Greens Senator opposes AT Bill (No. 2) citing concerns of Muslim community
Sunday, 20 June 2004


Members of the Greens opposed new anti-terrorism amendments in Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2004 that give the Federal Police increased powers to detain a person and change the presumption of bail.


During the evening of 17 June and through 18 June, Ms Nettle and Dr Brown strongly opposed the legislation and expressed the effects that it had on the Muslim community.


Ms Nettle in particular mentioned meeting with members of the Muslim community earlier on the 17 June 2004. In

her speech starting at 8:04pm, she says:


"Eight members of the Muslim community from New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria were talking to me in my office today about the impact on their community of this kind of terrorism legislation going forward. These Muslim community representatives who were in my office today were telling me that—as I know from colleagues—there are members of the Muslim community in Sydney, particularly women, who are afraid to leave their homes. They are saying to their children, ‘Don’t go to that protest,’ and, ‘Don’t be involved in that Islamic organisation.’ They do not want to give money to Islamic community and service organisations in Sydney because they fear they will be caught in the scope of the terrorism legislation.


"Many of us here know that that is not true. They would not be caught under the scope of this terrorism legislation by picking up the phone and talking to their friends, going to a protest or giving money to Islamic community organisations. But that is the fear that has been created within the Muslim community as a result of the steamrolling of terrorism legislation that we are seeing in this parliament. In the first committee that I sat through on this legislation, the ASIO legislation, we heard from Islamic community organisations that they believed this legislation would be used first on the Islamic community. It has been. Everyone in this country who has been caught up under this terrorism legislation, the whole raft of it that has been brought in, has been Muslim.


"How does one think this makes individuals within the Muslim community feel when they know that every individual who has been picked up under this legislation has been a Muslim? Every organisation which has been banned and proscribed under the legislation that has come in has been a Muslim one. That is not even the case in the United States. But in this country every single terrorist organisation that has been banned is a Muslim one and every single person who has been picked up is from a Muslim organisation.


"There was a young man in my office this afternoon who was talking to me about the two tiers that the Islamic community in Sydney sees. A bomb went off near the Rooty Hill mosque about three weeks ago. That person was not tried for terrorism offences; that person was tried under the criminal law.


"They faced 200 hours of community service. That was a non- Muslim Anglo member of community. Every Muslim community individual who has been picked up in similar circumstances has been tried under terrorism legislation. No wonder the Muslim community feels that there are two systems of justice in this country.


"They are taking tremendous steps to try to combat this within the community. They are getting information about what is actually in this legislation because the sense of fear within the community is enormous. People feel that they cannot pick up the phone, they cannot go to a protest, they cannot go out of their houses and they cannot support their community organisations. That is the result of terrorism legislation that we are seeing this government bringing in. And now we see another lot— legislation that seeks to lock up a young medical student from the University of New South Wales so that he cannot become a doctor. He gets locked in super max."