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Social Justice Council urges scrutiny of ASIO Bill


The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) was calling for all political parties to consider opposing the ASIO Bill if proposals ensuring the preservation of basic human rights fail.

The ASIO Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill was scheduled to come before the Federal Senate yesterday, Human Rights Day.

"The powers outlined for Federal authorities in the proposed ASIO Legislation would threaten certain liberties," ACSJC chairman Bishop William Morris said, "Even after considering the recommendations of a recent Senate Committee Report to water down the Government's Bill."

"Many organisations and legal professionals are concerned that the processes of the criminal justice system will be bypassed as government bodies are given the authority to detain citizens," he continued. "It is a concern that citizens could be detained without having committed or being suspected of a criminal offence. The ASIO Bill would allow the detention of citizens for the purposes of collecting intelligence."

In the statement on the ASIO bill, Bishop Morris also welcomed yesterday's celebration of International Human Rights Day as an "opportunity for all Australians to celebrate and promote the human rights that underpin the Australian way of life".

SOURCE
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

LINKS
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Human rights record 'patchy': church report (ABC Radio 'The World Today')

11 Dec 2002