After Nine Eleven 2001: politics, law and Australian democracy
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:12 by Michael Gerard Crowley
This research combines aspects of politics and law. The focus is on the political and legislative responses by the Australian Parliament to the terrorist attacks in the United States of America on 11 September 2001. These responses were driven, among other things, by power, politics, fear and Australia’s close association with the United States of America. The research was informed by interview responses from a number of parliamentarians sitting in Federal Parliament in the years 2001–4. A focus on the political and legislative responses recognises the significance that politics, including party politics, plays in Parliament when enacting important and contentious legislation. Interview responses highlight the dominant role the office of prime minister played in Australia’s legislative responses. Other outcomes from interviews include the narrowing of community representation in Parliament, the role of fear in political decision-making and a belief that the Parliament was expected to act decisively to protect Australians. The political and legislative responses to terrorism in Australia are underpinned by history and philosophy, with the research being guided by the distinct but equally useful perspectives of Camus’ analysis of rebellion and Luhmann’s social systems theory, combined with interviews of parliamentarians. These interviews had a foundation in Emy’s earlier interviews and analysis of members of Parliament. This approach provided a strong base on which to analyse and discuss Australia’s response to the events of 9/11. Trends and future risks to Australia’s democracy are identified and discussed. A series of papers provide an in-depth discussion and analysis of selected issues, including the Australian–American alliance, the use of secret evidence and closed courts, how and why cogent punishments were handed out to persons convicted in Australia under the new terrorism offences, the impact of terrorism on corporate governance and collateral uses of terrorism legislation by the Government. A common theme emerging from the research is the influence a charged national security environment has in a democracy when conflicts arise over individual versus state rights.