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Symposium puts focus on Iraq and anti-terrorism legislation


Brigid Veale
20 October 2005
The casualties and devastation in Iraq and Australia's new anti-terrorism legislation will be the focus of a symposium hosted by Southern Cross University's Centre for Law, Politics and Culture at the Coffs Harbour campus on Wednesday, October 26.

Organiser Dr Richard Hil, a senior lecturer in SCU's School of Social Sciences, said the invasion of Iraq led by the United States and supported by Australia had left more than 100,000 Iraqis dead and many more injured.

"This Symposium has been organised to highlight the consequences of the war in Iraq and remind people what has happened there since the invasion in March 2003. It will also examine anti-terrorism legislation in Australia."

Guest speakers at the Symposium will include Dr Hil, Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, and Ross Daniels, lecturer in human rights at Queensland University of Technology and the former international chair of Amnesty International.

Dr Hil said on top of the enormous casualties in Iraq, the country's infrastructure had been destroyed and the environment degraded.

"There is ongoing political instability and insurgency and terrorism is increasing. It's not in the front pages anymore, but every single day there are car bombings and enormous casualties," Dr Hil said.

Mr Daniels said the Australia's new anti-terrorism legislation would have serious impacts, including the right to freedom of speech.

"It's utterly draconian what they are proposing. I can't see any evidence as to why the Federal Government is expanding this legislation given that it has 31 pieces of currently existing legislation and given that there has been no evidence of an immediate upgraded threat. What do they know that we don't know?" Mr Daniels said.

He said in addition to shoot-to-kill provisions, the legislation included the ability to remove the normal court process and allow people to be held in detention in secrecy.

Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, will be speaking about the civilian casualties in Iraq and the alternatives approaches to Iraq.

The Symposium is being held at the Coffs Harbour campus, Wednesday, October 26, D Block lecture theatre from 10am to 4.30pm.