There has been extensive media coverage of the launch of the Terrorism Laws: ASIO, the Police and You booklet by Justice John Dowd and Sen Kerry Nettle. The launch was covered in all media formats, including print, radio, web and even the evening TV news. Media appearances were made by members of both AMCRAN and also other organisations such as the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.
Stephen Gibbs of the Sydney Morning Herald wasted no time, penning a very clear article entitled Guide to law on terrorism aimed at all in the morning edition on the day. Cameron Murphy of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties did a number of morning breakfast shows around Australia.
Waleed Kadous was interviewed by Michael Vincent for the ABC Radio Current Affairs program The World Today entitled Guide to terrorism laws aimed at all Australians.
There were also interviews with SBS radio in Melbourne, the Afternoon Show in Sydney with James Valentine, and James Fletcher of Triple J did an interview for Hack, the Triple J current affairs program. Agnes Chong also did an interview with ABC radio.
The Greens Web site featured an article detailing Kerry Nettle's participation in the launch and the hosting of the event by Lee Rhiannon.
There was also news coverage of the launch on both SBS and TEN News, featuring Philip Ruddock suggesting that "if the guide is as has been reported then it may be seen as somewhat simplistic."
On Tuesday, Stephen Gibbs of the SMH returned to the topic once again, discussing the timely retirement of Justice Dowd in an article entitled PM, Carr attacked as judge pulls plug.
Guide to law on terrorism
What would you do if the knock at the door did come one
morning - if the agents in dark suits from ASIO wanted to talk to you
Remain calm for a start. Ask for identification, and what the
officers want. Record their names, the date and the time of their
arrival. Ask to see a search warrant, check it has not expired, note
exactly what it authorises and make or get a copy.
Contact a lawyer, or have someone else in the house contact one. If
you have trouble understanding the officers, ask for an interpreter. In
the meantime, do not provide information other than confirming your
name and address.
This advice appears on a checklist in Terrorism Laws: ASIO, the Police and You,
a booklet privately funded by Muslims and to be launched today at State
Parliament by Justice John Dowd, a former Liberal attorney-general and
one-time NSW leader of the opposition.
Its authors stress all Australians should be familiar with its
contents, and suggest it be kept near the Federal Government-supplied
tip sheet on spotting a terrorist and who to call.
"Stick it next to the fridge magnet," recommended the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Cameron Murphy.
Prepared by the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network with
Mr Murphy's council and the University of Technology Community Law
Centre, the 42-page booklet is "a practical guide to people's rights
and responsibilities under the terrorism laws", its authors say.
The co-convenor of the network, Waleed Kadous, said the booklet was
"of particular relevance to Muslims", but was not aimed at them. "We
tried to deliberately target the booklet at non-Muslims," Dr Kadous
said. "It's meant for a wider populace."
The only section directed specifically at Muslims tries to answer
the question "Can [ASIO or police] order me to remove my head covering
if I am a Muslim woman?" (The law is unclear).
The rest of the booklet asks and answers such questions as: "What is
a terrorist act?", "What if I unknowingly end up involved in a
terrorist act?" and "What are the different types of terrorist act
crimes and the penalties for them?" It covers issues such as "Do I have
a right to silence?" and "Can I be compelled to testify against myself?"
(You do not have the right to silence if you are detained by ASIO.
Refusal to answer questions risks five years' jail, but any information
you give ASIO is not admissible against you).
The booklet also lists which organisations are considered
"terrorist", according to Australian law, and what penalties apply to
committing offences - knowingly or not - with a terrorist group.
The booklet explains how to deal with an approach by ASIO or the
Australian Federal Police, the two main bodies empowered under
"It is very important to understand the difference between ASIO and
the AFP," it states. "For example, ASIO officers can only search,
question or detain you if they have a warrant to do so."
AFP or state police can detain you without a warrant if they have a
reasonable suspicion about your capacity to cause an incident.
Sydney Morning Herald, July 26, 2004
Guide to terrorism laws aimed at all Australians
ELEANOR HALL: The producers of a new booklet on how to deal with the
country's terrorism laws, say it's not designed to stop people
cooperating with intelligence and anti-terrorism authorities.
Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network say the booklet, which
is being launched today and is intended to be widely distributed, is
instead designed to inform people about their rights and their
And the producers say its not just aimed at
Muslims, but at the wider population and that Federal Police officers
will be in attendance when it's launched today by a former New South
Michael Vincent reports.
VINCENT: For anyone wishing to question the motives of the publishers
of the Terrorism Laws booklet, convenor of the Australian Muslim Civil
Rights Advocacy Network Dr Waleed Kadous is adamant.
He says they are not questioning the work of ASIO, the Federal Police, nor any other law enforcement agency.
KADOUS: That's certainly not the intention of the booklet. The
intention of the booklet is merely to let people know what their rights
and responsibilities are. And it's not meant as an attack on ASIO or an
attack on the AFP by any way. In fact, an officer from the AFP will be
attending the launch.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The 24-page booklet
covers the Federal Government's anti-terrorism laws, which terrorism
groups are outlawed, and the penalties for various offences.
also covers the rights and responsibilities of both the intelligence
and law enforcement agencies and the people they may question, whether
those people are Muslim or not.
However, as Dr Kadous points out, Islamic organisations are the focus of most of Australia's anti-terror laws.
KADOUS: Well we would argue that in the current context, Muslims seem
to be the group that are most experiencing the effects of this
legislation. If you want examples of that, all of the 17 proscribed
organisations are Muslim, and that's kind of a bit unusual. Even in the
United States, only over slightly half of the proscribed organisations,
or their equivalent, the foreign terrorist organisations, are Muslim.
So it seems like especially in the Australian case, the people who bear the brunt of the legislation are the Muslim community.
VINCENT: But as you say even though you produced this booklet,
"Terrorism Laws, ASIO, the Police and You", you're saying it is not
specifically aimed at Muslim youth?
WALEED KADOUS: That's
absolutely correct. It's a guide for all Australians, regardless of
their backgrounds. There is one question and one question alone that
might be of specific relevance to Muslims regarding the veil and
whether ASIO have the right to ask you to remove your veil.
VINCENT: Do you have concerns about the way in which ASIO, the Federal
Police or state terrorism police are attempting to gain information in
intelligence in the Muslim community, the way they approach different
members of the Muslim community in Sydney, for example?
KADOUS: Although there have been efforts by the AFP, for example,
through community liaison officers and so on, I still think that it's
an adversarial environment, rather than a cooperative one. And I think
there should definitely be a more towards greater cooperation between
ASIO and the AFP to track down the real terrorists, if they exist at
all, in our community. And I doubt that they do, I really… I haven't
come across anything like that, that indicates there is any kind of
support for terrorism in Australia.
MICHAEL VINCENT: What would
you say to people who would see you issuing this booklet today and
think that because you're telling anyone, but in particular Muslim
youth, how to deal with ASIO or the Federal Police and on occasions not
speak to them, that you're helping to prevent information flow which
otherwise might prevent a terrorist attack?
WALEED KADOUS: I
think knowledge of the law is the foundation of healthy democracy. I
can't see that people knowing what both their rights and
responsibilities are is actually counterproductive. In fact, it might
actually have the opposite effect on people who might have, when
they've seen the punishments and realise how severe the punishments
are, and the consequences of their action, might choose not to indulge
in terrorist offences, if they were ever considering it in the first
place, which is doubtful to begin with.
MICHAEL VINCENT: But what about the effect of cases where cooperation by suspects has actually led to them being charged.
The case of Sydney medical student Izhar-ul-Haque is one example.
his successful bail appeal it was revealed by the Crown that they were
relying on his own admissions – that when he came back from Pakistan
after allegedly receiving terrorist training, that he admitted as much
to authorities when they questioned him.
This was used by the
medical student's defence lawyers, who said that he'd "quite
voluntarily assisted police" with a four-hour and a two-and-a-half-hour
interview, only to be arrested three months later.
Kadous) Do you believe that there are people in the community who will
be afraid of talking to ASIO or the Federal Police because they've seen
other cases where significant cooperation has actually led to people
WALEED KADOUS: I can't question ASIO and AFP's
operational procedures. But I think at times it may be that there are
other forces involved, in particular political forces, that may
actually intervene in ASIO or AFP's actions and we don't know if that's
the case or not, it's just possible. And it's very difficult to
understand why if you have a cooperative person why you'd then go off
and charge them.
ELEANOR HALL: The Convenor of the Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network, Dr Waleed Kadous, speaking to Michael Vincent.
Reporter: Michael Vincent
The World Today - Monday, 26 July , 2004 12:22:37
PM, Carr attacked as judge pulls plug
Justice John Dowd, the former attorney-general and state
opposition leader, is quitting the Supreme Court bench, citing personal
attacks made by the Premier and the Prime Minister 20 months ago.
The 63-year-old guarantees himself a lifetime pension now worth about $155,000 a year, for which he became eligible on Sunday.
Yesterday Justice Dowd blamed Bob Carr's and John Howard's attacks
on his stance against anti-terrorism legislation for his resignation.
The pension comes with 10 years' service and is set at 60 per cent
of a NSW Supreme Court judge's salary, now $258,960, and linked to all
future rises. If Justice Dowd had resigned at the time of the criticism
he would not have received the full pension, which also carries six
months' long service leave (on top of six months' long service leave
for five years).
Justice Dowd, who took most of his parliamentary pension in a lump
sum, has not said what he will do in retirement, but it is understood
he will remain in public service.
He will not return to the bar, where top quality senior counsel can
earn much more than a judge's pension. Justice Dowd is also chancellor
of Southern Cross University.
In November 2002, as chairman of the International Commission
of Jurists, he told a Senate inquiry "it is patently clear" that
proposed anti-terrorism legislation "is aimed at Muslims".
His submission said the new laws would be "subverting [liberty] more effectively than terrorism could ever do".
He also told the ABC: "You remember the hysteria just before the
Olympics ... all we heard were these terrible stories of terrorists
were going to come ... Nothing happened. The sky didn't fall in."
In response, Mr Carr described Justice Dowd as "utterly irresponsible", "extraordinarily insensitive" and "divisive".
"For goodness sake, can't John Dowd get into his thick head that
Bali occurred, that we have a problem here, that these threats are
real, and, when triggered, police ought to have the powers to arrest
people, to question people, to search people?" Mr Carr said at the time.
Mr Howard also accused Justice Dowd of ignoring the separation of
powers between government and judiciary by attacking the legislation
"in a very partisan way".
"Well, you know, you can't have it both ways," Mr Howard said then.
At the time, Justice Dowd did not respond.
"I took the view that to make any comment would be to involve the
[Supreme] Court in an inappropriate discussion," he said last night.
"And therefore I elected then not to make further comment."
Earlier yesterday, at the launch of a booklet about Australian
citizens' rights under anti-terrorism legislation, Justice Dowd had
said publicly for the first time that he was retiring because of the
attacks 20 months ago.
"I gave evidence before that select committee about a year or so ago
and decided then when I was attacked by the Prime Minster and the
Premier that I would retire from my position as judge, which I do in
under three weeks' time to be free."
Justice Dowd was unaware of Sunday's 10-year anniversary, but he had
set his resignation at August 13, "knowing that that date would be
after the time he would be eligible for his full pension", his
By Stephen Gibbs
Sydney Morning Herald, July 27, 2004
"What would you do if your house was raided?"
ASIO, the Police and You
Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network
This pamphlet is big news, if the audience at its July 26 launch is anything to go by. The inspector-general of intelligence and security, Ian Carnell, was there, as was a representative of the Australian Federal Police, and reportedly one of the heads of ASIO. The room was also packed with members of AMCRAN, the Civil Rights Network, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) and community legal centres.
ASIO, the Police and You seeks to explain what Australia’s “anti-terrorism” laws are and what powers they give ASIO and the AFP. It describes what to do if your house is raided, what to do if you are arrested or detained, where to go for help and how to lodge a complaint.
According to Waleed Kadous, co-convener of AMCRAN: “The complexity of these laws has meant that most people — Muslim or otherwise — are unaware as to their rights and responsibilities under these laws as well as the avenues of complaint. It is this gap in understanding amongst the wider community that [we] hope to address with this guide.”
NSWCCL vice-president David Bernie told the launch that the powers given to ASIO under “anti-terrorism” legislation are “a threat to all of us”. “On the face of them, the laws don’t discriminate. But their application in the short term may always discriminate.”
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle told the launch that “the `war on terror’ is taking away our rights, and it’s not bringing security to us or the region”. She added that Muslim Australians had told her that they were advising their children not to go to rallies or political meetings, and not to donate to Muslim charities.
Vicki Sentas from the UTS Community Law Centre told the audience: “The `war on terror’ has normalised discrimination and racist attacks on Muslim and Arab people around the world.” In Australia, Sentas said, “the laws rely heavily on police and ASIO discretion and religious and racial profiling”, which must be “challenged as a matter of urgency”.
Justice John Dowd, president of the International Commission of Jurists and soon-to-retire member of the NSW Supreme Court, officially launched the booklet. He told the audience: “I recently went to a Tamil fundraising function. I went to a similar function a year ago, and I didn’t check that the money didn’t go directly to buying bullets. This function was to buy ambulances.”
Referring to the fact that it is an offence punishable by 15 years’ imprisonment to unknowingly give funds to a listed terrorist organisation, Dowd said: “I bought $40 worth of raffle tickets, because I wanted to make a point. I’m appalled that I have to audit my dollar back to Jaffna before I can agree to donate.”
Much of the booklet’s first print run of 4000 has been distributed, but AMCRAN is currently seeking funding to produce a second edition, which they also hope to translate into a number of different languages.
Sarah Stephen, Sydney
From Green Left Weekly, issue #592, August 4, 2004.