Australia PM holds line on anti-terror laws

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] said Monday he will not be forced into weakening the government's tough new anti-terrorism measures [draft law text, PDF; JURIST news archive]. The draft legislation, leaked onto the Internet [JURIST report] last Friday by the concerned Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, has been severely criticized [JURIST report] by many who believe it erodes civil liberties and free speech, and a backbench coalition has already negotiated some changes. Howard, however, maintained Monday that the law has not been dramatically changed, saying "I announced that we were going to have preventive detention. I announced that we were going have control orders. I announced that we would be expanding the sedition offence to include incitement of violent behavior against the community. All of those things have been out in the public domain." At the same time Howard countered that the "idea that we have snuck in a whole lot of attacks on civil liberties beyond what I announced is completely wrong." The bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament by the end of the month, but some lawmakers are arguing for more time to study and consider the proposed laws. ABC News has more. Sydney Morning Herald has local coverage.



 

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