Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

I felt I had to send a submission around the Bill to expand the surveillance powers for the GCSB, It is being conducted under urgency and only allowed a couple of days for submissions. There are a number of issues with this of which I submitted around 3 of them.

You can submit your own submission here. Thanks to @Farmgeek for a helpful submissions guide that you can see here


Thank you for the opportunity to file a submission relating to this bill.

Whilst I understand the need for certain secrecy around matters relating to National Security, the method as to which this bill is being passed and the content of the bill gives cause for concern.


  1. Urgency – In the past few years, this government has a tendency to pass unpopular bills under urgency. Urgency is not to be used to suppress dialogue and discussion on topics of importance to the nation. In addition, given the recent past performance of the GCSB, SIS and government in relation to surveillance matters, proper discussion of these matters is not only the right thing to do, but imperative to allay fears of collusion and heavy handedness.
  2. There is nothing to indicate why the current laws are inadequate to deal with these new issues. These are the expanding of powers rather than the creation of unique solutions. This indicates that current laws would be sufficient if applied correctly.
  3. Broadening the scope of the SIS/GCSB powers effectively breaks down the required barriers between the separate areas (Police,GCSB etc) which in turn opens up the abuse of these powers. While the phrase “efficiency” or “expediency” may be used, these also need to be matched up against “safeguards” and “proper process”. In short the quickest way may not be the best way.

In short, with a bill of such importance, not allowing for full discussion both inside and outside parliament means mistakes will be made that could have disastrous consequences.

Thank you for your time


Steven Gardner


Great Productivity Tools – Todoist

todoist_logoEveryone has their own set of tools to help them in their working day.

I have always struggled to find a to do list program/app that helps me in my day. I have tried a number of them, tempted by their features and claims of increasing productivity.

But I have found many of them actually slow me down.

Take Evernote for example; a brilliant application that does so much stuff. But for my needs it seemed too much, all of the fantastic features just seemed to get in the way, I needed something simpler, so simple and easy to use, it encouraged me to use it.

So I stumbled on Todoist on one of those “10 Apps to Increase Your Productivity” kind of articles. I wasn’t actually looking for it, but found it after I had stumbled on another quirky productivity app called Coffitivity (more on that in another post).

On first glances Todoist looked simple and clean, just what I was looking for. Gone were the other features that gets you away from the core function – making lists.

It was as easy as typing a list item and hitting enter, nothing else was needed. So far so good.

But there are options to categorise and add other information to your list items, but they are not required and this was the key for me. I could just type out a list of items and not worry about the other information, I could go back and do that later if I needed to.

Suddenly I had a list of items and as things came in, whether it be by phone, email or talking to someone in person, I could quickly add it to a list.

I have a tendency to try and keep things in my head, to which I am mostly successful, this has been a great way to get those lists in my brain down in a more permanent form.


Todoist Screen (with spelling mistakes 🙂

So now I have these items on my lists, I can work on them and tick them off. What’s better, is that Todoist records your completed tasks and lets you know how many you have done per day and per week. You can set your own goals and it will keep track for you, this is a great way to incentivise the completing of tasks and improving your productivity.

There is an accompanying app for most devices and also integrations with popular mail programs too.

As with many of these things, there is a Free version and a Paid version, I ran the free version for quite a while and it was great. In the end I upgraded to the premium version, because you can create shared lists that are great for collaborating in teams. Each user costs USD29 / year, but it is a small price for enhancing your productivity.

So, in a nutshell, Todoist is an awesome app for me: simple, quick and I can quickly see the improvements it has made for me