ASIO, Indefinite Detention and Refugees
23 October 2012
Decent democracies do not tolerate indefinite detention without trial, based on secret evidence, merely because it is convenient, and whatever the human costs, writes Professor Ben Saul in the wake of the High Court decision concerning ASIO and indefinite detention of refugees.
"There is a world of evil out there - from death squads, torturers, and jihadists to fascist Breiviks and those committing genocide," he notes in an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Human rights lawyers know this.
"We are curiously enough on the same page.
"Democracies are locked in a struggle for humanity, even if threats are often exaggerated as existential when they are not.
"But our government should only do what is necessary for security, and no more.
"National security cannot be allowed to stand on the shoulders of everything else, including the right not to die in a detention centre, or the right to know why the government claims you are a threat.
"Otherwise our hard-won liberties dissolve into the muck of doing whatever it takes."