Australian governments unveil sweeping new police powers


Australian governments unveil sweeping new police powers

Mike Head

6 October 2017

The Liberal-National Coalition federal government and the state and territory governments, most of which are controlled by the Labor Party, yesterday announced an extraordinary increase in police powers.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) summit agreed unanimously to sweeping new measures, including “real-time” use of facial recognition technology to monitor the population, 14-day police detention without charge, expanded powers to call out the military to deal with domestic unrest, and vague new criminal offences.

Yesterday’s announcement marks another nodal point in the bipartisan agreement of the Coalition and Labor to erect the framework for a police-state. The powers are truly Orwellian, that is, reminiscent of the totalitarian nightmare of universal political surveillance and repression presented by George Orwell in his novel 1984.

The new powers add to the more than 70 tranches of “counter-terrorism” legislation already imposed on the population since 2001. The politicians, backed by the corporate media, claimed the measures are intended to “keep people safe.”

In reality, the “war on terrorism” has been a fraudulent cover for the evisceration of fundamental legal and democratic rights. Each of the latest measures extend far beyond combatting purported terrorist threats, and severely erode the civil liberties of the entire population.

The Labor Party premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, was the most explicit in dismissing any concerns about civil liberties, which he disparaged as a “luxury” of “notional considerations.”

Far from a “luxury,” rights such as freedom from political surveillance and protection from detention without trial were…

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