My letter to David Feeney on his support for Iraq and ASIO laws

I sent the letter below to my local MP, David Feeney today by email.

I then forwarded it to Melissa Park MP with a short note thanking her for her work in challenging the Liberal government on their stance on Iraq.

Ms Park replied within 1 hour thanking me for my message.  I’ve yet to get a reply from Mr Feeney.

30 September 2014

Hon David Feeney MP

Member for Batman

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence

159 High  St

Preston, VIC, 3072

Dear Mr Feeney

I write to express my disappointment at the actions of you and your party in recent months.  As my representative in the Australian parliament and a senior member of the Federal Opposition, I have been very displeased at the lack of accountability you have brought to bear on the Liberal Government.

As a senior member of the Opposition, it is not your role simply to help your party be a “small target” and avoid criticism of being “soft on terror”.  You have an important role in our democracy to question the Government closely on statements and decisions which will affect real people’s lives.

At several points your leader Bill Shorten has made statements that matters of National Security are “above politics” – presumably as a way of explaining why his party was failing to provide proper scrutiny and criticism of government actions. This is not good enough.

The recent ASIO legislation, to which you and your party offered its unqualified support, is a shocking incursion on civil liberties of Australians.  The ability of ASIO to monitor the internet of all Australians with 1 warrant, and the draconian punishments for lawyers or journalists who challenge National Security matters is extremely concerning to me and many others.  Yet ALP backed it all the way – and you voted for it.  I am very unhappy about that.

I also believe that you have failed to provide proper opposition to the Government’s decision to offer a blank cheque of planes and personal with which to launch aerial attacks in Iraq.  In fact, your party refused to even allow this decision to be debated in the Australian Parliament – presumably so the ALP’s lack of scrutiny would not be exposed to the Australian people.  Again, this is worrying and anti-democratic move.

As the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence [*see below] it is your role to carefully and sceptically examine any case for war.  What are the reasons for offering such unqualified support, and why have you not spelt them out clearly?  Why aren’t you examining carefully the warmongering rhetoric of the Liberal Party, picking it apart offering an alternative vision?  Why aren’t you making Australians aware of the risks of military action in Iraq to Syria – especially the risk of Australian people and equipment being involved in the deaths of innocent civilians?  Why aren’t you exposing the lack of clarity in objectives shown by the latest “Coalition of the Willing”?

Instead, you have left this role to a backbencher in your party – Melissa Park MP – who has copped death threats for being brave enough to ask the questions that desperately need to be asked, while you remained silent.  She has shown you up Mr Feeney, and shown up the whole of ALP with her courage.

I do hope your performance and those of your party colleagues in Parliament will improve in these matters, I will be watching closely.

Yours Sincerely

Mark Tregonning



 Of course he is no longer a parliamentary secretary – I mistakenly got that from an old website.

Here are his current responsibilities: 

Shadow Minister for Justice
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Shadow Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence

The fact he has the Shad Min for Justice responsibility means it was his role to hold Brandis to account for the ASIO Terror Laws.

*I have made a few spelling & grammar corrections since I sent it to Mr Feeney.