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Will you Cross The Floor, Senator?

13 November 2005 - The Anti-terrorism Bill 2005 should be of extreme concern to all Australians. Its extremist powers are being pushed and peddled by the Howard administration, but as is becoming abundantly clear, the laws are not needed, they do not safeguard anyone in Australia who may practice fierce dissent with the policies of the Howard government, and they do not safeguard those who criticise the Howard government, even if this is in writing or in the Performing or visual Arts. The fact that already an artist was requested to be prosecuted for treason against the State shows the level of concern we all should have with these laws.

IMAGE: Thanks to The Australian and Nicholson cartoons

An eery déja-vue

Four years ago many Australians experienced a spine-chilling experience whenever they turned on the television. The then Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock, who now invariably gets drawn by cartoonists with a cold-blue facial skin tone, took every opportunity he could to embark on an agressive media-campaign, defending the indefensible in relation to "unannounced" asylum seekers arriving on our shores seeking asylum. Ruddock was Howard's chief defender of, if need be, a lifelong jailing of innocent men, women and children, who came to Australia unannounced by boat, just like tens of thousands of people have done for centuries, and they used their International right under the UN Refugee Convention and the International Declaration of Human Rights to do so.

Now once again, this time as the Attorney-General, Ruddock is defending the indefensible of the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005, of its secrecy provisions - where even parents of those who are "snapped up" by ASIO on "suspicion only" can be jailed up to five years for telling their spouses or family members of this "ASIO disappearance" of their son or daughter; Ruddock does the media work also for the medieval "Sedition Laws" included in the legislation.

A window of opportunity

Surprisingly, an unexpected window of opportunity has appeared - small, but significant. While on Thursday November 10 (2005) Parliament was planning to rush these laws through, delays caused by the (equally draconian) Industrial Regulations Bills postposed the debate and the voting for the Terrorlaws in the lower house.

Included in this page on our website is a list of about a dozen Liberal and National MP's and Senators who have since the 2001 TAMPA legislation shown increasing concerns for how asylum policies have created disastrous policies and a deleterious effect on the "recipients" of these policies - and several of them have expressed serious concerns with the proposed anti-terrorism legislation, and its undermining of internationally agreed conventions - including the "sedition laws" which in principle enable a complete shut-down of dissenting voices expressing criticism with the Howard government.

The only choice for us left is to urge these MPs and Senators to cross the floor of Parliament and with this act of dissent vote down the legislation.

We have just a little more than one working week to contact these MPs and Senators, asking them to oppose the passing of this legislation that has no place in a democracy. Before 28 November we'll need to write or fax them and follow this up with a phone call. The phone call needs to include a check where you can urgently reach this MP right now: at their electorate office or in their Parliament House office.

Condemn Terror - not our Human Rights

Sample letter to Members of Parliament or Senators

Dear (Name of MP or Senator),

I wish to lodge my opposition and concerns over the counter-terrorism laws currently being considered by both federal and state Governments. These laws remove important democratic rights and, in my view, constitute a surrender in the "war on terrorism". I condemn terror, but I also condemn these laws that compromise our basic human rights and our democracy.

I am opposed to these Terror Laws because:

  1. Terrorism should be addressed using existing criminal law. Terrorism and the perpetration of violence is already a criminal offense. These new laws are unnecessary and dangerous.
  2. The proposed laws are unconstitutional and bypass our existing judiciary system. The Prime Minister required State Premiers to agree to pass and enforce the laws at a state level in order to avoid a constitutional challenge in the High Court.
  3. These draconian laws will provide unreasonably harsh powers to state police enabling them to secretly detain people without charge, covertly search private property without warrants, and shoot and kill suspects who have not been charged with a crime.
  4. Secret detention without charge and house arrest violate basic international human rights and are untenable in a fair democracy. These are features of dictatorial power and fascism, and are easily abused by governments and secret police agencies.
  5. The expanded definition of sedition will make dissent, or even humanitarian protest, a criminal offense. The difficulties in terms of defining terrorism (as seen in the 2002 legislation) make these powers easy to abuse. The subjective judgment of federal and state police will inevitably lead to racial profiling of the Muslim community.
  6. Shoot to kill powers are unacceptable and may result in the killing of innocent civilians. The execution-style killing of an innocent Brazilian in London after the bombings was a tragedy that should have alerted the Australian Government to the extremism of this power.

As a loyal Australian citizen, I cannot support these laws. These laws compromise our rights to protest, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and to be charged in a court of law. I request you as my representative in the Government to represent my opposition to the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005.

Yours sincerely,
Name and Address or Electorate

Members of the House of Representatives:

Liberal Party of Australia

Petro Georgiou MP, Member for Kooyong

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
695 Burke Road
Hawthorn East Vic 3123

Tel: (03) 9882 3677
Fax: (03) 9882 3773
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4419
Fax: (02) 6277 4990
Email: P.Georgiou.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?ID=HM5

Malcolm Turnbull MP, Member for Wentworth

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
Level 1, 5a Bronte Road
Bondi Junction NSW 2022

PO Box 1840
Bondi Junction NSW 1355

Tel: (02) 9369 5221
Fax: (02) 9369 5225
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4279
Fax: (02) 6277 8510
Email: Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=885

Steven Ciobo MP, Member for Moncrieff

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
3 Short Street
Southport Qld 4215

PO Box 2040
Southport Qld 4215

Tel: (07) 5591 1011
Fax: (07) 5532 3187
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 2330
Fax: (02) 6277 8452
Email: Steven.Ciobo.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?ID=ANO

The Hon Judi Moylan MP, Member for Pearce

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
490 Great Eastern Highway
Greenmount WA 6056

PO Box 1005
Midland WA 6936

Tel: (08) 9294 3222
Fax: (08) 9294 2888
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4171
Fax: (02) 6277 8400
Email: J.Moylan.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=4V5

Russell Broadbent MP, Member for McMillan

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
10A Napier Street
Warragul Vic 3820

Tel: (03) 5623 2064
Fax: (03) 5623 2509
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4233
Fax: (02) 6277 8485
Email: Russell.Broadbent.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=MT4

The Hon Bruce Baird MP, Member for Cook

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
Shop 3, 346 Port Hacking Road
Caringbah NSW 2229

PO BOX 819
Caringbah NSW 1495

Tel: (02) 9525 8200
Fax: (02) 9540 1587
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4814
Fax: (02) 6277 8544
Email: Bruce.Baird.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=MP6

Patrick Secker MP, Member for Barker

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
37 Adelaide Road
Murray Bridge SA 5253

Tel: (08) 8531 2466
Free call: 1800 182 328
Fax: (08) 8531 2124
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4217
Fax: (02) 6277 8541
Email: P.Secker@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=848

The Hon Jackie Kelly MP, Member for Lindsay

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
Cnr Woodriff and Tindale Streets
Penrith NSW 2750

PO Box 712
Penrith NSW 2750

Tel: (02) 4732 2844
Fax: (02) 4732 2640
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 2369
Fax: (02) 6277 8440
Email: Jackie.Kelly.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=GK6

 

National Party of Australia

John Forrest MP, Member for Malley

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
60 Campbell Street
Swan Hill Vic 3585

PO Box 487
Swan Hill Vic 3585

Tel: (03) 5032 4510
Fax: (03) 5032 9407
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4094
Fax: (02) 6277 4977
Email: J.Forrest.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=NV5

Kay Hull MP, Member for Riverina

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
Suite 2, 11-15 Fitzmaurice Street
Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

Tel: (02) 6921 4600
Fax: (02) 6921 5900

100 Yambil Street
Griffith NSW 2680

Tel: (02) 6964 1212
Fax: (02) 6962 7722
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 4723
Fax: (02) 6277 8598
Email: Kay.Hull.MP@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=83O

Members of the Australian Senate

Liberal Party of Australia

Marise Payne, Senator for New South Wales

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
2-12 Macquarie Street
Parramatta NSW 2150

PO Box CC18
Parramatta NSW 2123

Tel: (02) 9893 5151
Fax: (02) 9893 5150
Senate Wing, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 3810
Fax: (02) 6277 3811
Email: senator.payne@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/s-m56.htm

George Brandis, Senator for Queensland

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
Suite 2, Level 36, Waterfront Place
1 Eagle Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

GPO Box 228
Brisbane QLD 4001

Tel: (07) 3001 8180
Fax: (07) 3001 8181
Senate Wing, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 3547
Fax: (02) 6277 3552
Email: senator.brandis@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/s-8w7.htm

Judith Troeth, Senator for Victoria

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
Unit 1, 322-332 St Kilda Road
St Kilda VIC 3182

Tel: (03) 9593 9511
Fax: (03) 9593 9971
Toll free: 1300 132 475
(Toll free number is only
available Victoria)
Senate Wing, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 3785
Fax: (02) 6277 5797
Email: senator.troeth@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/s-gx5.htm

National Party of Australia

Barnaby Joyce, Senator for Queensland

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
90 The Terrace
St George QLD 4487

PO Box 628
St George QLD 4487

Tel: (07) 4625 1500
Fax: (07) 4625 1511
Toll Free: 1300 668 135
(Toll free number is only
available in Queensland)
Senate Wing, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 3697
Fax: (02) 6277 5782
Email: senator.joyce@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/s-e5d.htm

Family First

Steven Fielding, Senator for Victoria

Electorate Office: Parliament House Office:
PO Box 500
Box Hill VIC 3128

Ph: 03 9897 3307
Fax: 03 9897 4578
Toll Free: 1300 736 017
(Toll free number is only
available Victoria)
Senate Wing, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (02) 6277 3711
Fax: (02) 6277 5713
Email: senator.fielding@aph.gov.au
Website: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/s-e4r.htm
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2005-2012
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