Highly respected Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said out the thing on everyone’s mind, which I reckon won’t win approval for him from Prime Minister Howard. However, Keelty has bucked Howard before, not deliberately of course, but in the course of speaking the plain truth.
Keelty is disappointed that the racial violence in Sydney will set back the new anti-terrorism laws, because the Arab minorities would view it with even greater distrust, as something that may be used against them. This will make the work of his officers even more difficult.
Note I underlined "even greater distrust" because the Aussie Muslim community has fearfully viewed Australia's new anti-terorrist laws as a Sword of Damocles. Unfortunately Prime Minister Howard has a reputation of having staff who provided advice on threats that were subsequently found to be either false, exaggerated or even creative - eg. the Children Overboard case, otherwise known as Truth Overboard.
There have been other such cases which haven't lent confidence to the Aussie Muslims that the new anti-terrorist laws are really needed, and not something that would be used against them when it suits a political situation.
Keelty believes that it is essential for the police to build bridges with young Muslims who are already feeling targeted by the new anti-terror laws. He stated:
"The basis for our progress in terms of the security environment will be ameliorating any of the differences with the next generations around the country. There's a lot of concern about the new legislation, a lot of concern about how the police will apply the new legislation and we need to demonstrate from the policing perspective that it will be enacted upon appropriately.”
“But we need the trust of the community, and at the moment that trust will be very challenging in an environment if that is allowed to go unabated. I'm not saying that anyone's at fault here, what I'm saying is that all of us need to realise that our country is a much better place than this behaviour demonstrates."
Yes, Mr Keelty, you are right again.