Articles on National security

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Having used security as a pretext to impose an information blackout on operations involving asylum seekers, the government is broadening its denial of the public’s right to know. AAP/Quinten Jones

Five reasons terror laws wreck media freedom and democracy

The Abbott government’s latest tranches of national security and counter-terrorism laws represent the greatest attack on the Fourth Estate function of journalism in the modern era. They are worse than…
Religious leaders have come together to promote community harmony, but some political and media agendas have encouraged Islamophobia. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Politicians and media let us down in fight to curb rising Islamophobia

Many incidents of violence and harassment directed at Australian Muslims have been reported recently. These are visible confirmation of fears expressed by their community, that support for the government’s…
The Australian parliament has given rise to the ‘burqa box’, the top tier of glassed-in public galleries. AAP/Lukas Coch

Parliamentary push to ‘ban the burqa’ defies logic of real security

So leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives want to ban the burqa in open parliamentary chambers on the grounds of “security”. They would relegate wearers to a glass box usually reserved…
Tony Abbott’s office has been keeping an eagle eye on the upgrading of security in Parliament House. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Row over facial covering exposes rifts and red faces

For a prime minister who says he wants to promote Team Australia, Tony Abbott made a right mess of it this week. Somehow he managed to let the burqa, which as he correctly says no one actually wears to…
So broad is the amendment bill’s definition of computer that a warrant could arguably give ASIO access to all computers connected via the internet. AAP/Dan Peled

Sweeping security law would have computer users surrender privacy

Parliament is about to consider a range of changes to Australia’s security laws introduced by the Abbott government during its last sitting. The most controversial measures in the National Security Legislation…
If refused re-entry, foreign fighters such as Australian Mohamed Elomar are likely to become professional jihadists for life. Facebook

If blocked from returning home, where will Australia’s jihadists go?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spent recent weeks attempting to rally support for mooted anti-terror laws that would block the return of Australian jihadists fighting alongside Islamic State (IS) in Syria…
Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf spent time in prison for terrorist activities, but he clearly did not abandon his radical beliefs there. Twitter

When foreign fighters return: managing terrorists behind bars

The government’s mooted legislation to tackle returning foreign fighters will undoubtedly make it easier to detect and prosecute those involved in terrorism overseas. This means many returned fighters…
The government wants your movements online to be retained by ISPs and other companies. Flickr/Envato

What metadata does the government want about you?

With the leaking of a discussion paper on telecommunications data retention, we are at last starting to get some clarity as to just what metadata the Abbott government is likely to ask telecommunications…
Journalists face long jail terms for reporting information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’, as declared by ASIO, under the government’s proposed reforms. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bills compound existing threats to media freedom

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will publish its report on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 (Cth) sometime during this sitting of parliament…
Intelligence agencies want greater access to metadata, but security wishlists must be tempered by the public interest in privacy and a balance between state power and citizens’ rights. AAP/Lukas Coch

What is the meaning and what is the use of ‘metadata retention’?

Privacy and individuals’ ability to remain anonymous are important protections against persecution, bullying, intimidation and retaliation. These can be perpetrated by other people, private businesses…
There is little doubt that Tony Abbott – the pugilist, rugby player and ironman – has sport in mind when he describes Australia as a team. AAP/Julian Smith

Dead Poets Society meets Team Australia under captain Abbott

Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott is uncommonly fond of sport metaphors, not least when addressing the domestic terror threat. His latest championing of “Team Australia” in trying to sell his government’s…
Personal dispositions, feelings and beliefs may play a decisive role in explaining why people become radicalised. EPA/Stringer

What goes on in the mind of a militant extremist?

So far, the ongoing discussions about radicalisation of extremists both at home and abroad have tended to emphasise its sociological aspects. It has focused on concepts such as the religion and social…
David Irvine has admitted ASIO needs to recruit more Muslim officers. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: In Conversation with ASIO chief David Irvine

David Irvine retires next month after five years as Director-General of Security, heading ASIO; before that he was head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, which spies abroad. He’s spent more…

A climate of terror?

The Abbott government’s shift from Voltaire to Orwell last week is an act of political desperation. Replacing divisive changes to the Racial Discrimination Act (because they have no hope of going anywhere…

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on metadata

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker and Professorial Fellow Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics including Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the mandatory metadata retention…
The government wants to toughen laws to prosecute and deter Australians, such as alleged Syria suicide bomber ‘Abu Asma al-Australi’, from fighting in foreign conflicts. Twitter/@AbuSiqr

Foreign fighter passports and prosecutions in government’s sights

The Abbott government will soon unveil the legislative details of its second tranche of revamped anti-terrorism measures. The government introduced the first set of reforms into the Senate in July. One…

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