has made up till now to International Conventions and enshrined and deeply held universal human rights notions that underpin our societies."

"These laws jeopardise the independence of the judiciary, they seriously erode the principle of someone being innocent until proven guilty and they will spiral Australia into a police state," Mr Smit said.

"Mr Howard may like that principle because it places him squarely in secret control, and some of the State premiers may nicely fall in line with the Prime Minister for their own self-serving political interests and for fear of carrying the can if any terrorist attacks happen in their State, but hundreds of thousands of Australians do not agree with these laws. In the end these laws only serve to scoop up more Federal power for Mr Howard at the cost of independence and erosion of power of the States."

"These laws should be banned from being pushed through, and they should be made fully public, and they should be subject to a lengthy Senate Inquiry. The fact that Mr Howard is in such a hurry for these laws to be passed is not related to terrorism but to the ideological greed of a prime minister who has been in power beyond his years, and beyond the measure of his honesty."


ONLINE RESOURCES:

Laws of Terror: Public Forum Friday November 4th
5.45pm to 7.45pm University of WA - Social Sciences Lecture Theatre
http://al.perthimc.asn.au/terrorlawforum1/index2.html

When the Terrorist Strikes...
resources for dissents with Australia's new terror legislation
http://www.safecom.org.au/terrorlaws.htm

PARTICIPATING WA GROUPS:

People’s Health Movement
Public Health Assoc. of Australia (WA Branch)
Social Justice NetworkThe Greens (WA)
Australian Democrats (WA Division)
Matrix Consulting GroupAmnesty Australia
WACOSS
WA Sustainability Collaboration
Aboriginal Legal Service
National Tertiary Education Union (WA Division)
Uniting Church
Social Justice Commission
Unions WA
CPSU/CSAASU
Institute of Advanced Studies, University of WA
West Australians for Racial Equality (WARE)
Curtin Centre for Human Rights Education
Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice
Ethnic Communities Council
Christian Centre for Social Action
Perth Indymedia
WA Peace Network
The Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group
The Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia
Society of Professional Social Workers
Catholic Social Justice Council, Perth
Refugee Rights Action Network
Socialist Alliance
Project SafeCom Inc.
No War Alliance
Medical Association for the Prevention of War
Perth Peace Group
Hills No War Alliance
East/Hills Socialist Alliance
The Gaia Foundation of WA
Stop MAI Coalition

ENDS

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