Terrorism and Civil Liberties
There is no security without liberty.
In a recent speech to the NSW Council for Civil Liberties,
High Court Justice Michael Kirby delivered an important
reminder to all civil libertarians:
"Let there be no doubt that
real terrorists are the enemies of civil liberties...
"Nevertheless...we must also recognise...the need to
draw a distinction between 'terrorists' and those who are
simply objecting to injustice as they see it. In his day,
Mahatma Gandhi was certainly called a terrorist. So was
"[We must also recognise] that, in responding to violent
antagonists, democratic communities must do so in a way,
as far as possible, consistent with the defence of civil
Full speech: "Terrorism:
Keeping Calm" (2004)
197 Civil Liberty 8.
These sentiments echo important UN declarations after the
terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001:
...all measures to counter terrorism must
be in strict conformity with the relevant provisions of
international law, including international human rights
UN General Assembly, Human
Rights and Terrorism (13 February 2002) A/RES/56/160.
States must ensure that any measure taken
to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under
international law, and should adopt such measures in accordance
with international law, in particular international human
rights, refugee, and humanitarian law.
In this spirit, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties scrutinizes
all counter-terrorism measures and legislation undertaken
by Australian governments.
Since September 2001, CCL has actively sought to safeguard
the civil liberties of all Australians from the heavy-handed
counter-terrorist responses of governments. CCL has made
many submissions to Parliaments and given testimony to several
Senate hearings. For example,