Maintaining Respect for Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the War on Terror: Lessons from Australia's Response to the Terrorist Threat
This paper will investigate the manner in which Australia has responded to the threat of terrorism and the implications of its response for maintaining a diverse and inclusive nation characterised by respect for diversity and tolerance of difference. It will do this by considering Australia’s anti-terrorism legislation and the role and performance of its law enforcement and security agencies in dealing with the terrorist threat. Focusing on two recent and high-profile anti-terrorism cases, the Haneef and ul-Haque cases, the paper will investigate whether and to what extent racial, ethnic and religious stereotypes have been a factor in the identification and treatment of terror suspects by the law enforcement and security agencies. It will also consider how Australia’s anti-terrorism legislation, and the over-arching political environment, has influenced the behaviour of these agencies in terrorism cases. Finally, the paper will investigate whether the Rudd Labor Government is likely to prosecute the war on terror differently from the conservative Coalition Government which it replaced at the Federal Election in November 2007 and the implications of any differences for the maintenance of a just, inclusive and diverse Australian society into the future.
Keywords: War on Terror, Terrorist Threat, Diversity and Difference, Australia, Anti-Terrorism Legislation, Law Enforcement and Security Agencies
Dr. Mark Rix
Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Business, University of Wollongong