On Australia's terrorism watch list - and running for State Parliament
I read in SMH today (see here) that Mamdouh Habib, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, is running for NSW Parliament in the upcoming March 2007 elections.
If Habib makes a serious run at it, I think this is an excellent way to move forward on issues such as the new terror laws, watch lists etc. Win or lose, this is the best way he can put himself under the public eye and let the people of NSW see him in as much detail as the ASIO monitoring squad that has invariably been following his every move since his return to Australia in January 2005.
Putting himself in the public eye as a political figure will do much to wash away a lot of the lingering 'smell' of terrorism that hangs over him in the eyes of much of the Australian public. He can speak out on the issues that affect him and be heard as a potential insider and change-maker, rather than a lone voice in the dark.
Habib will be running for the seat of Auburn as an independent. He will be challenging Labor MP Barbara Perry. Auburn is a relatively safe Labor seat but Habib's celebrity and local support may give him a fighting chance. This should make for a very interesting campaign.