Just where the hell is this country going? Or is hell the actual destination?
Think also of the proposed street operation in Melbourne (which was cancelled at the 11th hour) by this new Border Force agency back in August. Since when has it been acceptable for random checking on masses of citizens in the streets? And on the subject of the Border Force, I had the delight of seeing their new outfits recently at the airport as I came back into Australia. A stunning all-over black (perhaps to make them look slim?). Actually, it struck me more as a modern reincarnation of certain outfits in Germany in the 1930s.
And we all know how that ended. A version of hell indeed.
This disgraceful assault on the civil liberties and privacy of law-abiding citizens was brought in by a Liberal government (clearly having forgotten what "liberal" means) with the complete connivance of the Labor opposition (clearly having forgotten what "opposition" means). I applaud the efforts by the Greens and some cross bench Senators to oppose the legislation, but, of course, their voices were raised in vain.
I have no problem whatsoever with law enforcement agencies being given sufficient powers to do their jobs (after all, I spent years working in that arena), but what happened to warrants? Yes, those little bits of paper which at least provide a level of judicial oversight over law enforcement using intrusive powers against citizens. Exactly the sort of oversight there should be. And I've yet to see any reasonable, cogent argument put before the people of Australia as to why the concept of warrants is suddenly unfashionable and unnecessary. Perhaps the real reason is the desire of the government and opposition (who'll have their turn back in government sooner or later) to really embark upon totalitarian control of the citizenry. Big Brother is truly here. Let's just wait for the abuses of these new powers which are inevitably going to occur. Why? Well, notwithstanding the many honest and decent personnel in our law enforcement agencies, there are certainly also those who are far from honest. And, with no judicial oversight, it will be open slather for abuse by those so inclined.
This is supposedly all part of our benevolent government's efforts to keep us safe (from terrorists, I think is the usual glib rationale). I'm happy to have a level of protection, but at what cost? Does that mean my civil liberties disappear? If so, and a whole lot disappeared today, then what way of life are we left trying to protect? The tragic irony here is that these sort of efforts to "protect" us actually diminish and restrict our very way of life - exactly what terrorists are seeking to achieve by their own awful methods. As a society we rightly voice our revulsion at what terrorists do in their efforts to destroy civilised, democratic societies. When our own government and opposition engage in efforts to destroy our liberties we apathetically suck it up.
The problem is, as the freedoms evaporate, it becomes too late to speak up, to protest, to regain our lost way of life. Remember Germany in the 1930s. And remember this day in Australia, 13 October 2015. Perhaps each 13 October from now on we should mount a silent vigil to commemorate what we lost today.