The Null Device
Witnesses said the laws were so wide they could be used to prosecute ACTU secretary Greg Combet for his remarks urging opposition to the new industrial laws, and could be applied to those who had supported resistance movements, including Fretilin in East Timor, and Nelson Mandela's African National Congress.
He predicted police investigations into normal crimes would "morph" into terrorism investigations because the new laws gave police such broad powers to search properties.One group that is not complaining about the new laws is the Australian Federal Police, who give their word that the laws would be used "judiciously and cautiously". Which presumably means that officers will only ride roughshod over civil rights when the party in question is a pinko/greeno ratbag, suspiciously dark-skinned, has a bad attitude, or is otherwise un-Australian. Welcome to Bjelkeland, Australians.
The new laws could effectively outlaw any form of dissent stronger than writing a politely-worded letter to one's MP. Of course, no-one expects Howard's secret police to round up all refugee-rights campaigners, Greens voters, socialists and trade unionists and send them to gulags in the far north. They won't need to; the real purpose will be the chilling effect achieved after a few troublemakers have been made examples of, when it is known that being too outspoken in the wrong way about our government, our Queen or our allies, associating with the wrong people, or even expressing general discontent in the wrong way, can be dangerous. This will drive those with anything to lose away from political activism, leaving only a hard core of cranks who can be easily ignored, much as in that beacon of meticulously managed civil society, Singapore.
You learn something new every day. Apparently, in England, it is illegal to sell anything that looks, smells or feels like a piece of fruit but isn't:
Novelty candles that look like strawberries or apples are a legal no-no, and shops that sell them can be heavily fined (up to £20,000) because of the danger of children eating them.I wonder if that's enforced, and whether you have the Fruit Squad raiding import shops in shabby high streets and seizing bunches of plastic grapes and such.
I guess this means you won't be seeing fruit-shaped fairy lights or banana-shaped mobile-phone cozies in England any time soon. It's a good thing that there's no law against selling things that look like sushi but aren't