Draconian law highlights need for third-party role

The Liberal Government and Labor Opposition have voted for draconian laws in the House of Representatives.

I can only assume the two of them will do the same in the Senate.

The laws will give the police and ASIO the power to trace our mobile and internet activity without a warrant. Court approval will not be needed, nor will there be supervision of the process.

Labor and the Liberal/National Coalition have teamed up on a number of occasions to restrict the privacy of citizens and this is the latest example.

It is yet another example of a Government that is no longer accountable to the people because of a majority in both houses of Parliament and an ineffective Opposition that says “me too” to the Government’s agenda, providing no real alternative to a tired old government.

As always, it is up to the Australian Democrats to speak out. But what has a minority party, which for so many years has been the conscience of the Parliament, been able to do without having the balance of power?

This mobile and internet tapping issue is a matter that should be of concern to all Australians.

Our Parliament, courts and security agencies need to be accountable. Our freedoms are precious and need to be protected, not given away through legislation that seeks to control the very people it is supposed to protect.

With an election looming and the question of accountability at the heart of our democratic system, we need desperately to restore balance to the Senate.

We need a third party that will make government by and opposition from the major parties accountable. And to enable a brake on extreme legislation.

We probably have nothing to lose except freedom from overly powerful government and stand to gain more credibility than the opposition.

(This is a reproduction of my letter published in the Canberra Times, 21 September, 2007).

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