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Issue #1880      August 7, 2019

Taking Issue – Barney Flint

Exclusion orders are a bad omen

The Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill which is before the senate spells disaster for our ability to keep our government in check. The first reason is that it gives Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton additional powers (never before wielded by a minister) over individuals countering their interests.

For example, clause 10 of the so-called “exclusion orders” bill gives Dutton the ability to stop people as young as fourteen from re-entering the country for up to two years.

Why? One of the reasons provided in this clause reads as follows: “the person has been assessed by [ASIO] to be directly or indirectly a risk to security ... for reasons related to politically motivated violence.” This raises several concerns. How is ASIO to discern whether someone is a security risk or not? Could journalists or whistleblowers be considered threats? Why not?

In the US, when now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked a question about information security he called Edward Snowden a “traitor” who should be “executed.” Who is to say that Dutton (who is as much the neo-con as Pompeo) wouldn’t call any future whistleblowers or journalists who challenge or threaten the legitimacy of the Australian government a traitor as well?

And fourteen? Really? Forgive my cynicism, but it would appear to me that this was the lowest age the government thought it could get away with.

Outside of broadening the scope of people it has control over, to me, it could very easily be used as a tactic to separate the families of those with whom the government has a bone to pick.

Next article – Remembering Frida Kahlo

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