The Idea Of Secret Tribunals And "Internment" Is Slowly Becoming Mainstreamed
"If you call it internment it attracts the opprobrium that internment has as an historical fact."
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is the latest prominent Australian calling for the reintroduction of the policy of "internment".
Hanson wrote to the prime minister on Wednesday calling for deportation or internment for those people on the security agencies' "terror watch list", in the wake of the Melbourne attack involving a Somali refugee who had been granted parole.
Internment is a policy of detaining a particular group of people for political reasons and is often justified by safety concerns.
The idea of "interning" citizens has a controversial history in Australia, with thousands of Germans, Italians and Japanese detained in internment camps during World War II.
"Stronger action needs to be taken on migrants and refugees who come to the attention of Australian security forces," Hanson wrote.
"Those on watch lists who are not Australian citizens need to be deported and those who are, interned to neutralise their possible harm to this country."
The idea of internment is being debated following a recent op-ed written by former Australian army general Jim Molan.
Molan is credited as the architect behind Australia's "stop the boats" immigration policy. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Molan suggested a "design" for detaining those on the terror watch list, which involved secret tribunals.
"We put the case to detain that person to a tribunal perhaps that is briefed into the highest classified level of intelligence, and that fellow could then be detained if they decide that is the case," Molan said.
"Two things occur if he's detained – and he's maybe detained for a week, for a month, for three months, for six months, the tribunal would decide that. What is achieved is that the chain of events that lead to a terror attack could immediately be broken.
"If he was a person who was going to go down the route of radicalisation, that's immediately broken. Secondly, we protect ourselves and we protect the young kid that may have been starting on a bad route."
When BuzzFeed News suggested that what was being described was "internment for 2017", Molan conceded the word had "a smell you can't jump over".
"I acknowledge in the article that the word internment has an appalling name, has an appalling back story to it," he said.
"I believe it is detention without trial, based on a lower standard of proof of evidence. If you call it internment it attracts the opprobrium that internment has as an historical fact."
Molan's idea has also now been debated on popular breakfast TV show Sunrise, with radio host Ben Davis supporting the idea.
"We need to get some skin in the game here," Davis told Sunrise host Sam Armytage. "And when you get some skin in the game, sometimes you get a grazed knee.
"I'm happy to get the grazed knee."
Sunrise commentator Prue MacSween tweeted that everyone on the terror watch list should be "interned", arguing that "we are at war".
Sunrise co-host David Koch said those on the watch lists should be "presumed guilty until they prove their innocence".
There is no actual terror "watch list" in Australia. ASIO chief Duncan Lewis recently confirmed the spy organisation is closely monitoring up to 400 people, but that does not mean they are being watched 24/7.
The idea of "internment" was put forward on Fox News by Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins yesterday. One host responded later by telling viewers the TV network found it "reprehensible".
“Earlier on the show, we had a couple of guests mention the word internment, the idea of internment camps, as a possible solution to this," host Clayton Morris said.
“I think I made it well known my feeling on that, which I find reprehensible, but on behalf of the network, I think all of us here find that idea reprehensible here at Fox News Channel."