In which our intrepid hero puts his two cents in on the upcoming battle for the seat of Auburn.

I generally try not to blog on the same subjects as my friend, Adam, but I do make exceptions from time to time. This is one of those exceptions.

Consider this commentary upon commentary upon commentary, if you will: see Adam’s post on Mamdouh Habib‘s bid for NSW Parliament. (Caution: the Wikipedia link is of disputed neutrality.)

Back? Good. I agree with most of what Adam has to say on the matter, although I don’t believe that his run for the seat of Auburn will do much to affect his public image as a “terrorist”.

The Federal Government’s hamfisted handling of Habib after his return to Australia did a great deal to cleanse his public image. Personally, I lean towards the official version of events surrounding Habib; however, he was never formally charged (let alone convicted), so under law should be entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Although David Hicks‘ case is much higher-profile, many people still believe that Habib was singled out for unfair treatment by US and Australian authorities. He may well get a share of the protest vote in this election, then: a lightning-rod for anti-Liberal, anti-Labor sentiment.

However, the “lingering ‘smell’ of terrorism” (to use Adam’s words) still hangs heavy over Habib, especially considering his comments to media on Friday:

Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with an upside down American flag and “Terrorism: the systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal”, Mr Habib said the activities that led to his Guantanamo Bay detention were none of the electorate’s business.

“The community have nothing to do with Afghanistan. We’re here in Australia. Afghanistan is far away,” he said.

I beg to differ: were I one of Habib’s potential constituents (or for that matter, living in the state in which he seeks public office, as I do), I’d be seriously concerned at the possibility that Habib represents interests antithetical to the values of freedom, tolerance, equity and the rule of common law.

It’s time for both sides—Habib and the Government—to come clean on his history. The electorate deserves full disclosure of the matter before going to the polls.

Habib has a democratic right to run for office—and good on him for putting his hand up—but he’s unworthy of election if he can’t even be bothered to pretend honesty about his past, and whatever security risks he may yet present.

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