too many lies john

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    Howard forces consorting law through Parliament
    without notice
    16 August 04

    Friday the 13th¡ªThe law to jail people for "consorting", aka associating or socialising, with terrorists, was rammed through Federal Parliament in just a few hours on a special sitting day, following a dirty backroom deal between the Government and Opposition. No advance notice was given to the Parliament or the minor parties, and the debate on the bill was guillotined by the Government, with the ALP's complicity, so that the bill wasn't subjected to the normal level of scrutiny. The ALP didn't even insist on the amendments demanded as safeguards by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, despite the fact that even the Liberal Party members on that committee said they were unconvinced of the need for the new consorting offense at all, and expressed grave reservations about the lack of safeguards.
    The new law now enables people to be arrested in relation to terrorism, even if there is no evidence they are involved in planning a terrorist attack. Previously, the authorities were required to establish that suspects were engaged in planning terrorists acts, before they could swoop in and arrest them, but, as Philip Ruddock told Parliament, this pre-requisite made it too hard to arrest people. Now, people can be arrested for associating with a terrorist. That association can be as impersonal as going to the same church (or mosque), or as personal as living in the same house, because they are your son or daughter, brother or sister, or mother or father. The Senate Committee explicitly recommended amendments to exempt these two kinds of association¡ªfamily, and religious¡ªbut those amendments, thanks to the ALP, were not adopted.

    The passage of this bill shows up Australia's "democracy" for the farce that it is. Any new law is supposed to be debated in Parliament by our elected representatives, and those debates are public, and recorded in Hansard for posterity. In this case, the debate wasn't public. It went on behind the scenes, in private meetings between ALP representatives, and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. There is no record of those private discussions, which didn't debate the bill, so much as negotiate it. What threats were made? What deals were done? What did the Government give Labor in return for rolling over on this bill? The US FTA amendments, perhaps? All of these questions are open to speculation, because of the secrecy enveloping the process.

    The end result, was both major parties informed the Senate, with just one hour's notice on Friday, that the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2004 No. 2 and No. 3 would be added to the schedule of an already overloaded special sitting day, for debate. It was obvious to everybody that the small debate time allotted was a charade, because the deal had been done, and the bill's passage was a fait accompli.

    On August 19, Labor's Homeland Security spokesman Robert McClelland addressed a Fabian Society meeting in Melbourne on Labor's approach to terrorism. When confronted by members of the Australian LaRouche Youth Movement to explain Labor's latest complicity in passing fascist, police-state laws, McClelland insisted that Labor is ensuring safeguards to protect civil liberties. The passage of the consorting law, and Labor's rejection of the recommended safeguards, proves that John Howard is not the only liar in Parliament.

    Howard's "credibility" sunk by children overboard bureaucrat
    The intense political backlash suffered by George Bush and Tony Blair over the Iraq war didn't seem to touch Prime Minister Howard for 18 months. But, as Martin Luther King profoundly said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
    Now justice is finally catching up on Howard. The 43 former military chiefs and diplomats who called for truth in government on August 9 really damaged the PM. His government's reaction to them, damaged him even more. The outburst of the Member for Dawson, De-Ann Kelly, of "doddering daiquiri diplomats", provoked widespread disgust and indignation; even the Washington Post on August 16 reported her comments in an editorial, as an example of how rude Australian politics is. It is undoubtedly the case that De-Anne Kelly's reaction was to the leading role of former ADF Chief Gen. Peter Gration among the 43¡ªin June, Gration had prominently endorsed a CEC advertisement against the anti-terrorism laws, for which he was viciously harassed. Kelly is under intense pressure in her seat of Dawson from the CEC's Jan Pukallus, and the evidence is that she is cracking.

    The bad news for Howard, is her cracking under pressure provoked a retired bureaucrat, Mike Scrafton, who for three years had been sitting on proof that Howard had lied, to finally say what he knew: that Prime Minister John Howard knew no children had been thrown overboard in the infamous November 2001 asylum seeker incident, but he, Peter Reith, and Philip Ruddock said it anyway, to whip up the Australian people into a lynch mob mentality that Howard used to ensure his re-election. In short, the PM knowingly, deliberately, calculatedly lied to the Australian people.

    Scrafton's revelations have been called the smoking gun¡ªtime will tell the damage it causes, but Howard immediately plunged in the polls, and began mooting the hitherto unheard of option of an election in March or April next year.

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