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Globe and Mail

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Nazi tones in Howard's anti-terror laws: Fraser

FORMER Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser has suggested parts of the Howard Government's anti-terror package resemble measures taken by Adolf Hitler and says Kim Beazley's handling of opposition to the package should determine his leadership.

Mr Fraser said he hoped a High Court challenge would be mounted to the terror deal, if and when it was enacted, and said both the presumption of innocence and the right to silence were being challenged by what his former treasurer John Howard was proposing.

"Some of this legislation is truly terrible," he said. "Some of the analogies ... one of the first pieces of legislation Hitler's government put into place was something for 'the good order and safety' of the citizens of Germany: preventive detention ...

"Some parts of the [Australian] legislation sound horribly familiar."

He added preventive detention, under which suspects could not contact their families nor their employers, "seems effectively to be a law to make somebody disappear". "I think that's an odd law for a country like Australia," Mr Fraser said.

He believed the laws as proposed would make Australia more dangerous, diverting police from "what they ought to be doing".

Mr Fraser said Mr Beazley had done nothing to slow down the Government's package. He said the Labor Leader "ought to get roasted by his own party" and praised the "eloquently" made stance of Caucus dissident Carmen Lawrence.

Of Mr Beazley's stance, of ultimate support of the Government's package passing, Mr Fraser said, "Obviously, as a total outsider, I would have thought this would be a defining moment [deciding] if Kim Beazley's leadership continues to go downhill.

"He did it unilaterally, without discussion, and in a way that would be anathema to a lot of people in his own party, if not the majority."

Mr Fraser said the Premiers had been panicked "by a couple of skilful briefings" by security services to support Mr Howard's position on the contention the new laws would have prevented the London bombing in July, a position that was "totally misleading and untrue".

He praised ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope for putting a draft of the proposed laws on his web site, allowing public debate.

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