||Issue No. 284||07 October 2005|
Age of Consent
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
Make Ads Not Law
Nice One, Workers!
Dog Eat Dog
Fraser says John Howard, who has a long history of hostility towards trade unions, has shown a willingness to deny a fair trials to Australian citizens.
"It is something our Government has said is alright, and I don't think that's good enough," says Fraser, who went on to describe the new terrorism laws as something out of apartheid South Africa.
"Many people share my concern that tolerance, compassion and fairness have been diminished by the actions of the Government," says ACTU Secretary Greg Combet, adding new powers that allow secret interrogations of construction workers and unionists are an "attack on the civil rights of ordinary Australian workers".
Fraser and Combet have joined a push for an Australian Human Rights Act, like the ones in the UK and New Zealand.
"The Constitution does not protect Australians, the common law does not protect Australians," says Fraser, adding the new terrorism laws "are the types of powers you would expect to see in a tyranny, not in a democracy like Australia".
The new laws, which state Governments support, allow police to track and restrict the movements of "terror suspects," detain people for up to two weeks without charge and extend police powers to stop and search suspects.
But while the Government says such laws are designed to stop terrorism, the government's suspension of normal human rights in relation to they way workers in the building industry are treated has lead many public figures to worry about how far these new powers will reach into mainstream Australia.
"It's not good enough to suggest it won't happen to people like us," says Fraser in relation to people disappearing to answer police questions.
"The new construction industry laws demonstrate how a diminution in civil rights in one area of the law can lead to attacks in others," says Combet.
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