Australia Says No Warrants Necessary If Law Enforcement Thinks You're A Terrorist

from the well-isn't-that-nice dept

chillienet alerts us to some new rules for law enforcement regarding private searches down in Australia. Apparently as long as police think you just might be a terrorist, they no longer need to get a search warrant. I’m sure that won’t be abused at all… The whole point of requiring warrants is to avoid abuse. Taking away that check almost guarantees that the powers will be seriously abused.

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Comments on “Australia Says No Warrants Necessary If Law Enforcement Thinks You're A Terrorist”

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Reminds me of a case that ended up in front of the United States Supreme Court a while back. (Can’t remember the name of it, unfortunately, but I’m sure a bit of Googling would turn it up.) What happened was, a police officer asked someone for permission to frisk him, and the person refused. The cop then said that only a person with something to hide would refuse to be frisked and that that therefore gave him probable cause to frisk the person. He did and found some contraband. The guy appealed his conviction, and the process went all the way to the top.

SCOTUS ruled that refusal to submit to a search cannot be used as probable cause for a search because that would be functionally equivalent to having no protection at all against being searched; i.e., you’d have to allow the police to search you anytime they wanted to without a warrant, so the guy’s conviction was voided. Let’s hope that Australian courts have the same sense when this inevitably ends up in front of them as well.



As Australia has no written Constitution the theory constitutional protections will prevent enaction of this law are possibly ill placed.

But perhaps not entirely, common law and possibly other extant legislation may still provide for over-ruling application of this law.

Where I live, New Zealand, we have a Bill of Rights but it isn’t binding on parliament – just advisory. We have not subsumed parliaments soveriegnity to it as yet (I suspect we may, perhaps when we become a republic).

In many ways Australia and our constitutioal arrangmenets are similar, but I’ve no idea if Australia has done anything in recent decades to adopt something like a Bill of Rights.

Big Alsays:

Re: Re: Re: Bill of Rights

A couple of states (ACT and Vic I think) have a bill of rights but, like the NZ model, I believe they are non-binding. They are also, in a few cases, turning out to be a real lawyer’s feast.
I think we as a country will only accept a Bill of Rights if it comes with a corresponding Bill of Responsibilities…


It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

You think that is bad !!!, also (here in Australia), if you do get one of those search warrents, you are not allowed to tell anyone you got one.

Thats right, not your lawyer, not your family, not the press..

But that has been around for awile, and it has been here since before the present Government.

Oh yes, you also dont get to know the subject of the warrent, or who issued it.

So if someone “just says” they saw you doing something, they can get a warrant off a court, detain you, search you and your property. And you are not informed why, or on what charges you are being searched.

we’ve had it for years, and its hard to see how much abuse is done, as it is not allowed to be public..


Re: Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

You’re… not… allowed… to… tell… your… lawyer… you have been served with a search warrant? Isn’t that the same as denying a suspect a lawyer? Or is that not a right down under? So I get hauled in, do I not get to call him? Or if I do, what do we talk about? The weather? Oh, I get it, if I’ve been hauled in for possession, that’d be after the warrant… or…?


Re: Re: Re: Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

Reminds me of this story about another “not being allowed to talk to a lawyer” because of National Security Letters, , issued by the FBI.

Target of FBI gag order free to speak after 6 years

“These letters not only require that information be handed over without a warrant but also impose a gag order on the recipient to prevent them from even revealing that the request has been made”

Big Alsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

Yes, you do get to contact your lawyer after you’ve been arrested – but the lawyer can’t tell anyone what they’re working on, you can’t tell anyone and the whole thing works in an information vacuum.
You can’t even let your immediate family know what’s going on!


Re: Re: It gets better than that, and we've had it for years...

I almost cannot believe that! Aussie police can just slap handcuffs on you and don’t have to say why? Anyone else here, please say otherwise, please say this guy is lying. Otherwise, I’ll choose never to go to Australia, my decision having been influenced on the judicial system; by the same rationale, I will never go to Saudi Arabia.

Re: Re: The Terrorists Win

Certainly. Anytime we cave in to “threats” by implementing evermore draconian laws on our own otherwise law-abiding citizens, the terrorists have successfully instilled terror in the citizenry (of which of course government officials will take advantage).
Furthermore, as someone born to Indian parents, I also fear for this new rule because of the recent spate of violence against people of Indian descent in Australia that has often been willfully ignored by the officials; as a lot of Indian people probably look like “terrorists”, this sort of harassment (often violent) will now effectively be officially condoned. Truly sickening.

Big Alsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: The Terrorists Win

The ‘recent spate of violence’ is statistically no greater for Indians than any other other ethnic group (including the locals) – but the Indian press doesn’t become hysterical when an anglo-australian is stabbed by a lebanese-australian or vice-versa.
And I noticed there was no retraction after the Melbourne incident when the ‘racist’ convicted of attacking an Indian (which was initially well reported in the Indian press) turned out to be another Indian – but that doesn’t sell papers.


Re: Re: Re: Re: The Terrorists Win

“Furthermore, as someone born to Indian parents, I also fear for this new rule because of the recent spate of violence against people of Indian descent in Australia that has often been willfully ignored by the officials; as a lot of Indian people probably look like “terrorists”, this sort of harassment (often violent) will now effectively be officially condoned. Truly sickening.”

Much of this is an Indian media beat up (similar to the Australian media beat up of the Commonwealth Games).

Did the Indian media mention these murders of Indian nationals?

Did the Indian media report that all were later found to be committed by Indians nationals?

Jyoti Mehta and Ujalla Dinesh murdered 5 March 2008 by Indian national.
Ranjodh Singh murdered December 29 2009 by another 2 Indian nationals.
Navdeep and Kawaldeep Singh murdered February 11 2010 by another Indian national.
Gurshan Singh Channa murdered 3rd March 2010 by Indian national.

Paul Hobbssays:

It's a slippery slope...

From “A Man for All Seasons”

Sir Thomas More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

More: And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!


Great so when me and my mates stand outside the city loop stations handing out flyers about how to get around the new filter, their going to call me a terrorist :s

remember folks you heard it here first, im not a damn terrorist!

And fentex, yeah we dont have one, damnit.

Whats my country coming to, warrentless search’s, a badly designed NBN with a mandatory filter that reduces speed and a blacklist thats mostly grey :S


Very little violence in Australia - but some, and sickening yes..

Yes, the US has done much worse that Australia in this area, especially with the Patriot Act.

And yes Australia does have a written constitution..


There has been a SMALL number of incidents, and not only Indian people, but all races.. I dont condone it, nor does the Government, nor are they ignoring it.

But it is an issue, and is being addressed, and it is sickening.. But you will not find a friendlier country to visit and learn from..

Very low crime rates, almost not gun related crimes, or deaths, little Government intervention and an electrial system that does not create a lame duck every 2 years, and that cannot see more than 2 years into the future..

Who think “tax cuts and increase spending” will work !!

Ive been to the US several times, and ive found the people there to be very nice, and friendly. But your political system !!! thats another story alltogether..

You’re gone so far away from the “free and lucky” country, that I dont even think you can remember what that was like !!..

Australia is still much more free and lucky and safer.. IMHO

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