Action on behalf of David Hicks

The Adelaide Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has organised a petition to the Senate calling for action to end the indefinite detention without trial of David Hicks. 

The petition reads …


The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia draws the attention of the Senate to:

* commitments made by the Attorney-General, Hon Philip Ruddock MP, in August 2006 that he would seek the return of Australian citizen David Hicks from US detention in Guantanamo Bay if the United States of America did not lay substantive new charges against him by November 2006; and

* recent statements by the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator the Hon Chris Ellison, that it is not satisfactory that David Hicks has been held in detention for so long without facing trial; and

* the recent observation of the Law Council of Australia that the new US military commissions are still grossly unfair, will not provide a fair trial for David Hicks, and will likely be challenged in another drawn-out appeal to the US Supreme Court; and

* the Fremantle Declaration signed by State and Territory Attorneys-General on 10 November 2006, which calls on all Australian Governments to uphold fundamental legal principles including the right to a fair trial, the prohibition of detention without trial, and the prohibition of torture.

Your petitioners therefore request that the Senate take action:

* immediately and decisively to end the indefinite detention of this Australian citizen;

* to ensure that he be charged and tried without further delay by a competent and independent tribunal with all of the protections of the rule of law that Australian citizens would expect, compliant with the Geneva Conventions;

* to insist that failing this, David Hicks be returned to Australia and his indefinite detention without trial be brought to an end.


The organisation of the petition follows recent calls by senior Church and human rights advocates for Hicks’ indefinite detention to be ended and for him to be treated justly. Among those calls are statements issued by the Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders (including August 06, March 06, September 05), and Cardinal George Pell (The Age).  See also an article by the ACSJC’s CEO, John Ferguson (Justice denied, OLC, #120).

If you would like to participate in this action, please print copies of the petition and post signed petitions to the address at the bottom of the petition sheet.  If you require additional pages to get extra signatures, please make additional copies of the ENTIRE page.  Senate procedure requires that: (1)  the full text of the petition must be shown on each page on which there are signatures;  (2)  all signatures must be original signatures, not photocopies or faxed copies  So, DO NOT FAX your signed sheets.

You need to act very quickly as the closing date for the commission to receive the petition is November 30

If the deadline is too soon and you would still like to take action, it might be worthwhile contacting the commission for further advice:  email or telephone 08 8210 8172.  Or you might like to rewrite the concerns expressed and the actions sought and send a personal letter to Mr Ruddock, by email, or to The Attorney General, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; and to your local member.

Every drip on the stone makes a difference!

For those of you who are associated with a St Francis Xavier Church, school or organisation under his patronage – special blessings for this weekend as you mark his feast day on Sunday (also the first Sunday of Advent) in this year, the 500th anniversary of his birth (which was in April).  Why do I know this and want to mention it?  Because our little community in South Hobart is celebrating with a St Francis Xavier meets the 21st century weekend, and I’m sure other communities will be doing something life-giving and celebratory about this time as well. It is a very positive way to begin the new liturgical year.

For everyone, though, have a great week, as somewhere, doing something, you will be a drip on a stone. 


Penny Edman







The graphic design and web content management for this edition of Online Catholics has been prepared by Ian James, of JGD Graphic + Web Melbourne.


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