I'd like to draw your attention to…

this lecture by Malcom Fraser.

In particular, the following:

We are the only democratic country, I am advised, to legislate for the detention of people whom the authorities do not suspect of any wrong doing or even of any wrong thought.

In Australia, any of us can be detained merely because authorities believe we might know something that we don’t even know we know. The authorities do not have to believe we are guilty of any crime, or are planning any crime, or have consorted with any suspicious persons. How could such a law be drafted by the Government and supported by the Labor opposition? You can be detained for one week but then on a new warrant, another and another and another week. Unless it is approved in the original warrant, and why would ASIO do that? – you are not allowed to contact your wife, your husband, your child, your mother, your father and of course not a lawyer.

If you don’t answer ASIO’s questions satisfactorily, you can be charged and subject to 5 years in jail. But the law is reasonable, it goes on to say that if you don’t know anything, then it’s not an offence not to tell ASIO anything!!! But you have to prove you didn’t know anything and so the “onus of proof” is reversed.

You can be asked to produce a paper and if you don’t, you also go to jail on prosecution for 5 years but the law goes on to say, being fair-minded again, if you don’t have such a paper, it’s not an offence not to produce it but you have to prove that you didn’t have it. How do you prove that you do not have something that you do not even know exists!!! Again, the “onus of proof” is reversed.

If a journalist heard that you had been detained and sought to report it, he would go to jail for 5 years. If a detained person were released and talked to anyone about his or her experiences, subject to prosecution, five years in jail.

Leave a Reply