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20 May 2005

ASIO powers should continue

Mr Richardson said there were practical reasons why it was unlikely ASIO would abuse the questioning and detention powers if they became permanent.

"Whoever's sitting in my job, I don't think is going to have an interest in having their public career ending in disgrace by abuse of power," [Mr Richardson said.]

Sydney Morning Herald

This seems a bit mad to me. You could use this argument to justify virtually any powers. If you give them the power of summary execution, they're "unlikely" to use it because it will make them look bad. I'm not sure if that's a good reason to actually give it to them.

And then there is this.

Geoffrey McDonald, assistant secretary of the security law branch of the Attorney-General's Department, said some people could be left out-of-pocket if they lost their employment as a result of being questioned under the powers, which can bar an interviewee from explaining to their employer where they have been while in ASIO custody.

Are they serious? So if the government starts turning us into a police state, we're not legally allowed to tell anyone it's even happening. Do these people understand nothing? People spent hundreds of years fighting and dying to win these rights. I'm not surprised that people try to remove them. But to do it so casually makes them look like they miss the point entirely.

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