New Matilda is calling you to urgent action on the Anti-Terror Laws (click here).

Makybe Diva or the Anti-Terror Bill?

Sums it up really.

One of the most worrying pie-charts I’ve ever seen appeared on the front page of yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald (link here). In a story by David Humphries entitled ‘Voters say yes to terror Australis’, the pie-chart illustrated the main results of a Herald Poll. In Humphries’s words, ‘Australians overwhelmingly endorse the anti-terrorism plan agreed by the Commonwealth, states and territories.’

Of the 1,409 people approached by Herald Poll, 74 per cent approved of the Government’s anti-terrorism plan (presumably on the basis of the draft Bill ‘leaked’ by ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and the subsequent media debate), and only 20 per cent opposed it.

This result will add to the intense political pressure already being brought to bear by the Howard Government on the only people who could now amend the proposed legislation: the leadership of the Federal and State/Territory ALP.

Thanks to Bill Leak

Thanks to Bill Leak

Do they have the spine?

Assuming any doubters on the Coalition side are hog-tied and gagged, will anyone from the ALP stand up in the House of Representatives next Tuesday and oppose the Bill or suggest amendments? And a week later, when it’s the Senate’s turn, will the ALP (and at least one member of the Coalition) muster sufficient guts to slow the passage of these laws through Parliament for (hey, let’s go crazy!) an extra day?

It is a parliament, after all. We pay them about $400 million a year to talk, don’t we? I’m happy for them to put aside some other pressing engagements to perhaps mull over the implications of preventative detention, control orders and sedition for an extra hour or two. Who knows? They might find a way of protecting ordinary Australians from terrorists without throwing away centuries of accumulated measures that protected ordinary citizens from incompetent, overzealous or corrupt police, bureaucrats and … politicians.

Do they have the spine?

We’ll know next Tuesday, about the time the frontrunners hit the top of the home straight at Flemington. Blink and you may miss it. The news from Parliament, I mean. Not the winner of the Cup – that will be plastered all over every newspaper front page and head every news bulletin for days.

If you are not happy to just sit and watch as the drama of the Anti-Terror Laws unfolds before you on a TV screen (squeezed between reports about horse flesh) then New Matilda is calling you to urgent action. Go here

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.