Terror laws the target

By UTE SCHULENBERG

"THE proposed anti-terrorism laws will fundamentally change the nature of our civil society because they go right to the heart of people's right to say what they want to in public."

This was the warning Richard Hil conveyed to the crowd of more than 60 people who gathered in Bellingen on Wednesday to express their growing unease with the Howard Government's proposed anti-terrorist legislation.

Mr Hil is a senior lecturer with the School of Social Sciences at Southern Cross University. He said people were particularly concerned about the sections on sedition, control orders and detention without trial for 14 days.

Geoff Mould from Toormina, said he had played sport (baseball) and coached (rugby) for Australia but felt like 'throwing my blazers in the fire', so disgusted was he with the path this country was heading down.

"We are heading down the road of a fascist state, yet so many people are uninterested," Mr Mould said. "There is no decent bloody opposition, so we have to do it ourselves."

Those wanting more information about the laws were directed to websites: crikey.com, Rights Australia and Amnesty International.

Bellingen resident Dorothy Pollard said the Howard Government had effectively frightened people and made them glad to see the government introducing the 'big guns'.

"What they don't realise is that the big guns will restrict everyone's freedom," she said.

The meeting agreed on the need for action to clearly state their opposition and:

To draft a letter to be sent to politicians and media out- lets.

To get legal advice to help focus the nature of any action.

To meet again at the Bellingen Organic Markets, 11am to- day.



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