Thursday, June 30, 2005

Anti-Terrorism Funny Laws

So one of the things I'd miss is ABC TV's programs, especially those like Media Watch. Just love that program. Hopefully, I can still catch some of it online. I think what Singapore needs is exactly the sort of public service function that the ABC, BBC, PBS, C-Span et al. provide. Reasonably free and independent media. In thirty years, maybe... Tonight's short skit on the 7:30 Report is way funny. (Video, source)
INTERVIEWER: Mr Ruddock, than for your time. PHILIP RUDDOCK [Attorney-General]: A very good evening to you, Bryan. INTERVIEWER: I wonder if I could ask you about this new legislation that's coming in. PHILIP RUDDOCK: Yes, this is the anti-terrorist legislation? INTERVIEWER: Yeah. PHILIP RUDDOCK: Yes, that legislation has been on the books for some time. INTERVIEWER: These are amendments, aren't they? PHILIP RUDDOCK: We are bringing in some amendments, yes. INTERVIEWER: And what is the purpose of them? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, we will be giving the authorities certain powers, Bryan, the better to defend Australia from terrorism. INTERVIEWER: What sort of powers, exactly? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, they'll be able to enter premises, for example, where they think there might be terrorist activity. INTERVIEWER: And arrest people? PHILIP RUDDOCK: And arrest people, we hope they will, yes. INTERVIEWER: And what will they arrest them for? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, they might, for example, think they know something. INTERVIEWER: Know what? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Something maybe they shouldn't know, Bryan. INTERVIEWER: Well, what sort of thing? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, that's not specified in the legislation. This would be a matter for them. INTERVIEWER: So, they could arrest me? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Theoretically, Bryan, yes, if they thought you perhaps knew something. INTERVIEWER: What sort of thing would I know? PHILIP RUDDOCK: As I say, Bryan, this is not specified in the legislation. This would be a matter for them. INTERVIEWER: But, Mr Ruddock, how do I establish my innocence here? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Well, you wouldn't be innocent, Bryan, if you were being arrested, would you? They are not going to arrest you if you are innocent. They're not fools, these people. INTERVIEWER: How do I get out of this? PHILIP RUDDOCK: You'd have to establish, if you wanted to, Bryan, that perhaps the thing that they thought you knew you don't know. INTERVIEWER: How do I do that? PHILIP RUDDOCK: I have no idea, Bryan. That's not my problem. INTERVIEWER: But I would have to prove that I didn't know it. PHILIP RUDDOCK: That's it. INTERVIEWER: But hang on, isn't that the opposite of the presumption of innocence? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Bryan, this is not a normal situation. INTERVIEWER: Well, in what way isn't it a normal situation, Mr Ruddock? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Someone has come into your house, Bryan, and arrested you because they think you might know something. INTERVIEWER: Yes, and it's up to me and I have to prove that I don't know it. PHILIP RUDDOCK: That's correct. It's not a normal situation. INTERVIEWER: Well, do they tell me what it is that I don't know? PHILIP RUDDOCK: No, they're not going to tell you what it is. INTERVIEWER: Why not? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Bryan, if I came into your house and arrested you because I thought you might know something, I wouldn't be able to tell you what it is without impeding your capacity to argue that you didn't know what it was. INTERVIEWER: Well, perhaps you should, perhaps you should hold off arresting them until you tell them, Mr Ruddock. PHILIP RUDDOCK: We don't want them to know. We're not going to tell them, Bryan. INTERVIEWER: But if you don't tell them what it is, how can they possibly argue that they didn't know it? They don't know what it is, Mr Ruddock. PHILIP RUDDOCK: That's right. I think you'll find we've got them there, Bryan. I don't think they've got a leg to stand on, myself, and they deserve everything they've got coming. INTERVIEWER: When is this legislation coming in? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Oh, after 1 July, when we don't have to trouble the scorer much. INTERVIEWER: And you wrote this? PHILIP RUDDOCK: I'm not alone, Bryan. There were several of us there. INTERVIEWER: Who? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Oh, there was me, Lewis Carroll, a bloke called Esher from South Australia. A few of us. INTERVIEWER: Do you know what I think of this legislation, Mr Ruddock? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Be a bit careful here, Bryan. INTERVIEWER: Do you know what I think of this legislation? PHILIP RUDDOCK: Be a bit careful what you say. ANNOUNCER: Bryan Dawe, to the front desk, please. There are some gentlemen here to see you. PHILIP RUDDOCK: Don't look at me, Bryan. You got yourself into it.

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