||Issue No. 322||01 September 2006|
Justice, Applied Liberally
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Justice, Applied Liberally
It's incredible that this husk of a human once passed himself off as a supporter of human rights and, quite possibly, even meant it when he took the decision to join Amnesty International.
Now Ruddock is the public face of ruthless state control. There he was again, last week, attempting to square off his government's decision to override the legal system and impose a control order on a citizen whose conviction had been quashed in a court of law.
The fact the control order, severely proscribing Jack Thomas' human rights, had been gained in secrecy, without Thomas or his representatives even being aware of the move or the claims behind it, only added to the abuse involved.
Ruddock made his name, at federal level, as the face of an inhumane immigration regime that blatantly violated Australia's international obligations.
Abuse of law, and fundamental human rights, also inform his pronouncements on terror suspect, David Hicks, the Australian who has been held for nearly five years in the legal limbo that is Gauntanamo Bay. American psychologists say it is a place where torture is routine.
Ruddock, on the other hand, supports the incarceration enthusiastically, without a bow to civil rights, due process, or international law.
Workers Online does not seek to glorify, or justify, the actions, alleged or admitted, of Thomas or Hicks. Far from it. It does, however, suggest that as human beings, and Australian citizens, they are entitled to core legal protections.
To deny them, so blatantly, is, arguably, a success for terrorism. After all, if we have a final response to terrorists, rogue states and their ilk it must be that, unlike them, we hold process and human rights paramount. We do not incarcerate, torture or kill just because we don't like, or disagree, with someone.
A potential terrorist, listening to Phillip Ruddock, is entitled to think "bollocks to that".
But it's not just Ruddock, he's simply the ugliest face in a gallery of lawyers who don't, at essence, respect the law.
Look at the top dogs in Canberra - John Howard, Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews and Ruddock - the leaders of this "Liberal" regime are all lawyers.
Ruddock is their front man on these issues but they're all in it up to their scaly necks.
And now we've got another advocate for torture, incarceration without trial, and other trappings of "democracy" stalking our land.
George Bush's new point man arrived in Canberra, last week, and lost no time in mimicking his master's voice, with a rousing defence of Guantanamo Bay and assurances that Hicks would enjoy a fair trial, even thought his own country's Supreme Court has a somewhat different view.
And, guess what? He's another lawyer.
The worrying thing is that abuse of process and civil rights don't end with terror suspects. Think global - the invasion of Iraq - or, think local, about the war on building workers - in both instances respect for evidence is non-existent, while process is cynically abused.
That's what happens when fundamental principles are jettisoned. The rot sets in.
It's no wonder the Liberal lawyers who dominate federal parliament get so worked up at the prospect of trade unionists joining them in Canberra.
They must be gob-smacked that some people won't sell out their beliefs, training and professional values for a seat at the cabinet table.
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