Senate debates

Thursday, 25 July 2019


Selection of Bills Committee; Report

11:47 am

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Here we go again. The ongoing march towards a police state is alive and well in this place. Again, for legislation, including some that we're currently debating—the temporary exclusion order regime—which sets up Minister Dutton or any future Minister for Home Affairs as judge and jury, and which undermines the rule of law in this country, the Senate is being prevented by the government from conducting an inquiry into that legislation and the consequential amendment legislation which is attached to it.

Again, with the sunsetting of powers legislation, I want to place on the record that what that legislation does is to extend a previously agreed-to sunsetting of the power of the government to throw someone in the slammer for up to a week without charging them. What the government are doing here is absolutely outrageous. They're preventing the Senate from doing its job, they're preventing transparency and they're jamming through draconian legislation that marches us yet further down the road to a police state, yet further down the road to a surveillance state and yet further down the road to an authoritarian state.

When will you people ever be happy? When you pass laws saying we can't get out of the bed in the morning because we might slip over? Seriously, this is a debate about the balance between freedoms and liberties on one hand and making our community safer on the other hand, and you don't want to let the Senate have that debate properly. You just want to jam this stuff through because it suits your short-term political agenda to do so. Well, as I said yesterday, the Australian Greens are not going to lie down on this stuff, because someone has to come in here and fight for freedoms and liberties as so many Australian Defence Force personnel, including family members of mine, have done for so many decades in this country. Tragically, many of them, including at least one of my immediate family, have died to defend these freedoms and liberties that you come in here and give away and prevent the Senate from scrutinising adequately.

I'm going to use the f-word again: you're a bunch of fascists. You're a bunch of fascists in this place. You torture innocent people in offshore prisons. That's been going on for six years. You trample over the fundamental rights and freedoms of Australians. You're turning this country into a police state. I'm warning you that the social contract between the people and the parliament is becoming ever more strained, and it's because you are removing rights without adequate scrutiny. It's because you won't take strong action on the climate emergency. It's because of massive wealth and wage inequality in this country. If you look at the collapse of civilisations throughout human history, there are two common factors: environmental degradation and massive wealth inequality. Well, hello! Welcome to the 21st century! You ignore the diminishing of the social contract that underpins law and order in this country at your peril. Ignore it at your peril. Civil disobedience will now rise and continue to rise. While you guys are all rich and wealthy enough to avoid the personal consequences of it, there are many Australians who are not so lucky.


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