Contributed by Joe Montero
The recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) summit will go down in history for achieving one thing, and that is to further lock Australia into curtailing human rights under the guise of combatting the threat of terrorism.
The point is that this is based on the big lie. Australia is not a big player in international politics and although there is a very small threat of an attack – there always is . It is minimal, when compared to many other countries.
This does not prevent it from being a powerful political weapon in the hands of a government prepared to be less than honest and in need of a ploy to deflect attention from its political difficulties.
John Howard shaped the habit of whipping up the terrorism threat for this purpose. It has been continued by political leaders since and taken the shape a bipartisan policy, of ever ratcheting up measures that have slowly eroded long held rights for all of us: A process that has prepared the ground for what hapenned at this year’s COAG summit.
Incredibly, the states have singed on the dotted line without even seeing a draft of the legislation that would spell out what they were agreeing to.
by doing this, they contributed to putting into effect Malcolm Turnbull’s ambition to lift the constant surveillance of every Australian, to a level that would not have been believed only a few years ago. And there is no doubt that this capability will be used to strengthen the bullying that is already written into the DNA of the political establishment. One only needs to look at how Centrelink recipients are being treated to see this and it does not stop here.
Another example of political bullying has been the way the marriage equality debate has been conducted. It should have been straight forward. But it has been conducted in a way deliberately calculated to turn people against each other and expose LGTB people to attack.
A return to the Howard WorkChoices era type industrial relations and the witch hunting of construction industry unions are also applications to the use of bullying politics.
Mix bullying politics with coercive powers and it will eventually be turned against the population as a whole.
Here are some of the measures that have been agreed to.
Real time facial recognition technology will be used to monitor, not just those posing a risk of an attack, but the whole population. This is sinister, because governments will have in their hands a tool that gives them a level of power to manipulate and pressure the population to a level they have never enjoyed before.
The capacity now exists to match up the history of an individual, not just criminal history, but whether they have publicly protested a government policy, their voting pattern, their interests, where they live, where they shop and other information that will create a profile within seconds.
A sinister addition is that Turnbull has already said that data obtained will be made available to private business interests. No doubt they will profit by selling information about individuals. It will also open a new line of business for criminal syndicates, to join in the exploitation of private information turned into a commodity.
Increased surveillance fits in well with the plan to create for a Home Affairs super-ministry to take command of seven agencies, such as the AFP, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and Australian Border Force (ABF), and a new US-style Office of National Intelligence (ONI) in the prime minister’s office, headed by a Director-General of National Intelligence.
Anyone can be held for 14 days without charge under the accusation of terrorism that is defined so broadly that it can apply to any circumstance. This includes children as young as 10. Sources close to the government have already suggested that individuals involved in community campaigns such as opposition to coal mining, coal seam gas extraction and union members involved in industrial disputes should be treated much more harshly, under the accusation of damaging the national interest.
Remember, the right not to be detained without trial was once considered sacrosanct. It has now gone.
Government has been given new power, to call out the army to deal with domestic unrest. Domestic unrest means much more than someone planning or carrying out a violent act, to encompas situations where there is significant opposition to a government. This could be used as a catalyst for military intervention an it flies in the face of any notion of democracy.
This is the sort of future that is virtually guaranteed, by continuing the slide down this slippery slope.
We are really talking about the setting up of a framework for a police state. Our political leaders tell us that we must sacrifice a little of our freedom for our security. This is the line of argument pursued by every tyrant.
The sad thing is that the impact of constant propaganda, has lulled us and this has been allowing the political establishment to wrap us up in its chains.
When it is considered that the new measures come on top of more than 70 new laws and measures to counter “terrorism” have been put in place since 2001, it puts everything into perspective.