Wednesday, August 21, 2013

GCSB Bill Passes

The GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill was passed on the 21st August; now it just awaits the royal stamp of approval. One month after getting royal assent the three Acts that make up this Bill – the new GCSB Act, the updated Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Act, and the Intelligence and Security Committee Amendment Act, will all be law.

It has been a long time in this country since a bill has failed to gain 'royal assent', but even though in 'modern law' 'royal assenting' appears to be just rubber-stamping, legal experts say that the governor-general can withhold assent. For those who believe in the legal route, it would be good if this Bill could be the one that fails at the last hurdle.

For once this Bill becomes law, the three Acts that it includes will join a long line of laws recently passed in the name of 'protecting and strengthening state security'; these laws include the Terrorism Suppression Act, the Maritime Security Act, the Border Security, the Aviation Security Act, the Telecommunications Interception Capability Act, the SIS Act, the Police Act, and the Search and Surveillance Act. Soon, not only these three Acts passed tonight will join this list, but also the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security (TICS) Bill. The 'TICS' Bill is set to be reported back to parliament on 30th September.

These laws and Bills are a threat.

The government keeps mentioning the 'terrorist' and attacks on cyber-security as being the great threats, but the reality is the threat comes from the state. Surveillance is oppressive, violent and controlling. These laws and bills protect and strengthen the apparatus of state surveillance, state control and state repression. We must fight them any way our conscience and principles allow.

These laws need to be stopped.

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