It is important that, between now and next Tuesday 1 November, every Federal politician gets the message that Australians are very concerned about what is happening.
You should try to get the message across that you are concerned about the extremely short amount of time Federal Parliament has allowed for debate of the Government’s proposed Anti-Terror Laws. And you could also say that you are very concerned about the way those laws are currently drafted.
At the moment, the Government has allowed for one day’s debate of the proposed laws and one day for a Senate Committee to scrutinise the Bill.
If you would like to read Kirk McKenzie’s two articles on the draft bill:
What To Do: If you are able to meet with your Member of Parliament
1. To find out who your Federal member of parliament is, go to the Australian Electoral Commission’s website: (link here).
To locate the electorate office of your local member, go to the Australian parliamentary website: (link here).
2. Telephone your Federal member of parliament and arrange to meet them BEFORE next Tuesday, if possible. If you can’t meet with your MP before next Tuesday, ask to speak with them over the phone. And failing that, ask to meet their most senior adviser.
3. Organise a group of you to see the MP or their adviser, nominating one of you to act as spokesperson, and another to take notes.
4. Ask the MP or their adviser questions about the legislation along the lines of the following:
Why, contrary to the current law, are police to be allowed to detain people without intending to proceed with a terror-related charge or any charge?
Why is it necessary to allow the detention of a person for up to 14 days, when that person has not been charged with a terror-related crime, or any other crime?
Why does the legislation allow for the possibility that the police could hold a person in virtual house arrest, for up to 12 months, when that person has not been charged with a terror-related crime, or any other crime?
Why is it necessary that a judge act in a ‘personal capacity’ rather than as a judge, when the police ask them to extend a Preventative Detention Order?
What precisely are the deficiencies in the current powers of the police which necessitate greatly expanded powers?
5. Take notes and write down the answers given and email them to the Centre for Policy Development at: email@example.com
6. Ask the politician, or their adviser, whether they will be voting for or against a Bill or Bills that include provisions for Control Orders and Preventative Detention of people who have not been charged with a terror-related crime.
7. Make it clear that you are deeply concerned with the way that these matters have been handled. That you disagree strongly with restricting Federal Parliament’s ability to debate, amend and improve the legislation.
8. Remind them that you vote.
What To Do: If you are able to meet with your Senators
1. Do as above for all the Senators representing your State/Territory, going to the following website: (Link here).
2. Email the response from Senators and/or their advisers to the Centre for Policy Development at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What To Do: If you are UNABLE to meet with your Member of Parliament or Senators
1. Locate the postal and email addresses of your MP and all the Senators from your State/Territory.
2. Write to each of your representatives and ask them the questions you would have if you’d had a face-to-face meeting with them.
3. Stress your concerns and remind them that you vote.
4. Email copies of your letters and any response from MPs and Senators and/or their advisers to the Centre for Policy Development at: email@example.com
At all times, remain courteous. Ask your questions and discuss your concerns confidently and keep on asking questions if you’re unclear or dissatisfied with any of their answers.
Chances are, we will soon have to do this again at a State and Territory level, so your experience and feedback will be useful and important. Please send information about who you are contacting and any feedback you believe is useful. Email the Centre for Policy Development at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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