The Guardian 16 March, 2005

Act now to review ASIO laws

The Federal Government is reviewing some parts of the anti-terrorism legislation it introduced three years ago. In particular, the powers ASIO has to detain people that are not even suspected of being involved in terrorist activities for seven days.

You can make a submission that will have an impact on this legislation; but you must move quickly. Making a submission is as easy as putting your thoughts in an e-mail or a fax. If you are unsure what to write, check out last week's Guardian or the websites listed below.

When the anti-terrorism legislation was first introduced in 2002, it granted the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) certain powers. These powers were very far-reaching. They include:

  • The power to detain a person for up to 7 days. You don't have to be suspected of being involved in terrorism. You can be detained simply because ASIO thinks you might know something.

  • The power to question a person for up to 48 hours if they need an interpreter (24 without an interpreter).

    When the legislation was introduced, a review of the legislation was built in to the laws to occur in 2005. They are occurring now.

    Civil rights organisations are working to encourage people to make submissions to a review of the powers granted to ASIO. The review is being conducted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD (PJCAAD). Submissions do not need to be long or formal.

    Act now! Make a submission by 24 March by e-mail, fax or letter to:

    Committee Secretary
    Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD
    Parliament House
    Phone: 02 6277 2360
    Fax: 02 6277 2067

    For more information and help with making submissions go to or

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