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Censorship Government News

Australian Police Chief Seeks Terror Reporting Ban 146

Posted by samzenpus
from the ignorance-is-bliss dept.
DJMajah writes "News.com.au reports that Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty has called for a media blackout on reporting of terrorism investigations and cases before trial in a speech to the Sydney Institute last night. Although he doesn't believe public institutions should be immune from public accountability, he goes on to say that public discussion should be delayed until information is made available by the courts or legal proceedings are complete. This all comes after last year's widely reported case of Dr. Mohammed Haneef who was detained then later deported from Australia on evidence described as weak — and seen by some, including Haneef, as a conspiracy."
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Australian Police Chief Seeks Terror Reporting Ban

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  • 1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:08AM (#22243084) Homepage Journal
    If the media can only report what the courts tell them, then who's to say that the information isn't censored? Seems very 1984ish to me. If Australia takes this step, it's only a matter of time before they're creating news altogether.
    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Informative)

      by tpgp (48001) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:25AM (#22243196) Homepage
      If Australia takes this step,

      I don't think Australia's likely to take this step, the person asking for this is the dumbass cop who arrested an innocent man to attempt to test new anti-terror laws (his relationship with the previous Australian government also suggests he did it for political gain).

      Read this article [myapologetics.com] for a better understanding of the Haneef case.

      The current government does not support the calls to censor the media.
      • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:28AM (#22243212) Journal
        Yes, the current government merely wants to set up a list of forbidden sites that you have to opt into to view.

        Sorry, but these pack of freedom-hating political hacks ain't that much different than Howard's bunch of freedom-hating political hacks.
        • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by deniable (76198) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:40AM (#22243284)
          The new mouthpiece has smaller eyebrows and a better hairdo. Other than that it's business as usual.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tpgp (48001)
          Sorry, but these pack of freedom-hating political hacks ain't that much different than Howard's bunch of freedom-hating political hacks.

          I don't think you can really compare a dumbassed plan to censor the internet (that will probably never be implemented), with the actual arrest & incarceration (without due process), followed by deportation of an innocent man.

          Get a sense of perspective.
          • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

            by deniable (76198) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:48AM (#22243334)
            They've only been in for two months. The other side had over a decade. Once they're warmed up, we'll see the level of stupidity they exhibit. Sense of perspective, indeed.
            • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

              by tpgp (48001)
              They've only been in for two months. The other side had over a decade. Once they're warmed up, we'll see the level of stupidity they exhibit. Sense of perspective, indeed.

              Indeed, we will see what level of stupidity they may exhibit.

              However, we have already seen the level of extreme and dangerous stupidity the Howard govt exhibited.

              If you had a sense of perspective, you'd see the difference between proven & potential stupidity.
              • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

                by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @02:20AM (#22243492)

                If you had a sense of perspective, you'd see the difference between proven & potential stupidity.

                Yah, proven stupidity has limits, potential stupidity is boundless. At least until the wave function collapses, when it becomes proven stupidity....

              • by timmarhy (659436)
                oh ye of short memory.

                labor is the party that tries to please everyone, and thats where they screw up... because when you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one.

                • by tpgp (48001)
                  oh ye of short memory.

                  Considering you can't use punctuation, I'm guessing you're of a generation that can't even remember the last time Labour was in power....

                  labor is the party that tries to please everyone, and thats where they screw up... because when you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one.

                  Yeah, things like Mabo, the floating of the dollar, the privatization of the CBA & QANTAS, reduction of import tariffs, etc where all just trying to please everyone

                  What a joke - you don't remember th
          • Perspective. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @06:10AM (#22244402) Journal
            Compare no, link yes! This is Mick trying to cover Mick's arse by blaming the media. Previously he has tried to blame scotland yard, Indian police, unidentified tipsters, the chief prosecuter, disloyal officers, and of course Haneef himself. Personly I am suprised he hasn't thought of pinning the mess on Corey [news.com.au]

            Mick's problem is not that he prostitutes his position to curry political favour, it's the fact that everyone knows it.

            As for Labour sticking with Mick, not a chance! Remeber in 2000 the AFP raided the home of a Labour MP's adviser in what amounted to a fishing expedition on opposition foreign policy of the time. Labour will relish doing Mick slowly and publicly with the promised full blown inquiry. As for Labour being any better, well soak in the irony of Rudd suggesting Mick's opinion on censorship should be censored [smh.com.au].
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by fabs64 (657132)
              Where's the -1 Liar moderation?

              The link you provided does not have anyone calling for keelty to be gagged, simply the government stating that the opinions expressed by him are not theirs and they strongly disagree with them.
              • Fair point but it was unintentional, in my defense I point out that the headline of the linked article reads "Rudd blacks out Keelty's opinion".
                • by fabs64 (657132)
                  I see your point, although I'm one of those weird people who reads the article.
                  It was intended to be a play on words, because keelty was calling for a "blackout".

                  Pretty crappy play on words at that.
                  • Still, it was an embarrasing cock-up on my part and you were right to point it out. Normally I do read what I link to and view the SMH with a skeptical eye.

                    Just for the record, I'm an Aussie and vote Labor via green preferences.
                    • by fabs64 (657132)
                      Ha, watching the election night coverage don't half of us? ;-)

                      I generally read The Age, which is sister to the SMH and don't find it too bad, particularly as far as aussie media goes.

                      It's The Hun and The Tele you gotta watch out for :-)
                    • Yes, the Age is definitely our best rag, it's probably why I took the headline at face value.

                      As for the Hun, Andrew Bolt is the only journalist who's writing consistently makes me want to beat the author into a bloody pulp.
                    • by fabs64 (657132)
                      Ha, "journalist". :-)
        • At least this lot are actually likely to understand when we tell them it's not technically possible.

          Then they can spend all that extra money on fibre...

          </optimistic>
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            While the guy may take photo-ops with his laptop open, the fact that he suggested such a stupendous plan argues against his technical competency.
            • I know, i know.. that was all for the schools and for show. I could propose that he's only suggesting it to keep ignorant parents happy, and that he knows it's not feasible or wanted, but you're most likely right.

              At least we're finally rid of Howard tho.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Redlazer (786403)
          They are ALL freedom-hating political hacks, because there is more power to gain from restriction the freedom of others, than there is in setting others free.

          -Red

        • by mi (197448)

          Sorry, but these pack of freedom-hating political hacks ain't that much different than Howard's bunch of freedom-hating political hacks.

          Dare I suggest, they are actually worse, than the predecessors? No, can't be — unions loved them and they spoke of Socialism...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by webword (82711)
      All news is created these days.

      Seriously, very little reporting goes on. This is *especially* true at local levels. The national news agencies feed "news" down to local affiliates to push one position or another. Why would they do this? Major news media are not independent and objective. They are driven by profit and the wrong news hurts profits.

    • If Australia takes this step, it's only a matter of time before they're creating news altogether.
      This is a step, but a small one. You may report whatever you like, just not about terrorism while an investigation is still continuing. Yes, it's a damage to accountability, but I at least see the reasons why he's done it. While it is worrying, I certainly don't think "it's only a matter of time before they're creating news".
      • Re:1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @02:16AM (#22243480)
        Well, I can somewhat understand his (and your) reasoning--it prevents "trial by public opinion". However, why couldn't the alleged terrorism and details be reported on, while at the same time keeping the name(s) of the suspects secret? A blanket-ban on reporting on terrorism could be seen as irresponsible. For example, if I heard that Mr-X had been captured and it became apparent that he was targeting my local nightclub (whatever), then I'd stay the hell away. With no reporting on the subject at all, I may well go out for a beer and end up with an molotov cocktail (so to speak).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Nazlfrag (1035012)
          Or what happened to kick up this fuss in the first place could happen to you, where a man was detained and interrogated without charge, found innocent yet still has a permanent record as a terrorist security risk. Good luck living a normal life with that stigma. He wants this censorship because he royally fucked up his job as AFP Commissioner and the embarrassment and media exposure has probably cost him his job.
      • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tx_kanuck (667833) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @02:21AM (#22243506)
        Yes, it's a damage to accountability

        It is a damage to accountability, but how much is it really? Telling the press (and the public) that they have to wait until after the trial has concluded is something that's been done for many years. Lots of courts have issued publication bans to the media during a trial. As long as the publication ban is removed as soon as the verdict is rendered, is it really that damaging to the accountability?

        It's a sword that cuts both ways, especially in a jury trial. If the prosecution feels they have a weak case, they may try to poison the jury pool, however if the defence feels they can make themselves into a martyr to assist their weak case, then they can also do that. To help defend against that, either side can run to the judge for a publication ban, and this just removes that step. It forces both sides to do their fighting in the courtroom itself, and not on the steps outside.

        Should a publication ban be in place until all legal avenues have been exhaused? No. An investigation and trial can last for many years. Until both sides have the option to go to in front of a judge to present their cases no publication ban should exist. Once the court procedings have moved onto the appeal stage no publication ban should exist. During the inital trial (at least until the jury has been picked), I can see the justification of a publication ban. Ideally, for a jury you want to pick the most unbiased people you can. A automatic 30 day publication ban (starting once the defendant has seen a judge and been formally charged, but removeable at the judges discretion just as imposing a ban is) can help with that. Once the jury has been picked though, to continue the publication ban requires a signed order from the judge (and one that can be appealed). I'm not entirely happy with that compromise, but given the medias abilty to sensationalize even the most minor events (not that it would ever happen on /.), I would be able to live with that.

        • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jesus_666 (702802) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @04:32AM (#22243984)
          That's true - for regular trials. But here we have trials for nebulously defined "terrorism", which you can just randomly (from your perspective) end up in with no proper charges raised against you. They're putting people to trial because they feel like it and just being the defendant in such a trial means that you'll probably be regarded a terrorism risk by many nations.

          It's scary enough that they can do that. The process requires absolute and total transparency as far as possible without revealing security-relevant information. Nobody should be randomly tried without everyone knowing about it, especially not in such a potentially life-ruining way. And the people should know about it when it happens, not after the fact.

          Secret above-the-law trials are just about the last thing we need. Manipulating data after the fact is easy, hence any special terrorist trials should be broadcasted live. By more then one source.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by HansieC (861856)
            Indeed, and when there are 'trials' like David Hicks who is locked up for several years without being charged and has only been brought back to Australia and released BECAUSE of public opinion, it would just get scarier - with this no-reporting-until-the-case-is-over shebang, he'd still be (I'd argue unfairly) in Gitmo.
        • The courts are eventually publicly accountable.

          The problem with this whole scenario is not the publication of information about the case, which in this particular instance was rubbish, but rather the whole: "trust us, he was dirty, but we can't let you see that evidence as it would compromise national security" attitude that is joined with this issue.

          Politicians are forever advocating the censure of the opposite opinion. Humans have never created a society that had secret trials and secret evidence that w
      • by Jellybob (597204)
        I'd really like to see *all* people who are currently on trial given anonymity, because trial by public opinion is becoming far to common place.

        Even if you've been cleared at trial, there's still too much potential to be "that guy that was in the news as a serial killer", and probably won't get a job again because whoever interviews you will probably remember what a monster you were made out to be by the press.
    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:58AM (#22243396)
      "This all comes after last years widely reported case of Dr. Mohammed Haneef who was detained then later deported from Australia on evidence described as weak"
      It was not just weak, it was falsified.

      It is precisely because of how they handled the Haneef case that they *should* be scrutinised, monitored, and observed, every step of the way.
    • Re:1984 (Score:4, Informative)

      by kingturkey (930819) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:53AM (#22243772)
      From an article in The Australian (a national paper): "Attorney-General Robert McClelland has publicly rebuked Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty over his call for a press blackout on terror laws."

      "The Government has no plans to introduce a media blackout on the reporting of terrorism cases,'' Mr McClelland said.

      So basically it's just the AFP chief's fantasy.

      http://theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,23138259-2702,00.html [news.com.au]
    • So all they'd need to do is copy all important information to another legal proceeding, never finish that one, and all that information will remain secret forever.
  • Are you kidding me? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metlin (258108) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:08AM (#22243090) Journal
    Wow, seriously.

    It always starts small -- shut down the press for this reason, and then expand and control.

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I simply cannot believe that people would make such recommendations, and not understand the import of their intent.

    It's one thing for a tin-pot dictator in the middle of nowhere to do so, and it is quite another for someone in a position of authority in a western-styled democracy to make such statements. Then again, could be that the position of authority is what's making him make such statements.

    I am just... baffled.
    • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:19AM (#22243160) Journal
      To misquote the fictitious but very wise Samuel Vimes, "If you start censoring for good reasons, pretty soon you'll be censoring them for bad ones".
    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:36AM (#22243268) Journal
      I am just... baffled.

      Don't be.

      This is one of the consequences of a long-term effort by the previous Howard government to boost the power of the AFP and ASIO and to erode civil liberties in Australia. Howard's support for Bush was more than just lip service.

      Keelty in particular has been deeply involved in the more unsavoury side of recent failed prosecutions, including allowing the detention and slander of suspects to continue even though he know there was no evidence [apo.org.au].

      In many ways, Keelty's reticence is understandable, given that he was slapped down [apo.org.au] by Howard for saying AFP intelligence showed Australia's involvement in Iraq was increasing our exposure to terrorism, but this response - burying evidence yet again - is just wrong.

    • It's one thing for a tin-pot dictator in the middle of nowhere to do so, and it is quite another for someone in a position of authority in a western-styled democracy to make such statements.

      You're right. He's living in a democracy, and hell, his position in power probably gave him the inspiration to say it. He's not forcing it upon us, he's not trying to pull of a coup, he's just suggesting, in the spirit of democracy, that we may want to give the police some space only on terrorism cases, and only for a li

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It shits me because they don't want to be subject to public scrutiny - no matter how much they say that they are all of that.

      As others have said it can take from months to years before a case is decided. In that time the media will have moved onto other things and the general public will be none-the-wiser about some insignificant person who was arrested and dropped out of society some time ago.

      Most of the "terrorism" arrests that you hear about in the news are bogus. It's usually the authorities have deci
    • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @02:23AM (#22243512)
      Some background on this. This guy tried trial by media when the court would not give him his way and it backfired spectacularly. What he dreamed of being a dramatic showcase terrorism trial did not work, so he leaked bits of interrogation transcripts out of context to the media and then the defence leaked the bits that put them into context.

      So how did this start? A doctor that had the misfortune to be related to a terrorist suspect received a bit of heavy handed treatment that previously would have been beyond Australian law and various bits of "spin" were realeased to try to justify this. Vast numbers of people normally not connected with law enforcement were involved since this was the first real test of Australia's anti-terrorist organisations. When they found nothing it all came down to pretending it was real to try to save face and justify expense. The media was initially bluffed but when it finally came time for him to be charged the courts were not. At that point the Australian media were upset that they were manipulated with very poorly constructed lies and turned on the AFP taking delight in each new revelation of utter incompentance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:13AM (#22243112)
    The Federal Government and the Prime Minister have said they have no intentions of doing this.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/rudd-blacks-out-keeltys-opinion/2008/01/31/1201714110077.html [smh.com.au]

    • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:36AM (#22243266)

      Kelty's just a bit of a whiner, really. He's consistantly blamed everyone else for the repeated federal police screw ups, and his latest target is the media. I'm not surprised that the current government isn't taking him to seriously, especially considering how keen they are to distance themselves from the corrupt practices of the previous government.

      The only positive out of the actions of the previous government and the AFP is that they were so transparently corrupt and incompetent that our judiciary could prevent us from going down the path of breaking international law to the extent that the current US administration has. If there had been a media blackout, or "editors club" as proposed, the previous government wouldn't have appeared so twisted and the new government wouldn't have got elected. They know it. Mick really should wait until closer to a second term election when the current government has a few dirty secrets to hide before trying to float an idea like this.

      Nothing to see here. Nothing's been sensored, there actually is nothing to see beyond a sad old whiner pointing the finger yet again.

  • If they stop reporting, then people won't ask politicians for statements and they won't need to stuff both feet (plus those of an advisor) in their mouth. Keeping the Immigration Minister away from the Haneef case would have been a start.
    • by grcumb (781340)

      If they stop reporting, then people won't ask politicians for statements and they won't need to stuff both feet (plus those of an advisor) in their mouth.

      Um, that's not the advisor's foot....

      ...But then again, that's not the politician's mouth.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:17AM (#22243144)

    Those poor Australian police. All that open, free society stuff is just so darned inconvenient when you want to make sure some guy's enjoying the attentions of an Egyptian torturer before news of his arrest is published.

    If I was Osama, I'd be laughing myself sick watching these clowns destroy that nasty, evil free society I hate so much. I couldn't do a better job with another hundred planes.

    • by deniable (76198)
      Given their origins, [wikipedia.org] you shouldn't be surprised. And the stuff you're talking about is more likely the realm of ASIO and ASIS.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I'm not going to bad-mouth them. If the movie "Mad Max" taught me nothing else, it's that the Australian police are underappreciated, underpaid, and regularly have to chase down rocket-cars.
  • The people who get to make up these plans way too much television without getting the moral of the story. It is as if they have armies of interns looking for the most popular of the bad ideas expression in science fiction stories.
  • by nbauman (624611) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:28AM (#22243214) Homepage Journal
    Here's where Keelty gets to the point:

    He also called for a halt to criticism of public institutions.

    He's calling for an end to criticism of government institutions, specifically himself. This is particularly inappropriate given his record of incompetence and false charges against Mohammed Haneef.

    Wouldn't we all like to be protected from criticism of ourselves and our incompetence.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:28AM (#22243216)
    . . . my hopes flared, thinking that the police chief meant that everybody should quit going on and on about this tiresome 'Terror Threat' we all supposedly face and that the media should stop broadcasting fear to the public.

    But then I realized that he fully bought into the fairy tale and just wanted to make sure that the people nabbed and tazered while waiting to board their flights are prosecuted in star chambers.

    Oh well.


    -FL

  • by Goonie (8651) <[gro.arbmaneb] [ta] [lekrem.trebor]> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:28AM (#22243220) Homepage
    Keelty's copped a barrage of (deserved) criticism in the media for his speech. One of the major metropolitan dailies, The Age, editorialised thusly [theage.com.au]:

    Controlling the flow on information is one of the pillars of a secret state and this "tension", or balance, can be a healthy sign of a democracy. The AFP is responsible for fighting terrorism, and it is acknowledged that such a fight involves enormous complexities. However, Mr Keelty has stepped into waters beyond his remit.

    Although the AFP often operates in secret to investigate terrorism, its obligation to the public carries with it the greater principle of a duty to open justice. This principle can only be adjudged in the "court of public opinion", of which Mr Keelty is so dismissive. It only needs one example: Mohamed Haneef.


    He's also been criticised heavily by the Federal Opposition spokeperson [theage.com.au] on justice matters, Christopher Pyne, whose party appointed Keelty to the job and under whose watch most of the contentious matters Keelty is referring to occurred.

    The organization Keelty heads, the Australian Federal Police, screwed up a terrorism case badly (the guy was a doctor who had the misfortune to have some distant relatives amongst the British firebombers of last year) in a blaze of publicity. He's coming across as blaming the messenger for his organization's faults.

    • by pnevin (168332) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:51AM (#22243356)
      Keelty's got form. One of the reasons why the Haneef case fell apart was because the guy's barrister released the transcript of Haneef's police interviews to the press, as a response to repeated damaging AFP leaks and also to show what a confused mess the AFP's case actually was. As a result, Keelty is seeking to have the lawyer struck off for unprofessional conduct [abc.net.au].

      Keelty always had an enthusiastic ear in the last government, who were desperately seeking another Tampa [wikipedia.org] in an election year. The new government, thankfully, appears to be treating matters a bit more soberly.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        It's quite funny really that he thinks trial by media is professional if he does it but releasing the source it comes from is not. The disgusting end of the affair was when after the court threw the case out Haneef was deported really on the grounds that the Immigration Minister did not like him. In Australia we currently have a bizzare situation where every immigration application has to be personally approved by the Minister - something that is likely to change back to a more professional approach soon
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      So now it represents a more interesting story on the flip side. How the current Australian government handles an Australian Federal Police commissioner who uses the public pulpit, his office, and terrorist fear mongering, to seek more power, have less accountability and to further limit the rights of citizens. It certainly looks Keelty is going to and is already getting the rough end of the stick.
  • Forget the Haneef stuffup, it's things like what happened in the Ul-Haque case [austlii.edu.au] that the Feds really don't want the press talking about pre-trial. Or at any other time I'd wager. ASIO wasn't happy with the outcome [ninemsn.com.au] anyway.

  • Why he's pissed... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Some of the evidence that the Federal Police were trying to have accepted was found by the press to be wrong, and had to be retracted. From that point the case started to collapse.
    If it hadn't been for the inconvenient press, it is quite likely that Hanif would have been convicted.
    It is this sort of thing that Keelty is trying to forestall.
    The press are just so damned annoying when you are trying to fit somebody up...
  • by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:57AM (#22243394)
    They've recently found that judges in Australia, unlike the US, won't let them claim someone is a terrorist without actually showing what their evidence is. As such they've been looking like a bunch of idiots lately because they appear to be either letting Terrorists go or harrassing innocent people.

    This is basically a last ditch attempt by the police to try and get the cushy situation their compatriots have in the US where all it takes is a gut feeling and cries of national security to toss someone in Guantanamo Bay. The judges aren't letting them do that here, and the public is getting royally pissed off(the Haneef and APEC failures were a part, if only a small part, of getting the previous government kicked out of office).

    Even if our FOI laws aren't the greatest they're not actually going to censor this sort of thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freedom_india (780002)
      Isn't it a paradox?
      The country with 16 amendments, oldest republic, has the judiciary and the executive hell bent on supressing the hard won Habeus Corpus and Innocent-until-proven-guilty concepts?

      While a continent which is still under the rule of a queen, does not have constitutionally guaranteed rights against seizure, privacy, etc., the judiciary is hell bent on making sure the congress[parliment] and the Executive do NOT trample upon individual rights and privacy?

      I have always found it a parad
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SJ2000 (1128057)

        ...under the rule of a queen...

        ...in a ceremonial role who is represented by the Governor General who acts on direct advice from the Prime Minister. Not a good defence for the system, but history proves this to some what functional (Despite Whitlam)

        ...does not have constitutionally guaranteed rights against seizure...

        It has to be done on "just terms" as in accordance with Section 51(xxxi) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_51(xxxi)_of_the_Australian_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

        I agree with you whole heartily though, many of Australia's rights are "implied" in the constitution and exist merely through the High

      • First of all, the US does not have a clearly constitutionally defined right to privacy. But those rights have been steadily created by US courts, and later written into law. And the US pioneered a lot of privacy legislation and rights that later became the basis of similar legislation by other nations.

        Furthermore, although Americans like to complain a lot and air a lot of political dirty laundry in public, it's wrong to conclude from that that the US is necessarily worse than Australia in areas of privacy
      • by lachlan76 (770870)

        The two may be related---without a constitution guaranteeing certain rights, judges don't feel the need to limit themselves to what is in there. This was one of the arguments against introducing it in the US to begin with---listing a set of fundamental rights may result in the loss of all others. IIRC, there was a push to introduce such a thing over here as well, but it didn't gain much momentum for that reason.

        Not to mention that it takes nothing short of an Act of God to get a constitutional amendment

      • by Eskarel (565631)
        It's not so much a paradox as a matter of point of view. In the US all the rights of citizens are written down. If it's not written down it's not a right, so therefor the police/executive will do anything that they're not prevented from doing(after all it's not written down so it's not a right) and will try and push the rights people do have as far as they're allowed to go.

        In Australia and elsewhere, the rights aren't written down and so by extension you can't claim that things that aren't written down aren

    • by nguy (1207026)
      They've recently found that judges in Australia, unlike the US, won't let them claim someone is a terrorist without actually showing what their evidence is.

      US judges won't either; the problem is that the executive refuses to bring those cases before judges.
  • I think claiming that this is the first step into becoming a police state would be exaggerating the problem. The police are hoping for a little temporary discretion from the media while terrorism cases (always an emotive point nowadays) are being investigated. After the investigations are completed the media are free to investigate themselves, and publish whatever they want. I'm not saying it's ideal, but I can see why the police want a bit of temporary breathing space. It's a long road from this to being a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Farmer Tim (530755)
      The police are hoping for a little temporary discretion from the media while terrorism cases (always an emotive point nowadays) are being investigated.

      IMO the AFP should not expect that when they themselves leak details of the investigation to the media.
  • Delivered to... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DuJ (1230362)
    It's important to understand who this address was delivered to, The Sydney Institute. They like to pretend they're a neutral think-tank but in reality are firmly alligned to the right wing on most, if not all issues.
  • It is the government that should have kept out of the case until the court case had proven his guilt or innocence. As evidence came (in the media) out that he was not really involved, the government stepped in and said - doesn't matter we'll cancel his visa and get him deported, bypassing the court entirely. The day after he was granted bail, he was put into a detention centre with cancelled visa.
  • The irony of the situation is that the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who arrested Dr. Mohammed Haneef, used the media to no end in justifying the arrest, explaining why he was such a dangerous terrorist and how they were saving the world. They played the mass media to their ends, yet couldn't handle the lawyers for the defence doing the same thing to explain to the general public why he was innocent.
    They're now blaming the media for covering both sides of the story, and eventually favouring the case for
    • Doesn't Australia have FoxTel which is a subsidiary of Fox News?

      Fox can "assist" the police and the state in spreading Fear, Terror, and a terrifying amount of stupidity in its news.
      Fox can also run a yellow sticker at the bottom of your TV stating the Terror Alert is Yellow, thus keeping the citizens constantly on alert.

      Maybe 'Oreilly can be transferred to Australia to assist the government there in setting up its Free News Network.
      Instead of the annoying news networks which ask awkward questions about sus
  • and wonder why banning people from dialing 911 (or whatever the emergency phone number is in australia is) is a good thing?
  • Keelty seems to be a complete nutcase:

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/national/keelty-warns-against-robot-criminals/2007/07/05/1183351363490.html [brisbanetimes.com.au]

    AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty believes organised crime gangs will utilise cloned part-robot humans in the future

    Although there is method to the madness:

    Mr Keelty said the police force would have to use experts from the private sector to fight tech-savvy organised criminals, because it lacked the necessary skills.

    Apparently, he wants to use such nutty pretexts

  • The Nazis had this 'Concentration Camp Reporting Ban'. Worked pretty nicely.

    Just giving some second thought on this.

    I believe a newsban could be usefull, but it would require independant regulation and should allways be temporary with a resonable maximum (4 weeks or so).
  • apologize to all Americans for all the Police State jokes I've made in the past seven years.
  • Our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has made it clear this isn't happening.

    Rudd shuts down Keelty on media gags [abc.net.au]

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the Federal Government does not support Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty's call for a media blackout in terrorism cases.

    Earlier this week Mr Keelty said he believed the media should be prevented from reporting on terrorism cases until all judicial avenues have been exhausted.

    But Mr Rudd has told Fairfax radio that while he has full confidenc

    • You lucky Punk !
      We still have the god-speaks-through-him conservative and chances are the next one in the seat will be a senile old man old enough to be a soldier in First World War.

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