Friday, November 09, 2007

Human Rights in Australia - Howard's record critiqued on eve of election

Radio Australia reports "A prominent Australian human rights advocate and lawyer has warned that Australia's anti-terrorism and refugee legislation poses a growing threat to democratic freedoms.

Julian Burnside has been writing for almost ten years on Australia's refugee policies and anti-terror laws.

He's long argued that Australia's treatment of asylum-seekers breaches international law and amounts to serious human rights abuse.

Now he's brought his arguments together in a new book appealing for change.

He spoke to Radio Australia's Connect Asia program about the book.

"Our treatment of asylum seekers is more than just a passing phase, I think it's something which has in an uncomfortable way identified something about the Australian character," he said.

The book, "Watching Brief" also examines Australia's anti-terror laws and call for a Bill of Rights.

"Look to the extent that these things [the anti-terror laws] dilute the rule of law yes it does challenge our democracy. A striking example of that is the laws that allow for orders to be made for preventative detention and for control orders thos are both orders that dramatically curtail a person's liberty not because you have committed an offence but because you might," he said.

You can hear the full story at the Connect Asia website:

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