Media Release by Terry O'Gorman, President, Australian Council for Civil Liberties

Media Release by Terry O'Gorman, President, Australian Council for Civil Liberties

The Australian Council for Civil Liberties has this morning seriously questioned fundamental accountability issues which will arise from today’s announcement of a Super Security Ministry comprising ASIO, the AFP and Immigration and Border Force.

Council President Terry O’Gorman said the fact that it follows within a matter of days on the announcement that Australian Defence Force Special Forces will for the first time in Australia’s history be used in a domestic terrorist incident raise important questions whether the balance between adequate terrorism powers and protecting civil liberties is being wrongly and badly skewed.

Mr O’Gorman said that the accountability concerns were further deepened when the history and role of the proposed Super Minister, Peter Dutton, is examined.

As Minister for Immigration and Border Control, Mr Dutton has demonstrated a secrecy mindset attacking those who criticise Australia’s off shore immigration detention centres and settling a large detention centre lawsuit which has the convenient consequence that the publicity flowing from a Court case which would have run for weeks is avoided. 

“The fact that ASIO supervision will be taken from the Attorney-General’s domain for the first time since ASIO was created in 1949 shows a worrying ignorance of ASIO’s controversial history in wrongly spying on legitimate domestic political protestors and dissenters”, Mr O’Gorman said.

Mr O’Gorman said that Mr Dutton’s frequent foray into Queensland’s legal system, including calling judicial officers ‘lefties’ and other derogatory terms, shows he is the least balanced Minister in the Turnbull Government to take on the Super Ministry.

“This Super Ministry is a threat to civil liberties, is apparently opposed by a number of senior Ministers within the Federal Government, and should not go ahead”, Mr O’Gorman said.

 

Mr O’Gorman can be contacted during business hours on 07 3034 0000