Melissa Parke was the only major party MP to speak out against the new national security laws.
Quixotic, perhaps, but worth noting and honouring.
So far the debate on this issue has occurred within a frame that posits a direct relationship between, on the one hand, safety and civility in our everyday lives and, on the other, the powers that impinge upon and make incursions into individual freedom.
If we want to continue our lives free from terrorism and orchestrated violence – so the argument goes – we have to accept shifting the balance between freedom and constraint away from the observance of basic rights and towards greater surveillance, more interference, deeper silence.
Let me say that no one should be fooled into believing it is as simple as that.
The truth is that the remarkable peace, harmony, and security we enjoy in Australia is in fact produced and sustained by our collective observance of freedoms and human rights, rather than existing in spite of such values and conditions.
It is wrong to say that we have been complacent about security on two counts.
First, because we have strong, well-resourced, and competent security agencies, and second because our commitment to a way of life that puts faith in freedom, respect and tolerance, that puts faith in democracy and the rule of law, is itself productive of peace and shared security.
It’s amusing, if a little depressing, to ponder what pressing issue Shorten and co might have had in mind when they decided to waive this abomination through so as to keep their “obstructionist” powder dry.