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“While the Government must ensure that Australia’s national security arrangements are adequate, especially in the light of last year’s terrible terror attacks, it is essential that all such arrangements respect and protect human rights”, said Bishop William Morris, Acting Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council today.

“It is the experience of the Church that national security legislation in many countries in our region is often misused as a tool of oppression.  While we do not believe this to be the intention of the Australian Government’s counter terrorism legislative package, we do want to be sure that Australian national security legislation will not be open to such abuse.  For example, the definition of terrorism needs to be precise, and the right to freedom of association must be preserved”, he explained.

“To fight terrorism effectively, we must ensure that our methods respect and protect human rights and do not fall into the logic of ends justifying means, as this is the logic of terrorism itself.

“The open and public scrutiny of important legislation is essential.  We welcome the referral of the recently introduced counter terrorism Bills to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee for proper scrutiny”, he concluded.

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is the national justice, peace and human rights agency of the Catholic Church in Australia.  It is Mandated by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference to undertake research, education and advocacy on issues of social justice, development, and peace in Australia and internationally.