Australia Says No Warrants Necessary If Law Enforcement Thinks You're A Terrorist

from the well-isn't-that-nice dept

chillienet alerts us to some new rules for law enforcement regarding private searches down in Australia. Apparently as long as police think you just might be a terrorist, they no longer need to get a search warrant. I'm sure that won't be abused at all... The whole point of requiring warrants is to avoid abuse. Taking away that check almost guarantees that the powers will be seriously abused.


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    Dundee, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Australia

    Still a prison colony, I see.

     

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      TechNoFear (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:50pm

      It always amuses me when Americans forget that the US was also a penal colony AND had slavery.

      Even though Australia had ~160,000 convicts in the 1860's (compared to the US's ~60,000), Australia had [b]zero slaves[/b] compared to the US's ~4,000,000.

       

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Stop Resisting! Whack...

    Stop Resisting!

    I mean..

    Stop being a terrorist! WHACK! Stop being a terrorist!

     

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    Whatis42? (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Jimbo and Ned's Hunting Show

    "Their Coming Right For Us"

    OR

    "We're Thinning Out Their Numbers"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Reminds me of a case that ended up in front of the United States Supreme Court a while back. (Can't remember the name of it, unfortunately, but I'm sure a bit of Googling would turn it up.) What happened was, a police officer asked someone for permission to frisk him, and the person refused. The cop then said that only a person with something to hide would refuse to be frisked and that that therefore gave him probable cause to frisk the person. He did and found some contraband. The guy appealed his conviction, and the process went all the way to the top.

    SCOTUS ruled that refusal to submit to a search cannot be used as probable cause for a search because that would be functionally equivalent to having no protection at all against being searched; i.e., you'd have to allow the police to search you anytime they wanted to without a warrant, so the guy's conviction was voided. Let's hope that Australian courts have the same sense when this inevitably ends up in front of them as well.

     

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      Sydney (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      I remember reading about it as well, US v. Jackson. Here is the link I read it from
      http://fourthamendment.com/blog/index.php?blog=1&title=w_d_tex_refusal_to_consent_cannot_b e_a_f&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:26am

      Re:

      Ignorant Cop. He thought he was operating under the Cardassian Justice System.

      "You have the right to refuse to answer questions, but such refusal may be construed as a sign of guilt." Gul Evek, describing the Cardassian justice system, "Tribunal" STAR TREK: Deep Space Nine

       

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      Fentex, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

      As Australia has no written Constitution the theory constitutional protections will prevent enaction of this law are possibly ill placed.

      But perhaps not entirely, common law and possibly other extant legislation may still provide for over-ruling application of this law.

      Where I live, New Zealand, we have a Bill of Rights but it isn't binding on parliament - just advisory. We have not subsumed parliaments soveriegnity to it as yet (I suspect we may, perhaps when we become a republic).

      In many ways Australia and our constitutioal arrangmenets are similar, but I've no idea if Australia has done anything in recent decades to adopt something like a Bill of Rights.

       

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        Big Al, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

        Re: Bill of Rights

        A couple of states (ACT and Vic I think) have a bill of rights but, like the NZ model, I believe they are non-binding. They are also, in a few cases, turning out to be a real lawyer's feast.
        I think we as a country will only accept a Bill of Rights if it comes with a corresponding Bill of Responsibilities...

         

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        TechNoFear (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:44pm

        Australia has a written constitution.

        "As Australia has no written Constitution "

        What about the "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia" (1901)?

        And the protections provided by the ICCPR or UDHR?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Do these guys honestly think they'll stop terrorists when they ride roughshod over their own citizens rights? How many people have they just pissed off? How many terrorists did they just create?

    But they say legitimate protests will not be criminalized.

     

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    darryl, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

    You think that is bad !!!, also (here in Australia), if you do get one of those search warrents, you are not allowed to tell anyone you got one.

    Thats right, not your lawyer, not your family, not the press..

    But that has been around for awile, and it has been here since before the present Government.

    Oh yes, you also dont get to know the subject of the warrent, or who issued it.

    So if someone "just says" they saw you doing something, they can get a warrant off a court, detain you, search you and your property. And you are not informed why, or on what charges you are being searched.

    we've had it for years, and its hard to see how much abuse is done, as it is not allowed to be public..

     

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      DogBreath, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:36am

      Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

      Australia, along with other countries around the world, sounds like they're well on their way to using the Cardassian Justice System.

       

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      interval (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

      Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

      You're... not... allowed... to... tell... your... lawyer... you have been served with a search warrant? Isn't that the same as denying a suspect a lawyer? Or is that not a right down under? So I get hauled in, do I not get to call him? Or if I do, what do we talk about? The weather? Oh, I get it, if I've been hauled in for possession, that'd be after the warrant... or...?

       

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        DogBreath, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

        Re: Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

        Reminds me of this story about another "not being allowed to talk to a lawyer" because of National Security Letters, , issued by the FBI.

        Target of FBI gag order free to speak after 6 years

        "These letters not only require that information be handed over without a warrant but also impose a gag order on the recipient to prevent them from even revealing that the request has been made"

         

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        Big Al, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

        Re: Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

        Yes, you do get to contact your lawyer after you've been arrested - but the lawyer can't tell anyone what they're working on, you can't tell anyone and the whole thing works in an information vacuum.
        You can't even let your immediate family know what's going on!

         

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      RikuoAmero (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

      Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

      I almost cannot believe that! Aussie police can just slap handcuffs on you and don't have to say why? Anyone else here, please say otherwise, please say this guy is lying. Otherwise, I'll choose never to go to Australia, my decision having been influenced on the judicial system; by the same rationale, I will never go to Saudi Arabia.

       

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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    The Terrorists Win

    ...Again

    CBMHB

     

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      Prashanth (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:29am

      Re: The Terrorists Win

      Certainly. Anytime we cave in to "threats" by implementing evermore draconian laws on our own otherwise law-abiding citizens, the terrorists have successfully instilled terror in the citizenry (of which of course government officials will take advantage).
      Furthermore, as someone born to Indian parents, I also fear for this new rule because of the recent spate of violence against people of Indian descent in Australia that has often been willfully ignored by the officials; as a lot of Indian people probably look like "terrorists", this sort of harassment (often violent) will now effectively be officially condoned. Truly sickening.

       

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        Big Al, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

        Re: Re: The Terrorists Win

        The 'recent spate of violence' is statistically no greater for Indians than any other other ethnic group (including the locals) - but the Indian press doesn't become hysterical when an anglo-australian is stabbed by a lebanese-australian or vice-versa.
        And I noticed there was no retraction after the Melbourne incident when the 'racist' convicted of attacking an Indian (which was initially well reported in the Indian press) turned out to be another Indian - but that doesn't sell papers.

         

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        TechNoFear (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 12:10am

        Re: Re: The Terrorists Win

        "Furthermore, as someone born to Indian parents, I also fear for this new rule because of the recent spate of violence against people of Indian descent in Australia that has often been willfully ignored by the officials; as a lot of Indian people probably look like "terrorists", this sort of harassment (often violent) will now effectively be officially condoned. Truly sickening."

        Much of this is an Indian media beat up (similar to the Australian media beat up of the Commonwealth Games).

        Did the Indian media mention these murders of Indian nationals?

        Did the Indian media report that all were later found to be committed by Indians nationals?

        Jyoti Mehta and Ujalla Dinesh murdered 5 March 2008 by Indian national.
        Ranjodh Singh murdered December 29 2009 by another 2 Indian nationals.
        Navdeep and Kawaldeep Singh murdered February 11 2010 by another Indian national.
        Gurshan Singh Channa murdered 3rd March 2010 by Indian national.

         

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    Mr Big Content, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    For Those Who Disagree With This Law ...

    ... we have to wonder where their loyalties lie.

     

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    Paul Hobbs (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    It's a slippery slope...

    From "A Man for All Seasons"

    Sir Thomas More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

    More: And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's, and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

     

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    marak (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Great so when me and my mates stand outside the city loop stations handing out flyers about how to get around the new filter, their going to call me a terrorist :s

    remember folks you heard it here first, im not a damn terrorist!

    And fentex, yeah we dont have one, damnit.

    Whats my country coming to, warrentless search's, a badly designed NBN with a mandatory filter that reduces speed and a blacklist thats mostly grey :S

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Well at least is better than Brazil, the police there do whatever they want and have no procedures apparently, the same happens in Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and some other places. But hey if you ask authorities they always say the country is a country of laws LoL

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Interesting...

    Didn't we do the same thing with the Patriot Act? Well, maybe not the search warrant thing, but being held without due process (Go Straight to GITMO, do not collect $200) if you are a terrorist suspect? Why are we surprised that other countries are following our example of screwing innocence in order to 'thwart evil'?

     

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    darryl, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    Very little violence in Australia - but some, and sickening yes..

    Yes, the US has done much worse that Australia in this area, especially with the Patriot Act.

    And yes Australia does have a written constitution..

    http://australianpolitics.com/constitution/text/overview

    @Prashanth

    There has been a SMALL number of incidents, and not only Indian people, but all races.. I dont condone it, nor does the Government, nor are they ignoring it.

    But it is an issue, and is being addressed, and it is sickening.. But you will not find a friendlier country to visit and learn from..

    Very low crime rates, almost not gun related crimes, or deaths, little Government intervention and an electrial system that does not create a lame duck every 2 years, and that cannot see more than 2 years into the future..

    Who think "tax cuts and increase spending" will work !!

    Ive been to the US several times, and ive found the people there to be very nice, and friendly. But your political system !!! thats another story alltogether..

    You're gone so far away from the "free and lucky" country, that I dont even think you can remember what that was like !!..

    Australia is still much more free and lucky and safer.. IMHO

     

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    MrWilson, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Being a cop with this mentality that everyone is a potential terrorist reminds me of every alien, shapeshifter, body snatcher, etc horror/sci-fi/action movie I've ever seen.

    If you think everyone is a potential threat, at some point you realize for your own safety that you should just start shooting everybody and nuke the place from orbit.

     

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