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Australia: Protest Planned Against New Terror Laws

National weekend of protest planned against new terror laws

The new terror laws are a threat to everyone who dissents against Australian foreign policy. Our democratic rights are being eroded in the name of fighting terrorism.

Now that the details new so-called anti-terror laws have been posted by ACT chief minister John Stanhope, we know that they are a threat to all of us who have been criticizing Australia’s foreign policy.

It is clear that these new laws – which have been given the in principle go-ahead by the state Labor premiers and chief ministers – could feasibly be used to send someone how dares to dissent to prison. The laws are not about someone else – they are about silencing our right to criticize, and dissent from bad policy.

These restrictions on our civil rights have not made us safer – they have given more power to repressive government agencies such as ASIO.

The recent deportation of peace activist Scott Parkin shows that the Howard government is all too willing to misuse the power it already has to silence its critics.

We also condemn the Howard government’s attempts to split and isolate the Muslim community as part of its effort to shift the blame away from its unpopular Iraq war policy and onto a fearful and increasingly marginalized section of the Australian community.

Stop the War Coalition is organizing a “Don’t be silenced rally” on Saturday November 5, at 12 noon at Belmore Park which will stress the need to defend our civil rights. The rally is part of a weekend of protest against the new laws, and against Australia’s continuing involvement in the war on Iraq. A recent poll undertaken for the British Ministry of Defence shows that fewer than 1% of Iraqis think that the US-led military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

Speakers at the Sydney rally include Daryl Melham MP, ALP; Senator Kerry Nettle, Greens; NSW Council for Civil Liberties; Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network; Peter McClelland, CFMEU; Paul White, Muslims for Peace; Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance.

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