Where's the fire? - Part One - The Centre for Independent Studies
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Where’s the fire? – Part One

According to a most intrusive and misguided piece of strata legislation, occupants in NSW units apparently do not have the right to install a security chain on their front doors, irrespective of need. This is to ensure that, in the unlikely event of a fire, residents do not have trouble with the simple task of slipping the chain off the latch. A deadlock, however, with its confusing and complicated mechanisms and the need for an easily misplaced key, is apparently quite safe. Huh?

This is yet another example of the nanny state and illogical bureaucracy intruding into so many areas of our lives. Fire prevention and safety laws are valuable, and undoubtedly have a place in society, but restricting the right of individuals to secure their home against intruders is a ridiculous and unnecessary bureaucratic invasion.

The destruction of Australian civil liberties might not yet rage with the intensity of a burning building, but is nonetheless quietly smouldering away. So what can we do about it?

On the other side of the world, in a heartening admission of the massive problems the United Kingdom faces with state interventionism and bossy-booting, a community consultation was launched in July by the David Cameron/Nick Clegg coalition. The initiative Your Freedom invites Britons to suggest which aspects of their lives are being restricted by government and which laws or regulations need amending or tossing onto a bonfire. Cynicism about PR campaigning aside, the idea has merit.

Freedom of speech, freedom to organise, and freedom to act are all fundamental human rights, but ones that must constantly be fought for even in democratic societies. Isn't it time we shouted 'fire!' in the crowded cinema of Australian civil life?

What illiberal laws should Australia remove? What individual rights and liberties have we restricted in the name of security or political correctness? In this age of terrorism and global economic uncertainty, do we value the illusion of safety and ‘benevolent’ pseudo-parental concern more than our freedom? Send us your ideas to www.cis.org.au/events/upcoming

Click here to read Where’s the Fire(works)? – Part Two