Secret State, Transparent Subject: The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in the Age of Terror

(2005) 38(3) The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 400-415.

16 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2017

See all articles by Jude McCulloch

Jude McCulloch

Monash University

Joo-Cheong Tham

University of Melbourne

Date Written: February 10, 2017

Abstract

This article describes the secrecy provisions embodied in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment Act 2003 (Cwlth). The article explains how these provisions curb freedom of speech and remove ASIO’s activities from the domain of public scrutiny. It argues that by effectively criminalising open discussion of ASIO’s activities the provisions insulate much of the domestic ‘war on terror’ from the public gaze. It also argues that the provisions implicitly sanction lawlessness by ASIO in open breach of the rule of law. By undermining free speech and the rule of law, this legislation increases the risk of torture of persons detained by ASIO. The legislation also exacerbates the punitiveness of such detention. Moreover, the secrecy offences will distort Australian politics by enabling the government to control and manipulate ‘security’ information. The article concludes that the increase in state secrecy and its impact are part of a continuing shift in the relative distribution of power between state and subject in liberal democracies; a shift that signals a move to more repressive or authoritarian forms of rule.

Suggested Citation

McCulloch, Jude and Tham, Joo-Cheong, Secret State, Transparent Subject: The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in the Age of Terror (February 10, 2017). (2005) 38(3) The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 400-415.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2915345

Jude McCulloch

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Joo-Cheong Tham (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

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