Contributed by Joe Montero
This is a follow up to the article published in The Pen on 2 July 2018, titled New laws have diminished our rights and are not about taking on corruption. It concerns the new laws of the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill 2018.
It was said that this is a device for involvement in the United States led trade war against China, and at the same time, to impose a much higher level of control over the Australian population, which the government mistrusts and fears. All the more so, when the China trade war has the potential of transforming into a shooting war.
Here are the two key draconian and anti-democratic measures that are contained in the new laws.
- Journalists who report anything the government says is harmful to Australia’s reputation on political or economic matters, including breaches of international law by the Australian government, risk prison for 25 years to life.
- Those who engage in a protest that interferes with obstructs access to public spaces and private property in cases related to foreign trade and international relations risks 20 to 25 years. Anyone planning such a protest, risks 7 years.
The only exceptions are those that are approved by the Attorney General.
These measures are can be used as a precedent to extend the measures to purely domestic affairs.
Enforcement of these conditions must involve an escalation of the use of force, and there is a good chance that the police across the nation will be militarised at a faster rate than has already been the case, transforming them into a political force for big brother. This is no over exaggeration, because the draconian penalties require draconian means to impose them on the population. Otherwise, they are just words on paper.
This is deadly serious, and if we roll over and accept it as a nation, it is going to exact a heavy price. As well as trying to intimidate those who want to speak out into silence, it sets the scene for escalation of the politics of fear, and the imposition of more force, in an upward going spiral.
This imposes a duty to continue to write, protest and build campaigns, whether it be over foreign or domestic policy. If enough people do it, the new law can be made unworkable. If we fail to act together, those who stick the necks, risk being grabbed and locked up. If this happens, the net will widened, to include even more people, until we are all at risk. Some are speaking out. Even more are likely to so so in the coming days. it is not too late to make a difference.
It is shocking in a supposedly democratic country.In the 90’s , one of my nephews was arrested in Melbourne for peaceful protesting. We should be able to speak out against anything we think is unjust without fear of punishment.
“…not about taking on corruption” More about concealing.
Some are going to be fearful of prosecution, or worse.
For me, it’s a last straw situation. It’s what (finally) motivates me to get out there rather than just being an armchair philosopher.
So flippin’ what if I get arrested? It’s inevitable that many will, before Human Rights lawyers get on it, and specifically get it before the High Court.
Everybody needs to follow Bob Marley’s advice:
Get Up, Stand Up! Stand up for your rights.