I have borrowed the title from Michael Stolleis’ oxymoronically
titled book Justice within Injustice which is about, oxymoronically, justice in the Third Reich. After having read Stolleis’ essays, in which he argues that the loss of personal freedoms under the Third Reich was more an erosion of freedoms that a revolutionary break with the past, I was struck by the parallels between what Stolleis argues happened under the Third Reich in Germany and what has happened in Australia under the wasted years of the Howard regime and the vacuous Labor leadership which has followed.
This erosion of personal freedoms that has been occurring in Australia under the pretext of protecting us from the Islamic/terrorist threat following 9/11, is something that should concern all Australians. Each stage in the erosion of our freedoms is presaged by dire warnings about the imaginary threats posed by asylum seekers, or the sexual exploitation of children in remote Aboriginal communities, or the prevalence of Islamic terror in the donner kebab industry in Sydney and Melbourne! The peddlers of these dire warnings are the pigmies of our political and bureaucratic elite, their heralds, the Fairfax and Murdoch press!
In an upcoming post I intend to dissect the career of Miles Jordana, Howard’s fall guy, but for the moment it’s more appropriate to consider the bigger picture – the erosion of the personal freedoms of the average Australian as a result of all these machinations by the pigmies of our political and bureaucratic elite.
In order to take in the full extent of the erosion of personal freedoms of the average Australian from the Howard regime onwards, it is first necessary to consider the interrelation between law and justice. This erosion is taking place on two separate, yet interrelated planes. The first is the exclusion of specific segments of lawmaking and law enforcement from the main system. Here I can present two examples; firstly by excising Christmas Island from Australia and then by sending those refugees who have landed there to extra-territorial processing centres; secondly, by the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory which was a necessary legal precursor to the ‘Intervention’.
The second plane of erosion, is that of rights that were formally accepted as valid, under pressure of both Howard’s ideology, based on self-interest and the apparatuses Howard created to enforce this ideology. The important question, which thankfully remains unanswered, is when will Australia reach the point of no return and become and become a totally new one, creating a system of (in)justice? While it is easy to point to
a string of legislation enacted since 9/11, each piece of which could serve as a marker for the start of the process of erosion, there is an element at play which is both more subtle and more sinister – the politicialization of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) under Howard and Keelty.
Whether we look at the essence of law, at the way the system functions, or at the equilibrium between the different forces of law and law enforcement in Australia in the Howard and post Howard era, it becomes quite clear that the system of injustice is characteristic of this era. It is not necessarily the introduction of new laws, but rather the interpretation of law according to the dictates of self-interest that make the difference.
What is of interest is the way in which Howard and his cronies realised the power of the media and the criminal law to assassinate someone’s reputation and remove critics and opponents. Within this overall context, Howard and his cronies latched onto an otherwise important and valid piece of legislation – Australia’s child sex tourism laws – and used them as a tool to threaten and intimidate opponents in the Pacific.
As I have discussed in previous posts, Australia via a politicalized AFP, used Australia’s child sex tourism laws to rid itself of a political thorn in the side, Julian Moti QC; a thorn that had the power, as Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands to undermine Australia’s neo-colonial ambitions in the Pacific. To the minds of most Australians, a mindset reinforced by a constant media barrage of negative reinforcement, child sex tourism equals paedophilia which in turn equals guilty as charged, without the benefit of a trial. As Captain Fred Martens, another victim of the child sex tourism prosecution ‘racket’ being run by the AFP in the Pacific said:
“Because of the nature of the accusations, nobody wanted to know me, or have anything to do with me”
Paedophilia appears to be the one unforgivable crime in contemporary society. It would seem to the eyes of many that while drug dealers, murderers, terrorists and even rogue cops can be forgiven and rehabilitated, paedophiles cannot. This may or may not be the case. What is certainly the case is that the AFP should not be publicly accusing people of an unforgivable crime unless they are certain that a crime of that nature has actually been committed. In the case of Captain Martens, on the basis of evidence that was ‘tainted’ by AFP corruption, he was not only accused of, but tried on, incarcerated for and then exonerated of allegations of child sex tourism. Is this justice?
In the case of Julian Moti QC, he has been accused of child sex tourism by the AFP, a charge which renderers him unemployable, and returned to Australia under questionable circumstances to face a ‘fair’ trial for a crime of which the media has already determined him to be guilty. It is also an allegation that the AFP demonstrated no interest in pursuing until Moti was appointed Attorney-General for the Solomon Islands. In fact between 1998, the year in which charges were brought against him in Vanuatu relating to the same set of facts and were subsequently dismissed, and his appointment in 2006 as Attorney-General for the Solomon Islands, Moti entered and left Australia 386 times without the AFP showing any interest in him. So much for AFP concerns about justice for the alleged victim.
While Martens and Moti are relatively high profile cases and involve people who have the perseverance and substance to fight for their rights, how many other cases are there where the victims of AFP corruption have had neither the substance nor perseverance to pursue their rights?
Let’s not forget that the victims of AFP corruption go well beyond those accused of child sex tourism. All those families who may have lost a loved one as a result of drugs imported into Australia either directly or indirectly by AFP officers are also victims of AFP corruption. Victims who will continue to be denied justice until the AFP as an organisation is held accountable.
We also need to add to the list of the victims of AFP crime those families who have lost a loved one as a result of gun related crime, where the gun in question was imported or allowed into Australia because of AFP corruption or incompetence. Then there are the uncounted families who have become the unwanted victims of AFP corruption because a family member has had the nerve to speak out against the entrenched corruption in the Australian bureaucracy.
On this note I will again mention the former Commissioner for ACT Revenue, who was called into the Office of Mr Mike Harris, the then Chief Executive of ACT Treasury in October 2003 and advised that he was being transferred out of his position because of “political reasons”. This ‘transfer’ occurred in the middle of an investigation the former Commissioner was conducting into missing public assets; an investigation that had implications for the ALP both locally and federally; an investigation that was beginning to call into question the integrity of the Stanhope Labor Government. Following continued efforts by the former Commissioner to expose the truth about ALP corruption in the ACT, he was fitted-up, sacked and prosecuted by the AFP and the ALP in what can only be described as a racially and politically motivated travesty of white Australian ‘just-us’.
Finally, let’s not forget Jill Courtney. Ms Courtney spent nearly two years in jail awaiting trial for a charge that Justice Peter Hidden of the NSW Supreme Court threw out within a week of the trial commencing for lack of evidence. I believe that Ms Courtney was the first non-Donner Kebab shop owner to be charged by the AFP under Australia’s anti-terrorism laws.
It is for the above mentioned reasons that I will be placing a petition on Blak and Black in the next week or so calling for a Royal Commission into the AFP. I ask all readers to give consideration to signing the petition when it goes up.