Police Powers Ride Roughshod Over Privacy

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) condemns Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent strongman posturing on the proposed authoritarian expansions of police powers to invade the privacy of ordinary citizens.

“The Prime Minister’s comments are simply not in line with the average Australian’s expectations that the government will leave them alone without good reason to interfere in their lives, and completely distort the realities of the Australian government’s role in Operation Ironside” said Gabe Buckley, Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.

“It was revealed days ago that Australia was only invited to participate as a result of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation being unable to carry out such gross violations of privacy on home soil. Yet here we have the Prime Minister flexing his muscles in an attempt to use Australia’s already woeful privacy and human rights protections as a reason to further erode the right of law-abiding citizens to go about their business in peace”

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance also expressed concerns that the Prime Minister’s comments were made so soon after the revelation that Western Australian police had been covertly accessing Covid19 check-in data despite assurances that access would be limited to relevant health-department personnel.

“Hard-working Australians are already reeling from the heavy-handed government response to the Covid19 pandemic” said Mr Buckley. “Their businesses have shut down, their jobs have evaporated and they have been threatened with everything up to imprisonment for not complying with every diktat issued by bureaucrats who operate safe in the knowledge that their taxpayer-funded livelihoods are under no threat. Now they are finding out that governments have been misleading them about their intentions from the start. If the police are so blasé about abusing the powers they already have, powers that reach well beyond those of the FBI, what sense does granting them further power make?”

The proposed legislation that particularly concerns the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020.

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance will continue to advocate for the rights of Australians to go about their business without fear of unwarranted surveillance by the state.

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