National security announcement: Tony Abbott promises "clamp down" on terror

I’m sure a lot of you were following this morning’s natsec announcement. Summary:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will hand more power to spies and police to respond to a “dark age” of terrorism, despite the nation already having the toughest anti-terror laws of any comparable democracy.

On Monday, Mr Abbott announced he would appoint a new counter terrorism boss, simplify the terror alert system and strip terror suspects of “the benefit of the doubt” in order to counteract “the most primitive savagery”.

During the speech at federal police headquarters, he hit back at critics who have accused him of exaggerating the threat from hard-to-detect “lone actor” attacks like the Sydney siege, and signalled yet another rebalance of civil liberties.

“There is always a trade-off between the rights of the individual and community safety. We will not sacrifice our freedoms, but we will not let our enemies exploit our decency either,” he said.

Mr Abbott promised to “clamp down” on dual citizenships, legal aid, bail applications, welfare payments and “terrorist propaganda” on social media, amid warnings from legal experts and other political parties against overreach.

Abbott continues to cite the Sydney Siege as justification for anti-terror laws. As Brendan pointed out in December, this doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny.

“A significant question that needs to be answered is how a person such as the perpetrator, Man Haron Monis, who was known to be a potential threat to the community was not under targeted surveillance. […] Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies seem too caught up in pushing for more powers and tools, including data retention, rather than responsibly and effectively using the powers they already have.”

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