Brigitte and the French Connection: Security Carte Blanche Or A La Carte?

Greg Carne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The October 2003 deportation of French terror suspect Willy Brigitte highlights the legal and political usages of recently conferred and controversial counter-terrorism detention and questioning laws. This article explores the executive contention upon a comparison with the French system, Australian detention and questioning powers require significant expansion. Executive usages of the Brigitte incident in response to terrorism display alarming trends steadily eroding rule of law principles and undermining the institutions and practices of Australian democracy. The article analyses ASIO detention and questioning powers and subsequent and possible expansions. It demonstrates that the constant review, re-working and revisiting of those powers is a more overt politicisation of counter-terrorism responses, employs executive mandated review at the expense of more measured, deliberative and democratic practice and leads to the attrition of rights as the legislation's "balance " is continually contested. The indefinite nature of the terrorism threat and the restraint on such responses as political only, in the absence of a bill of rights, makes these developments of real concern. The article argues, through several illustrations, that claims for expanded detention and questioning powers have been inappropriately presented. The article concludes that there is neither a rational nor substantiated case for the claim to loosen constraints on already unprecedented counter-terrorism detention and questioning powers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-619
JournalDeakin Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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