Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Safeguarding Australia against a police state

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On Thursday September 26 Melbourne University will host the first leg of the ‘Safeguarding Australia Homeland Security Summit’. This summit is organised by the Research Network for a Secure Australia (RNSA) which is a body funded by the federal government and supported by university research & private industry leaders.

The Safeguarding Australia summit has been established in a bid to develop and display new defence & surveillance technologies, alongside discussion on ‘Muslim population growth in Australia’ and ‘terrorism today’. In reality this conference is aimed at facilitating a climate of fear and the further scapegoating of the Muslim community. It is a conference that will discuss the further winding back of democratic rights and civil liberties.

In recent years both federal and state governments have brought in a raft of repressive legislation aimed at cracking down on dissent. Bit by bit the bosses and their representatives in the Liberal and Labor parties are trying to turn Australia into a police state.

This was most clearly seen at the recent APEC summit where the NSW state Labor government brought in one of the most draconian pieces of legislation ever seen in this country. The apparent aim of the laws was to ‘protect’ the APEC delegates. As was proven by events, there was never any threat to the APEC delegates and the legislation was used to intimidate anti-capitalist and anti-war protesters and to stifle dissent.

Unless we fight back the special APEC legislation will be seen as the norm for future rallies and demonstrations. This type legislation goes hand in hand with other pieces of legislation like the ‘anti-terror’ laws and the Work Choices laws. As if these laws didn’t make it hard enough to organise Howard has recently introduced new ‘secondary boycott’ legislation that explicitly allows small businesses to sue unions and community organisations (like Union Solidarity and UNITE) for losses.

On top of the Work Choices laws Howard has removed the rights of building & construction workers to the most basic of democratic rights. The Australian Building and Construction Commissions (ABCC) attacks have limited the right to silence, the right to organise in a union, and the right to strike.

These laws effectively force workers into a position where they face imprisonment if they choose not to reveal decisions or discussions of union meetings in ABCC interrogation. Should these workers wish to tell their families about this ABCC interrogation, they face imprisonment.

The Socialist party along with other groups and individuals organised in the Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination (ACDC) is fighting back against these laws and the shift towards a police state. We will be attempting to shut down the opening night dinner for the Safeguarding Australia summit. We urge all other people concerned with the defence of civil liberties to join us!

No dinner for big brother – Shut down the Safeguarding Australia Summit!

Through civil disobedience and solidarity, we can fight back against repressive laws & draconian legislation that further threaten to turn Australia into a police state. Join the blockade 6pm Thursday 27 September at University House, Melbourne University (Tin Alley, enter via Elgin street end Carlton)

By Socialist Party reporters


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