No time for complacency: Why it’s still important to make submissions to the Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation
It’s been reported that Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has back-pedalled on plans to push forward with far-reaching increases in powers for Australia’s Intelligence agencies (ASIO, ASIS, DSD) being reviewed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. What may not be clear is that the current Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation hasn’t been disbanded. Or deferred. Or delayed.
It’s important to remember that we still need to make submissions to the Inquiry to provide tangible feedback on this issue. One of the possible (intentional?) outcomes of this announcement is that people breathe a sigh of relief and don’t bother to put in submissions. When the proposals eventually get revived, the government of the day can point to the lack of submissions and say, “See, there’s no real opposition to these proposals…”
I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature (the maxim “Never assume malice where incompetence will suffice” is a pretty good one), but it wouldn’t surprise me if the announcement has been made in full awareness of the likely effect of reducing people’s sense of urgency about putting in a submission.
Regardless of intention, those of us concerned about privacy, data security, presumption of innocence, and a legal system with inbuilt checks and balances need to make our voices heard.
I’ll be putting a submission in. Will you?
Submissions are due by Monday, 20 August 2012.