More power in Dutton's hands


The courageous government whistleblower known only as Witness K is being prosecuted in a secret closed trial – along with his lawyer!1

And on the front pages, the General in charge of Australia's special forces acknowledged the commission and cover up of war crimes2  a cover up exposed by ABC journalists who had their offices raided by federal police for doing their job.

Far too much is happening behind closed doors in this country. But Peter Dutton wants to make it worse, passing a new law that removes judicial oversight from his spy agencies and fundamental legal protections from those they target, including journalists.3

If enough of us chip in, we can get a team of top-tier barristers on the case, digging into Dutton's Law and whether it can be challenged on constitutional grounds. Exposing the authoritarian threats can also help convince Labor and the crossbench to stop it in its tracks.

A public hearing on Dutton's Law is just weeks away. So we need to act fast to expose the threats it presents to a free and fearless press and our own civil liberties.

Can you chip in $12 to the campaign to stop Dutton's Law, including funding a team of constitutional lawyers and experts?

What would change under Dutton's Law?

Independent judicial oversight is one of our only protections against the Government's powers to spy on us. But Dutton's Law would could see people tracked without a warrant, including journalists exposing government wrongdoing.

The ASIO spy agency could also limit who you can choose to represent you, or remove a lawyer from an interrogation for being "disruptive" (whatever that means). If you don't think they'll go that far, remember Witness K's lawyer Bernard Collaery is being prosecuted right now for representing his client.

In fact, ASIO has a history of using its spy powers on civil society, having surveilled First Nations activists, feminist Dr Anne Summers, former High Court Justice Michael Kirby and peaceful anti-coal protesters.4,5,6

We can't afford to let these authoritarian changes to the ASIO Act pass. We need to explore every legal pathway possible to stop Dutton's Law. And fast.

Can you chip in $12 to expose and stop the authoritarian threat of Dutton's Law?

The Australian Law Council, lawyers and experts have already called Dutton's Law "invasive" and "rushed".7

If enough of us chip in, we'll get top barristers and constitutional experts on the case in time for public hearings in a few weeks time. We'll use that as the basis of our public appeal to key politicians to put a stop to Dutton's Law.

If the worst happens and Dutton's Law passes, the legal analysis will also lay the groundwork for legal challenges and help to arm journalists and civil society with the best protection from the misuse of government power.

Let's make sure it doesn't come to that, by acting now to expose the threat of Dutton's law to parliament in time for public hearings.

Chip in $12 to help defend our democracy today.

In determination,

Renaire, Naz and Anisha for the GetUp team

PS - If you haven't heard about it, Witness K pursued legal channels to expose the illegal bugging of Timor-Leste Government negotiators by the Howard Government. The information gathered was used to swindle oil and gas rights from one of the world's poorest nations. If Dutton's Law passes it will be even harder for journalists and whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing – allowing the government to act with impunity. Chip in now to help defend our Democracy from Dutton's Law.

[1] Coalition spends $2m on prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K, even before trial, ABC, 25 June 2020.
[2] Special forces chief acknowledges war crimes, blames 'poor moral leadership', SMH, 28 June 2020.
[3] Asio could question children and more easily use more tracking devices under new powers, The Guardian, 13 May 2020.
[4] Social activist Faith Bandler, once an ASIO target, farewelled in state funeral, SMH, 24 February 2015.
[5] Dirty Secretes: Our ASIO files, M. Burgmann, 1 May 2014.
[6] ASIO 'spying' on activists strains Greens alliance, SMH, 12 April 2012.
[7] Legal bodies concerned by Peter Dutton bill allowing Australian spies to question 14-year-olds, SBS, 13 May 2020.
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GetUp! Australia :
PO Box A105, Sydney South, NSW, 1235, Australia Wide
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