Ian Woolf - Laws Against Terror
Delivered 15 Mar 2006

Part 1

Its amazing what a good education in translating deceptive Orwellian NewSpeak the "Yes Minister" and "yes Prime Minister" TV series gives you. Government employees wish to deceive the public so that they can get what they want without democracy getting in the way. On the other hand, they avoid lying outright, because if the truth IS discovered by the public, they can spin that they had always told the truth, its just that you were too stupid to understand what they were really saying. Detention is keeping kids late after school, not locking them in prison. That would be imprisonment, which is the word I use when I mean locking someone up so that they can't leave.

ASIO Chief Paul O'Sullivan is quoted in Monday's Sydney Morning Herald talking about the threat of terrorist attack on Australian soil:

ASIO's assessment of a possible terrorist attack in Australia has remained at medium since the September 2001 attacks in the US, Mr O'Sullivan said.

Translation: The threat has not increased.

He said there was a higher threat level for acts against the interests of the US, Britain and Israel in Australia.

Translation: Even if an attack did happen, terrorists don't hate Australians enough to aim at us. Its vague whether he means Embassies or MacDonalds, or MacDonalds at Embassies.

However, recent trends had indicated terrorist groups were now smaller and more diffuse, making it harder for security agencies to detect them.

Translation: There is little evidence for terrorist groups or threats in Australia.

This justified the enhanced powers the Federal Government had given ASIO and the federal police. These included warrants that allow people to be detained without charge in certain circumstances.

Translation: The fact that there is no evidence of danger justifies imprisoning people without charge and making them answer questions without a lawyer under duress, in secret.

The arguments made by the anti-terrorism lobby is that we need to destroy our rights to protect our lives and our free way of life.

Edward Spence of the Centre of Applied Philosophy at ANU makes an argument for destroying our humans rights to protect us goes something like this:

Some rights of a suspect may be overridden where there is reliable evidence that the suspect is planning a terrorist attack, because unrestrained human rights may allow mayhem.

Time, in matters of terrorism, is of the essence. As such the rights of people suspected of terrorism on the basis of reliable preliminary evidence may justifiably be constrained. "Reliable evidence" is now downgraded to "reliable preliminary evidence", where "preliminary evidence" is evidence that has not yet been confirmed as reliable, because there isn't enough time to be sure. People might get killed if we wait.

Next, the right to presumption of innocence, which is about both the onus of proof and about treatment of people suspected of crime, is argued to be waived because of the number of people affected by terrorism. This doesn't make sense. No safety was gained by shackling the 2005 NSW terror suspects hand and foot and putting them in solitary confinement while waiting several months for their case to be tried. Reversing the onus of proof makes it impossible to prove your innocence.

The degradation of conditions before human rights are abridged has been pushed further by Phillip Ruddock, who wants to lower this to no evidence at all. Under the Terror laws people who the Police and ASIO have zero evidence of planning or acting on a terror crime can still be imprisoned for 7 days without trial or charge, and they can be imprisoned for 7 years if they tell anybody why they were made to disappear. Or they can be put under a 12 month rotating control order.

The only "terrorist attack" on Australian soil was the 1978 Hilton bombing. 3 people died, and 7 were wounded. What happened? Would the new Terror powers have stopped it, and will they prevent it ever happening again? Does ASIO really need these totalitarian powers to keep us safe?

The Australian federal Police and ASIO framed the Ananda Marga group and convicted them and won the first huge increases in power for Australia's secret police. ASIO had been attacked by the State governments and in the media for abuse of power, for keeping files on Viet Nam Peace activists, and its reason for being had been questioned. Now it could point to the threat of terrorism on Australian soil. The police claimed they arrested the men with bombs in their hands. Eventually their convictions were over-turned, but the new ASIO powers remained. Tim Anderson was arrested and imprisoned again, but he was eventually completely cleared of all guilt. The chief prosecution witness confessed to the bombing and was imprisoned, despite having been completely discredited as a witness. He later recanted his confession. The bombing had served its purpose, so no more investigation into the criminals behind it were necessary. Nobody has been prosecuted since for the bombing. In these days of heightened alertness, this is remarkable.

According to John Tomlinson - senior lecturer in social policy at QUT , in the last 20 years 200 Australian have died in police custody, which is more than have died in overseas terrorist attacks. -


The 2005 Terror laws were rejected by parliament in 2002. The fact that they were rushed in after the Coalition gained a majority and then rushed through in as much secrecy as could be managed, shows again the Federal government's desire for subverting democracy. We couldn't tell you because you might have stopped us.

How have these laws been used?

David Hicks has been imprisoned without charge and tortured for over four years in Guantanomo Bay. Its been discussed that if he is ever freed, the Australian government will try to convict him under the "terrorist training" provisions of the 2005 laws, although they will have to be made retrospective.

Training now convicts you of terrorism without you ever using or planning to use the skills. This is a thought crime. People will be locked up for what is in their head. This could extend to all martial arts training, after all, it could be used to commit crimes. Rifle ranges would be illegal, and archery and fencing would also be illegal training.

Sydney man Ahmed Jamal has been imprisoned for 18 months without charge in Iraq and has been tortured. John Howard has refused to send staff to investigate or demand that he be released.

Mamdoud habib was released after two years of imprisonment and torture by the American government, including rendition to Egypt for out-sourced torture that even the US won't touch directly.

The men arrested on terrorism charges last year who were the excuse for emergency overnight legislation changing the laws from a specific "the" to a fuzzy "a" have been shackled hand and foot, and subjected to solitary confinement and generally mistreated by the police. Their case hasn't come to trial yet.

By an astounding coincidence, the US Patriot Act was also had the language changed from the specific "the" to the fuzzy "a" in 2002:

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act waived the bread-and-butter legal standard in criminal cases of "probable cause," but said the spy court could only dispatch agents and their high-tech listening devices for purposes of counterintelligence.

The USA Patriot Act expanded the spy court's power.

Before, the law specified that "the purpose" of a secret warrant must be counterintelligence. A provision of the Patriot Act amended that to say, "a significant purpose" must be intelligence gathering.

That left wide open other potential purposes for secret warrants, privacy watchers say.

Both law enforcement and civil liberties groups interpret the change from "the" to "a" as blurring the line between the counterintelligence and criminal work of the FBI in the fight against terrorism. "http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/08/attack/main524644.shtml

"Jihad Jack" was convicted of accepting a ticket home from criminals while he was stranded, and altering his passport. These are Immmigration law breaches, an obsession of the Attorney-General. Neither event threatened to unleash murder or even fear on Australian citizens, but the police are hailing it as a victory for the Terror laws. He was cleared of the actual terrorism charges, despite enthusiasm from the prosecution. The government has declared a victory, but perhaps the judicary are sending a message about justice.

Journalist Subodh Atal wrote about a press conference to empty chairs that was given by George Bush. The press had walked out after he had dodged answering questions about journalists killed by the US military in Iraq. The press conference continued to the empty chairs, and the government cameras just didn't show they were empty.

The Orwellian twist to the administration is that it claims to be waging the war on terror, when it has actually created a new epicenter of terrorism in Iraq. It has allowed the spread of terrorism from South East Asia to Europe. It has not bothered to get Pakistan to clean up its nuclear proliferation and terrorist infrastructure, and has blocked critical findings about Saudi Arabia's connections to 9/11 from releasing. That the Orwellian methods are working is evident from the fact that more than half the population of the United States still believes Bush is "strong on terror". And all it will take will be that one extra delegate to give Bush four more years and more mayhem around the world while Americans snugly believe every word that he says.

So what did George Orwell have to say that might apply to the War On Terror more than just the idea that governments might lie to their public and create the disasters that justify their emergency powers.

From 1984:

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed.

A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built.

In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another.

George Orwell, 1984

Sedition section of the Terror law says that it is the Attorney-General's personal decision whether or not you had "good faith" when you criticised his Government and so whether you should be imprisoned or not.

Detainees who failed to produce a document or any other "thing" demanded by ASIO could still be jailed for five years unless they proved that they did not have the items requested. This completely reverses the onus of proof that is the foundation of our Justice system.

The Attorney-General has gained the extraordinary personal power to imprison people indefinitely without a trial, or even suspicion of committing or planning a crime, and interrogate them without the lawyer of their choice. The police are fee to refuse you access to your lawyer for "security reasons". Prisoners are compelled to answer questions or face mandatory five years imprisonment. The five years penalty could be incurred without any crime ever having been committed or planned. No protection from self-incrimination, no requirement to inform the prisoner of the reasons for their imprisonment, no freedom from strip searches. If you tell anyone EVER, why you disappeared for 48 hours or more, including employers or family, you will incur a five year mandatory imprisonment, and so will any person you tell who also spills the beans. This way there is no feedback to the media or complaints tribunals for correcting the inevitable mistakes or abuses. You no longer have the right to to free expression of your experience to the media, your friends and family, or even to the justice system. The ASIO Act makes it illegal to publicly identify ASIO officers, so you can't even complain to ASIO administration for internal review, because you will never know the name of your abusers.

This simultaneously abolishes the right to remain silent and freedom of expression.

Treason and Sedition

A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter.

This means that Australia will have abandoned the basic principle of justice: the presumption of innocence until proved guilty. In a fair trial, the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

(3) A person commits an offence under this section even if:

(b) the training is not connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or

assistance in a specific terrorist act;

So any kind of training at all can subject you to imprisonment as a terrorist and charged with treason, in which case you will have to find a way to prove you are innocent.

101.4 Possessing things connected with terrorist acts

(3) A person commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) even if:

(b) the thing is not connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or

assistance in a specific terrorist act;

You can be imprisioned for posessing a terrorist "thing", no matter whether anything you possess has anything to do with terrorism or not.

101.5 Collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts


(3) A person commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) even if:

(a) a terrorist act does not occur; or

(b) the document is not connected with 1 preparation for, the engagement of a person

in, or assistance in a specific terrorist act;

Journalism is terrorism.

101.6 Other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts


(2) A person commits an offence under subsection (1) even if :

(a) a terrorist act does not occur; or

(b) the person's act is not done in preparation for, or planning, a specific terrorist act;

Bit of a trend here! What sort of fair law has "even if" clauses??? But like the Industrial Relations laws, this isn't about fairness. So again, innocence is no defense.

103.2 Financing a terrorist


(2) A person commits an offence under subsection (1) even if:

(a) a terrorist act does not occur; or

(b) the funds will not be used to facilitate or engage in a specific terrorist act

Not having anything to do with terrorism isn't a defense.

(1) If the issuing Court makes the control order, the order must:

(d) specify the period during which the order is to be in force, which must not end more

than 12 months after the day on which the order is made;

Then there are the "Control Orders", with can last a year, and which do not require a Judge's decision, but the Attorney-General's personal permission. This gives Phillip Ruddock the right to imprison Australian citizens without a court case, and without any right of appeal. Generously, your lawyer may attend an agreed place to receive a copy of the order, but you can't have them with you if you're imprisoned.

(2) Paragraph (1)(d) does not prevent the making of successive orders in relation to

the same person.

This means that when your year of prison without trial is up, Phillip Ruddock can just imprison you for another year, without limit. Its not just limited to prison, a Control Order can also restrict any number of your basic civil rights while making it appear that you are not being persecuted.


(3) The obligations, prohibitions and restrictions that the Court may impose on the

person by the control order are the following:

(a) a prohibition or restriction on the person 1 being at specified areas or places;

This could be any kind of imprisonment, or it could be house arrest, or a work camp.

(b) a prohibition or restriction on the person leaving Australia;

(c) a requirement that the person remain at specified premises between specified times

each day, or on specified days;

(d) a requirement that the person wear a tracking device;

(e) a prohibition or restriction on the person communicating or associating with

specified individuals;

(f) a prohibition or restriction on the person accessing or using specified forms of

telecommunication or other technology (including the Internet);

(g) a prohibition or restriction on the person possessing or using specified articles or


(h) a prohibition or restriction on the person carrying out specified activities (including

in respect of his or her work or occupation);

(i) a requirement that the person report to specified persons at specified times and


(j) a requirement that the person allow himself or herself to be photographed;

(k) a requirement that the person allow his or her fingerprints to be taken;

(l) if the person consents - a requirement that the person participate in specified

counselling or education.

Obviously if you are being harassed this way, you are hardly in a position to refuse (l), being put through a Government Re-Education Camp, North Korean-style.


(5) This section does not affect the person's right to contact, communicate or

associate with the person's lawyer unless the person's lawyer is a specified

individual as mentioned in paragraph (3)(e). If the person's lawyer is so specified,

the person may contact, communicate or associate with any other lawyer who is

not so specified.

In other words, this takes away your right to contact the lawyer of your choice.

104.10 Lawyer may request copy of control order

(2) This section does not:

(b) entitle the lawyer to request or be given a copy of, or see, a document other than the


This means that your defense lawyer will not be allowed any idea of the reasons that you are being persecuted as an enemy of the Bad faith Regime. They cannot defend you if they don't know why you are being persecuted.

104.13 Offence for contravening a control order


A person commits an offence if:

(a) a control order is in force in relation to the person; and

(b) the person contravenes the order.

(i) the effect of the order;

(ii) the period for which the order is in force;

Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

This means that after they have put you under a Control Order, with no charges or evidence against you, they can control everything you say and do. If you tell anyone, they can imprison you for five years. If you tell a journalist, your boss, or even a family member that the reason you're behaving strangely or have been missing for weeks is because the police or ASIO told you to, you go to prison. This specifically includes 16 year old school children, who are likely to have more trouble understanding that they can't tell anyone that the police have turned their friend's brother into a Government slave, or they will go to prison for five years.

104.16 Sunset provision

This Division ceases to have effect at the end of 10 years after it commences.

When the State Premiers sold us out, they agreed to a five year sunset clause, not ten.

CCL NOTE: All decisions under the new Division 105 are exempt from judicial review under

the ADJR Act. See clause 20 of Schedule 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005, amending

Schedule 1 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.


Secrecy from the public

Keeping proposed legislation secret cannot prevent crimes. Keeping passed legislation secret doesn't prevent crimes. The only motivation for keeping laws secret until they are passed is the fear that the public will disagree with the legislation and act to prevent them being passed. The only motivation for keeping laws secret after they have been passed is again to subvert democracy.

Proposed legislation is kept secret to prevent public discussion and debate, and to prevent non-Party members Members of parliament and Senators from being able to make an informed vote. Hundreds of pages are tabled and then the vote is called for within 24 hours.

ASIO is to be given the right to monitor the phone calls, email and text messages of people not suspected of any crime.

The Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill was introduced to parliament on February 16. Under the bill, to qualify for your phone to be tapped, you merely need to be a "third party" to a serious crime.

Police will be given a 45-day warrant to monitor a person not under suspicion in the hope it might lead to a person who would be of interest to the police. The warrant can be renewed. ASIO can obtain three-month warrants.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said the powers are unprecedented. "It massively expands police surveillance and it's directly targeted against innocent people who are doing nothing wrong." He pointed out that a phone in Australia is already 26 times more likely to be bugged than a phone in the United States.

ASIO, the domestic spy agency, already has vast powers to intercept mail, tap phones, secretly enter premises, hack into computers and infiltrate organisations. It has a long and notorious history of surveillance, harassment and dirty tricks directed against left-wing political activists and organisations. Adding the powers of detention and interrogation will transform it into a fully-fledged political police force. Under the guise of protecting Australians against terrorism, the government has rushed to establish an apparatus that will be used to intimidate and terrorise ordinary people.


Mick Keelty has been appearing on Lateline and other shows pushing Indonesian-style "re-programming" of terrorism convicts. The implication is that these people are sick and brainwashing will cure them so that they can be released as healthy humans. In which case we should be treating them with the same respect and rights we accord to other ill or injured people. They just need to be cured. The other implication is that Government bureacrats and not psychiatrists can determine what is and isn't healthy thinking, and people committing sedition may also be "re-educated".

The process has also been used in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. "

In the policy preparation we raised it in the context of the control orders - whether a control order ought to extend that far - but at this point in time we haven't got a control order that's going to say that we're going to force people into particular de-programming.

The Future:

Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock has requested the personal ministerial power to deport citizens who were born in Australia as easily and unaccountably as he does people who came here as babies

We are tempting unscrupulous politicians.