Australia anti-terror laws go too far, former judge says

Australia anti-terror laws go too far, former judge says

[JURIST] A former Australian federal judge has offered scathing criticism on the country's newly approved anti-terror laws [JURIST document], saying the measures could lead to the growth of a police state. Former federal court Judge Marcus Einfeld [Claxton Speakers profile] said the legislation eroded human rights in Australia [JURIST news archive] and questioned how much Australians should give up for increased security. Einfeld's comments came during a symposium [event preview] Monday at the University of Western Sydney [official website]. The laws, which were passed in December [JURIST report], allow police to detain terror suspects for up to two weeks without charge and gives police greater search and seizure powers.

Anti-terror legislation has drawn skepticism from jurists around the world over its impact on human rights. Most recently, a panel of the International Commission of Jurists [official website] questioned the Australian laws [ABC News report] and the amount of authority that they give to intelligence agencies. Similar legislation in the UK has raised questions [JURIST report] about oversight by an independent judiciary, and a new anti-terror law under consideration has suffered a setback [JURIST report] over detention of terror suspects without charge. The Sydney Morning Herald has more.

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