Wednesday November 2 2005 7:45am WST
For Immediate Release
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."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Laws of Terror: Public Forum Friday November 4th
5.45pm to 7.45pm University of WA - Social Sciences Lecture Theatre
When the Terrorist Strikes...
resources for dissents with Australia's new terror legislation
PARTICIPATING WA GROUPS:
• People's Health Movement
• Public Health Assoc. of Australia (WA Branch)
• Social Justice Network
• The Greens (WA)
• Australian Democrats (WA Division)
• Matrix Consulting Group
• Amnesty Australia
• WA Sustainability Collaboration
• Aboriginal Legal Service
• National Tertiary Education Union (WA Division)
• Uniting Church Social Justice Commission
• Unions WA
• 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