Today, NSW Supreme Court Justice Michael Adams threw out the case against terrorism suspect Izhar ul-Haque. The reason being ASIO officers had broken the law attempting to get answers from ul-Haque.
I have no comment on the possible guilt or innocence of Izhar ul-Haque. The problem is the continued evidence of bungling by Australia’s security forces in regards to processing terrorism suspects.
A key component in the war against terrorism is that the rule of the law must be upheld. To relax civil liberties in light of a perceived terrorism threat does nothing to protect the nation. In fact, doing so can undermine counter-terrorism activities. However on PM this afternoon (transcript unavailable at this time) Dr Carl Ungerer argued that intelligence agencies should have greater flexibility in how they handle terror suspects.
Another curious comment in regards to this and the Haneef case is that uncovering such abuses of law proves the system works. Independent judicial still exists and is unbowed by political pressure. This is true but misleading. Such a statement is designed to direct the discussion away from the fact that those entrusted with the nation’s security stuffed it up in the first place.
Australia doesn’t need stronger anti-terrorism legislation to prevent such problems happening again. It needs security agencies that are not subject to political pressure and are allowed to do their job with the already adequate legislative framework.