“Wednesday’s gutless performance by Kim Beazley and his front bench over the so-called anti-terrorism law will relegate the Labor Party to the Opposition benches for the foreseeable future. Cosying up to John Howard and Philip Ruddock and the security services has proven time and time again to be a foolish mistake for the Labor Party. The Tampa and the “children overboard” affairs, the deportation of Australian citizens, the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and now “specific” intelligence indicating a “potential terrorist threat” have all the hallmarks of a continued campaign of dishonesty and deception.
“The tragedy of the Labor Party’s behaviour and the weak-kneed response by the state premiers to the demand for the destruction of Australian democratic freedoms is that by giving in to Howard, Labor has become as culpable as those who are its architects. The Communist Party Dissolution Bill of the 1950s drawn up by the Menzies government pales into insignificance when compared with the tools that have been handed to the security services. These same services have historically demonstrated a complete inability to manage the power that politicians want to give them (ask the ghost of Lionel Murphy). The courts, God love them, are often unsatisfactory and weak but they are at least a last resort. Labor has conspired to give even that away. This is probably the death knell of the Australian Labor Party as we know it.”
Peter Dowding SC
Former Labor premier of Western Australia