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Bishop welcomes scrutiny of anti-terrorism bills


Any increased national security arrangements - including those made in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks - should "respect and protect human rights", according to Bishop William Morris, Acting Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

National security legislation in many countries in our region is often misused as a tool of oppression, he pointed out in a statement issued by the Council on Friday.

"While we do not believe this to be the intention of the Australian Government's counter terrorism legislative package," he said. "We do want to be sure that Australian national security legislation will not be open to such abuse. For example, the definition of terrorism needs to be precise, and the right to freedom of association must be preserved", he explained.

Bishop Morris said an effective fight against terrorism must avoid the pitfall of "the logic of ends justifying means", as "this is the logic of terrorism itself".

"The open and public scrutiny of important legislation is essential," he said. "We welcome the referral of the recently introduced counter terrorism Bills to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee for proper scrutiny", he concluded."

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is the national justice, peace and human rights agency of the Catholic Church in Australia.

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25 Mar 2002