Media Circus: Metadata Edition

NB: updated 2015/02/23 with links (below) re Abbott’s counter-terrorism czar announcement

Those who are familiar with my history of skepticism regarding libertarianism will be unsurprised that I don’t see eye to eye with LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm on a range of issues, but I do agree with most of the arguments he’s been making since last year about the Abbott government’s proposal to mandate that Australian ISPs implement long-term metadata retention. Those arguments do, of course, bear a strong similarity to the arguments long made by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and others – but it’s good that someone from another party is also making them.

UPDATE 2015/02/23: Prime Minister Tony Abbott to simplify terror warnings and appoint counter-terrorism coordinator as part of a new anti-extremism strategy

In response to a joint Commonwealth and New South Wales report into last December’s Sydney siege, Mr Abbott yesterday warned that an “era of terror” meant Australia would need to reconsider “where it draws the balance” between personal freedom and community safety.

“Precisely where we draw the line in the era of terrorism will need to be reconsidered,” he said.

“We need to ask ourselves, at what stage do we need to change the tipping point from protection of the individual to the safety of the community?”

I’m acquainted with a chap who used to be in ASIO (he outed himself years ago and did a comedy show about it even). He’s been increasingly apprehensive about the ever-expanding funding and powers given to ASIO in recent years.

Again, I have to side with Leyenhjolm (and the various others banging the same gong) on this one:

DAVID LEYONHJELM: Ben Franklin said back in the 18th century those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

PETA DONALD: From the crossbenches, Senator David Leyonhjelm doesn’t like the sound of what’s coming and believes he has allies within Government ranks.

DAVID LEYONHJELM: Giving up our liberty in order to protect us from those who want to take our liberty basically means the terrorists win. And, you know, there are plenty in the Liberal side of things who would share that view but the problem with party discipline is that they are unable to say it.

PETA DONALD: One expert argues Australia’s counter-terrorism laws are already strong.

Professor Greg Barton from Monash University says what’s really needed is better case management of those who become radicalised.

GREG BARTON: Catching those things and tracking people, keeping an eye on them, intervening where it’s appropriate; those are all things we do in an ad hoc fashion but not systematically.


What news story/commentary/analysis has grabbed your attention lately?

As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).



Categories: ethics & philosophy, media

Tags: , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. Squeeeeeee!
    *stretching the bounds of news story*

    • The squee is appreciated, it’s a much welcome diversion from Abbott’s increased stridency in the past week as he attempts to present himself as a strong and focussed leader. Counter-terrorism czar ahoy, eh?

  2. Just updated the OP with some links regarding the new counter-terrorism measures:
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott to simplify terror warnings and appoint counter-terrorism coordinator as part of a new anti-extremism strategy

    In response to a joint Commonwealth and New South Wales report into last December’s Sydney siege, Mr Abbott yesterday warned that an “era of terror” meant Australia would need to reconsider “where it draws the balance” between personal freedom and community safety.
    “Precisely where we draw the line in the era of terrorism will need to be reconsidered,” he said.
    “We need to ask ourselves, at what stage do we need to change the tipping point from protection of the individual to the safety of the community?”

    I’m acquainted with a chap who used to be in ASIO (he outed himself years ago and did a comedy show about it even). He’s been increasingly apprehensive about the ever-expanding funding and powers given to ASIO in recent years.
    Again, I have to side with Leyenhjolm (and the various others banging the same gong) on this one:

    DAVID LEYONHJELM: Ben Franklin said back in the 18th century those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    PETA DONALD: From the crossbenches, Senator David Leyonhjelm doesn’t like the sound of what’s coming and believes he has allies within Government ranks.
    DAVID LEYONHJELM: Giving up our liberty in order to protect us from those who want to take our liberty basically means the terrorists win. And, you know, there are plenty in the Liberal side of things who would share that view but the problem with party discipline is that they are unable to say it.
    PETA DONALD: One expert argues Australia’s counter-terrorism laws are already strong.
    Professor Greg Barton from Monash University says what’s really needed is better case management of those who become radicalised.
    GREG BARTON: Catching those things and tracking people, keeping an eye on them, intervening where it’s appropriate; those are all things we do in an ad hoc fashion but not systematically.

  3. Oh god, it’s going to go on and on, isn’t it. He’s going to be the first story on the news every day. “And today Tony Abbott is bashing… Muslims!” We will be able to insert “poor people” and “women and children” rotationally.
    There’s no way a government that recently sent children back to off-shore detention can be trusted to come up with laws that protect us. We’ll have a positive deluge of people like David Hicks and Muhamed Haneef in jail.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/23/hizb-ut-tahrir-is-it-now-an-offence-to-oppose-government-policy-if-so-let-it-be-said-plainly
    Not only is David Leyonhjelm making sense, so is Hizbut Tahrir.

  4. There are a lot of groups that could get caught up in the hate preaching net. Many of them right wing ‘white rights’ groups, Festival of Light preaching hate about Mardi Gras and the people it is for. That could be interesting to watch.

  5. Four Corners has come out swinging in the new year, what with last week’s show about the greyhound industry and last night a pretty damning investigation into job network provider fraud. Also last night’s QandA special on domestic violence was pretty good. I don’t know what the Twitter stream was like but they weren’t letting much MRA nonsense get through in the broadcast.

  6. So Australians involved in acts of terror will now face withdrawal of consular support, travel restrictions, withdrawal of welfare, and deportation if they hold dual citizenship, have I got that right?
    Because the only people involved in acts of terror are dole-bludging immigrants.
    Hey, Australians who receive welfare (not things like baby bonus and first home owners’ grant, though, ‘cos money from the government is only welfare if you’re poor and really need it, obviously) and who can claim dual citizenship and especially Australians born overseas (not talking about Anglos, though, LOL obvs), Tony Abbott has a message for you:
    You may have thought you were on Team Australia.
    But you’re not.

  7. Mr Abbott yesterday warned that an “era of terror”

    Not that he’s fear-mongering or anything, no, not at all, Tony Abbott wouldn’t do that, as sure as the carbon tax was going to wipe Whyalla off the map.
    From what I understand, the Sydney Siege gunman (I refuse to name him) had been investigated by ASIO numerous times over the years, but because his actions – the hate letter campaign to widows of Australian servicemen, the sexual assaults against several women, his part in the MURDER OF HIS EX-WIFE – weren’t terrorism as they defined it, they didn’t credit him as a threat to the broader community.
    Additionally, the security services didn’t pass on any evidence they had about him to the police. So there was a failure of communication between agencies that no amount of extra laws and broader powers would have prevented.
    What I find hard to understand on one level, and yet all too predictable on another level, is that the pattern of violence the gunman demonstrated towards women was disregarded, perhaps not even considered when he was assessed by the security services.
    Because harassing women by letter campaign, sexual assaults against women, colluding in the murder of his ex-wife, all these are to me an escalation of terror acts against women, in the same way that numerous mass shooters have demonstrated in the US for example.
    And yet, he was free to walk the streets because violence against women is just an inevitable part of life that kinda just happens divorced from perpetrators and not to be taken seriously by police, the judiciary and certainly not security services.
    I guess what I’m saying is that if only violence against women was taken seriously by the authorities than the siege might never had happened, and there’d be no convenient excuse for more attacks on our freedoms by the govt.

  8. Sorry for the long comment above.
    As well as all the surveillance and investigations into the Sydney siege gunman, there had been dozens of calls to the ant-terrorist hotline about him – about 18 in the days immediately prior to the siege.
    And yet they were disregarded, and I don’t think passed on to the police. So the community were doing their part, just like we’re asked (and, in the case of the Australian Muslim community, constantly berated about and accused of not doing at all or enough) and yet they were dismissed. I feel for those people who did their best to warn the authorities, and were ignored.
    @Mindy

    There are a lot of groups that could get caught up in the hate preaching net. Many of them right wing ‘white rights’ groups, Festival of Light preaching hate about Mardi Gras and the people it is for. That could be interesting to watch.

    I’m old and tired and I’m afraid I don’t have your optimism. 😦

  9. @angharad
    Regarding the Four Corners on greyhound racing, I didn’t watch it (there’s only so much awful I can take right now) but coincidentally just the other week I was reading about issues with mistreatment and corruption dating back to 2013 (and I’m sure from the beginning of the ‘sport’). Here are some links if anyone wants to be sad (Content note for animal cruelty):
    here
    here
    and here
    And there are organisations working towards ending it:
    Humane Society International
    Animals Australia
    And a Sydney-based rescue group:
    Greyhound Rescue, which I just googled so I can’t vouch for them personally or anything. Apparently greyhounds make good pets, even ex-racing dogs (once they’ve been socialised, though some may not be compatible with cats and other small animals) because they’re actually gentle and cuddly and love lying around. 🙂
    It’s way beyond time we ended such cruel ‘sports’. But they are big business, so I don’t know if it’ll ever happen. 😦

  10. Yes I may have had my rose coloured glasses on there Calcifer.

  11. Yeah, I’m pretty sure no white Christians are going to find themselves in the poo under the new laws.

  12. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-25/morrison-says-welfare-change-necessary-but-introduced-slowly/6261494
    And today, it’s poor people!
    I wonder how much more complicated the forms will be under the new “simplified” system.
    My dear old father, 83 years old, suffering from 3 types of cancer and asbestosis of the lungs, has decided he would like to access the services of a cleaner under federal funding rather than through the council. He has to fill in a 15 page form declaring he has no gold bullion, amongst other things. (The fear of millionaires stealing free cleaning runs deep in the Dept of Human Services.)
    As an added bonus: the fellow he dealt with suggested it would be far better if Dad hied himself to a care home instead. Advice is free and available all day!

  13. @eilish – Oh FFS! Yes sir, just pack up everything you own, leave your home and get a place in a care home and the govt will pay through the nose for that but not for a cleaner a few hours a week. Isn’t it supposed to be all about helping people stay in their own homes?

  14. News Breakfast just reminded me of last night’s Clarke and Dawe: “Senator George Brandis, Attorney General”
    The way some Cabinet ministers have trashed Gillian Triggs this week, and then how Turnbull neatly showed that they were utterly incompetent because her report could equally easily be spun to vindicate their policies and further demonise Labor’s policies, leaves me bewildered. Unless they want to discredit Triggs now because of what might be coming down the HRC pipeline over the next year or so, regarding their welfare “reforms”?

  15. I had a scary thought last night – the Libs are lining up behind either Turnbull or Morrison, and it reminded me of the opening scenes of “Yes, Prime Minister”, where the two big guns fail to notice Jim Hacker quietly white-anting both of them until they neither have the numbers in the first rounds of voting and then Hacker ends up sweeping through the middle. Have you noticed how gleeful Christopher Pyne is looking lately about all this? *shiver*

  16. Ack! Now that’s a thing I didn’t need in my brain before my second cup of tea for the day!

  17. TT: wasn’t Jim Hacker becoming PM all pre-arranged by Sir Humphrey and Sir Arnold because Hacker could be easily manipulat- er, “professionally guided”?

    • Exactly, John. I can imagine a number of eminences grises who might well be thinking that Pyney would be easier to “guide” than the current front-runners.

  18. http://www.gapsa.org.au/
    Another link, this one for SA, for greyhound rescue and rehoming. All the dogs are fostered first to help them adjust to life as a pet, desexed, vaccinated etc, read more at the link. One of my family took on a GAPS dog and couldn’t be more pleased.

  19. The ABC is indicating that some Libs are pushing Julie Bishop to run. I’m getting reminders of the 1975 tory leadership battle in the UK, with Julie Bishop as Margaret Thatcher and Malcolm Turnbull as Willie Whitelaw.

  20. @Calcifer: Thing is, violence against women isn’t terrorism. Neither is violence against those who provide health services to women (such as reproductive health clinics). It’s either “domestic” (if the person you’re being violent against is your partner or related to you) or “free speech” (if you’re blowing up reproductive health clinics) or you’re “a lone wolf crazy person” (if you’re undertaking a systematic campaign of killing or raping people for no apparent reason other than you hate women). Unless, of course, one of your victims happens to be a different skin tone or ethnic group to yourself (in which case it’s racial). The only way it becomes terrorism is if you’re not white and doing the “lone wolf crazy person” thing.
    @TT/John: the key point about the Hacker victory is he basically blackmailed the other two candidates to get out of the way. The one who was the Foreign Minister had financial irregularities in his background which would have become embarrassing if he were allowed near a budget; the one who was Treasurer had a history of dubious liaisons with women of foreign extraction which would have raised questions about his ability to maintain the necessary discretion regarding “top secret” items. Hacker had access to these items as the Party Chairperson at the time, and once Sir Humphrey pointed him in the right directions, and arranged a suitable political “triumph” (the affair of the Eurosausage) for Hacker, the rest was simple.
    Has the bureaucratic head of the Department of Education recently been elevated to the Department of the PM and Cabinet, do we know?

  21. A woman who trains doctors says she tells her trainees it’s better to give in to sexual demands when being harassed because otherwise you won’t have a career.
    Will link tomorrow.
    I can’t imagine sitting in university, training to become a doctor, and hearing that and saying “definitely should keep going with this.”
    WTF???

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