The article I selected was published on the Sydney Morning Herald on the 3rd October 2014 ‘Government’s counter-terrorism laws a step too far with little scrutiny’ by Tom Allard and Ben Grubb.
This article relates to the lectures in Security Studies. This piece generated many questions about what is happening in our Country and it made me reflect on whether we really are agreeing for the government to violate our rights (or as the authors put it – “restricting our liberties”) of freedom of speech and expression under the pretext of ‘improving the country’s security’.
Right now, the Australian Security Intelligence Operation (ASIO) allows their agents to carry on operations which break the law (not including murder and rape). Operations that are not to be published or spoken about by journalist, as otherwise they will face up to ten years imprisonment. Where has the freedom of the press gone?
The ASIO agents can have access to anyone’s internet searches and conversations, regardless of them being suspicious or not. The “Fighters Bill” contains restrictions to prevent Australians travelling overseas to what they have labelled as “Declared Zones”. And if a person was to travel to those places, it would be assumed that they have participated in illegal activities, unless possible to prove otherwise.
How much is too much? We live in a democratic nation in which the State shall protect its inhabitants, but that protection also includes making sure their rights are being respected. However, right now I feel as if our biggest threat is our own government suppressing our rights, last time I checked we were free unless otherwise proven guilty. Currently the table has turned and we are all guilty unless we can prove (or try to prove) we are innocent.
A few days ago the go the Parliament delivered an edict in which Muslim women that wear face coverings would be placed behind a glass in the House and Senate chambers. Are we not in a multicultural nation, where we have freedom of religion?
What intrigues me the most if whether we are becoming a nation like North Korea, are we soon to be limited to do what the government tell us to do, so they can ‘protect us’?
It seems like we are heading towards a mentality like that of the Traditional Security Studies scholars in which the State is the referent object to be secured and the way to achieve this is by military action.
I just hope that we (the citizens) are smart enough to stand up for ourselves and realise we have rights that should not be overpassed by the government and we do not let ignorance feed our fears and generate hatred. We should work together as a nation and not segregate people according to what religion they are or what they believe in.