Time to be Alert … And a little bit Alarmed? – the @sarah_capper column

Yes, that’s right, last week Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the Government was raising Australia’s ‘terror alert’ status to ‘high’.  While technically this means a terrorist attack on Australian soil is now regarded as “likely”, the PM was quick to clarify that “this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent. We have no specific intelligence of particular plots.” Fast forward one week as Australians woke to the news of police raids on houses in Sydney and Brisbane. Almost 900 police were involved with 15 people detained and at this stage, one charged with conspiracy to prepare an attack, another charged with weapons offenses. Based on media reports, the […]

Labor’s Mark Dreyfus QC takes stand on #freespeech: Abbott and Brandis honour Voltaire only in the breach

[clear] The Coalition will never waver in its defence of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. — Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) March 13, 2013 Oh the terrible irony for George Brandis QC in fronting the latest Abbott Government attacks on free speech through its terror legislation. Brandis was one of several moderates in the Howard Government who stood firm behind liberal principles to oppose its draconian anti-terror legislation in 2002. As editor of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Webdiary I documented the true Liberal dissenters fightback in great detail; indeed it was their dissent which enabled the Labor Party to risk adding its voice to the debate. And in my […]

Soldiers’ lot a sorry Sir-vice, says ex-Digger Jim Duffield

[clear] James Brown, in his excellent book Anzac’s long shadow: the cost of our national obsession, makes the observation that “commemorating soldiers is not like connecting with them”, which is a point mostly appreciated by soldiers and service personnel. Nonetheless, it is more than moot, given that our national broadcaster has no defence and national security correspondent, while it does have numbers of sports correspondents qualified in all sorts of ‘Jock- and Jill-strapping’ disciplines. This unlike the BBC, which has an experienced foreign correspondent and multi-lingual graduate specifically allocated to defence. I recall a long and difficult email to-and-fro by veterans to try and get our still breathing battle casualties from […]

Security storm surrounds convicted Egyptian asylum seeker

by Kevin Rennie Source: Global Voices Online June 11, 2013 Accusations of ‘jihadist terrorism’ against an Egyptian asylum seeker have fuelled political brawling in the lead up to Australia’s election on 14 September 2013. Sayed Abdellatif was kept in low security detention for nearly a year despite an Interpol red alert for convictions during the Mubarak regime in 1999. The Opposition parties’ election promises include turning back refugee boats and increasing funding to the intelligence and security agencies. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has responded by setting up an internal inquiryinto the apparent security failure. Stories abound about alleged terrorist Sayed Ahmed Maksoud Abdellatif. Some involve accusations of involvement with al-Qaida funding. Others present […]