The Public Interest Advocacy Centre today called upon the Federal Attorney-General, together with the Minister for Immigration and the Australian Federal Police Commissioner to provide a public and detailed justification of the detention and imminent deportation of peace activist, Scott Parkin (letters attached).
Speaking on behalf of PIAC, Robin Banks, PIAC’s Chief Executive Officer, today commented:
The Government has through its heavy-handed operation to deport Mr Parkin, sent a strong signal that it will not tolerate views inconsistent with its own.
The Government is sending other worrying messages: firstly, that it will not hesitate to use intelligence officers to police political dissent; and second, that its understanding of national security extends far beyond its constant reference to ‘terrorism’.
Australians would understandably be concerned, as a result of Mr Parkin’s unfortunate experiences, that resistance to the war in Iraq, for instance, is considered by this Government to be sufficient basis to be slated as a national security risk. In other words, actively expressing a dissenting voice can land you in hot water in contemporary Australia.
This is not an example of a Government exercising its unchecked powers responsibly. It is an example of how easily such power can be exercised without appropriate restraint.
Ms Banks went on to say:
Even while it was planning to detain Mr Parkin, this Government was seeking further powers to fight the so-called ‘war on terror’. Australians should ask themselves whether this Government and the intelligence agencies it relies on so heavily should be invested with further powers under the broad and ill-defined justification of ‘terrorist threats’ to Australia.
PIAC calls upon the Federal Government to immediately and publicly justify its actions.
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169