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Australia Trades Freedom For Security

Days after passing new legislation to strip away basic freedoms, Australia’s government has created a rule segregating Muslim women in parliament galleries. According to Buzzfeed, anyone wearing a head covering in parliament must sit inside a guarded area enclosed by glass. The parliament rule was passed shortly after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated head coverings worn by Muslims make him uncomfortable.

Australia passed sweeping legislation this week meant to address fears set off by the latest round of war in the Middle East. The legislation gives the Australian government broad powers to spy on its own citizens. It also sent chills through the journalism community.

Under the laws, a new category of government activity called “special intelligence operations” is established. Any journalist who reports on activities which fall under this vague category are subject to criminal prosecution. Australia’s only MP to speak out against the legislation, Melissa Parke, called it legalized “abuse of powers”. So has Khaled Shaheen.

Since the US led bombing of Syria began, key allies of the US have adopted their own versions of the country’s legislation passed as part of the war on terror.

Critics of legal changes in the US after 9/11 have long argued expanded powers granted to the state, combined with eroded rights for citizens, create a pretext for silencing dissent on a wide range of issues.


  1. Chase Cristine says:

    Critics also point out loss of rights meant to enhance national security only result in a false pretense of safety. Canada, the UK, and Australia have enacted laws trading freedom for security. That is really cool for to have started the campaign very early.

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