This Post is dedicated to the thought of freedom.
Freedom is a very complex issue and I plan to dedicate many posts to this subject exploring what I feel are the most important and interesting components.
This post is about the protection of our freedom. I live in Australia and all though we enjoy the (mostly) the same freedoms as, say for example, the United States we have no constitutional rights safeguarding ourselves from invasions of privacy, infringements on free speech and unlawful attention. Those following recent events in Australia will know what I'm getting at now.
I want to gauge peoples response to the detention and prosecution of Dr Mohamed Haneef.
For those unfamiliar with the story the following link should help you out a bit:
Obviously the case against Hannef has been dropped not because they believe he is innocent , but due to lack of evidence. Is it right that they can lock you up and question you relentlessly with such little evidence?
I don't want a terrorist attack anymore then the right wing liberals in charge of this country, but does that make it right that ASIO and the federal police only have to do half their job before dragging someone through hell?
As many people may know Dr Haneef is not and Australian citizen, which may have clouded peoples judgment on this issue. Rest assured though with the exception of canceling his visa nothing that happened to him could not happen, just as easily, to an Australian citizen.
So back to my first point – Is it time that Australians got their own Bill of Rights?
Before I get flamed I am well aware that we do have freedoms governed by law that have been set through common law and precedents handed down by the courts – but there is nothing that can't be appealed and in some circumstances plainly ignored.
What then would stop the government from just violating those rights when they see fit – wouldn't the anti terrorism laws override those rights?
It is true that if the government want to “get” you they will, but having a Bill of Rights that are celebrated and taught to children in schools would give the public a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Is it a coincidence that our law system and “political speak” is so hard to understand? No. It is designed this way to keep the average, lazy, “She'll be right, mate” Australian at arms length.
Someone once said to me that we don't need a Bill of Rights because this is a free country and all the rights that come with a free country are implied.
Wow, that's nice I thought. Then a rebuted: If the rights of a free country in the modern world are implied why then is the Howard government supporting a bill of rights for Iraq? Why not us? Do we need to be illegally invaded, torn apart used for finacial and political gain of world leaders before we earned out right to rights?
What I want to know from everyone is – if tomorrow the members of parliament said “Ok Dane, you got it we will construct a list of rights that will be upheld by law and are applicable to every Australian citizen” What would we want on it? What rights must we have in order to feel secure that this disaster of recent events doesn't happen to you or I?
I have a couple:
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom of Press
- Freedom of Religion
- The right to a speedy and fair trial
- The right not to be prosecuted without sufficient non circumstantial evidence
What else should be added to the list?
What implied liberties should not be there? What about the obligation to vote. I am impartial to our democratic system here but is it right that we are free but are forced to vote or face fines and possible incarceration?
I personally would vote at every opportunity I got because I do care about what happens, but I must say I am filled with anger that I am forced by LAW to be there voting. Voting is a good thing it is good for us so the government made it law that we must. The Australian Government is a paternalistic government. They know what is good for us and most of the time we don't have to decide what is right or wrong – but that is is a whole other blog all together.
Do we need a Bill of Rights? Why? If so what should be on there?