31 August 2007

Erosion of civil liberties

The Iemma government has continued its erosion of civil liberties by creating special exclusions zones in Sydney during the APEC conference in August 2007 for named persons. While this unjustified police state attitude is appalling on every level, it raises the opportunity to consider my previous blog post on a bill of rights...

By the way, let's put to one side that this is a bit of a kiddy conference that will achieve little except cost NSW business a great deal of money and enterain the spouses of delegates.

Let's say there is a right to association. This might cure the defect in this Iemma exclusion law. So, after an appeal to the Supreme Court of NSW we might find the law is ultra vires. It might also give the same right to an ex-prisoner convicted of violent offences to do the same thing. Of course, his parole conditions might prevent him protesting, but there's another opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court on the basis that his bail conditions are in conflict with the bill of rights. And of course, he could have done his entire sentence and not even have any parole conditions at all.

This really is a hard problem. We need to trust the populace. We need law and order. Our legal system is based on people being free to do what they like, and if they break the law they will be punished. Where does pre-emptive punishment fit in Australia or NSW? A known, regular protester and dozens of his compatriots are now able to be banned from going to certain places in Sydney that any other person in the entire world can go. Is that OK? I don't think so. he might have mended his ways, or he may have not really done anything in the first place. Paddy Gibson has fewer freedoms than I do. I don't think that's OK.