Somebody please explain to Mike Burgess what an old phrase means
AT Friday’s hearings of the parliamentary inquiry examining proposed amendments that would allow ASIO to interrogate minors as young as 14 and attach tracking devices to cars without a warrant, David Neal for the Law Council of Australia riled Australia’s top spy by comparing such powers to those being used to crush dissent in Hong Kong. In fact, Neal argued the proposed laws – which would enable spies to question those suspected of planning politically motivated violence – could be broader in scope than Communist China’s. ASIO’s Director-General Mike Burgess replied that he was “actually offended by that statement.” Furthermore…
More properly, what’s “beyond the pale” here is an ultra vires novelty that is contrary to the rule of law as it is understood and administered in every other place and situation within the borders of the Commonwealth. It is precisely because Australia is not Communist China that what Burgess calls “our bill” may in fact be worse, all ethical and historical things considered. But Neal wasn’t finished with the D-G just yet. His next plucked-from-the-headlines comparison was either proof of the Law Council’s fashionable leftist stupidity or a deft ambush that commits ASIO to an exceedingly odd detachment from real – as distinct from hypothesised – terrorism:
I’m not sure why Neal thinks it would be especially worrying that ASIO might question local BLM organisers. They were, after all, responsible for the most egregiously life-endangering series of offences this century – or were politicians and health ‘experts’ lying about the epidemiological consequences of their actions? Why would BLM protesters – who have a track record overseas for assault, murder, rape and anti-social terrorism – not be on the radar of national security agencies? Also: why does ASIO want powers to supposedly head off violence when its boss says he has no interest in political movements unless and until there is violence? Well played, Dr Neal – I think. Clever lawyering or not, the Law Council was still pandering to the left in order to make a moral case that should be made by reference to unfashionable people and causes – not just tony ones like Black Lives Matter. That is the real essence of this discussion but I get the feeling that none of these people can get beyond ideological gamesmanship to even recognise it.