Chief Justice criticises law-and-order election auctions

Real justice – as opposed to expensive, unproductive ‘law and order’ auctions around election times – helps the victims heal as well as punishing the perpetrators, says WA Chief Justice Wayne Martin. He gives examples of progressive justice systems being introduced throughout Australia, many of them learning from the practices that imbued Aboriginal culture over tens of decades of history in Australia. Read his Sir Ninian Stephen 2018 lecture.

Command failings that are defence-less

Fury was the initial response on social media among Defence personnel to allegations against special forces soldiers. But as new details emerge almost daily, there’s recognition that leaders at many levels within the Australian Defence Force may have as many questions to answer as the troops. If accountability failures extend throughout the organisation, Army wife Kay Danes writes, an open and transparent Senate inquiry would be the least mechanism needed to get to the bottom of the allegedly widespread management problems in the ADF.

Wowsers never stop stopping your freedom of choice

The attempts by collectivist public health cultists to impose their values on other citizens continue, writes Mark Jarratt*. This time it is a sugar tax, yet another relentless, paternalistic, intrusion into daily life. Adults should be left to make their own decisions: smokers, drinkers, gamblers, and consumers of ‘unapproved’ food neither need nor want overbearing, dictatorial, anti-free-choice “help”, he says.

June 2018: Spook special: how wrong choices skew political monitoring 

The Big End of town receives different justice from mainstream punters. Similarly,  Australia’s spooks enjoy the lightest of parliamentary supervision because a key committee is dominated by MPs whose actions, and a recent speech, clearly demonstrate they are part of the intelligence elite, instead of being disassociated, separate monitors for the community. With security agencies and police gaining ever more intrusive Identity, surveillance and detention powers, the unbalanced holding of such secret forces to account is a worry for civil liberties, rights and freedoms across Australia.

Also, read about how the Home Affairs Department, under Minister Peter Dutton, wants to introduce a facial recognition system to Australia like those with a 90%-plus failure rate in the UK. Other items include:

  • Budget snippets with liberties implications that you may have missed
  • Security beefed up to fight yesterday’s battle
  • Why Australia needs a War Powers Act
  • Honest, diligent cop compensated after 50 years
  • Jailed youth are overwhelmingly ill, not evil
  • Should we hold a ‘Dutton for a Day’ day?
  • Chinese manipulate brainwaves to boost production

SINGLE COLUMN (read on screen)

TWO COLUMN (print, read over a break)

‘Lawful but awful’ policing is problem here too

A new book that outlines the problems of policing in America over the past two decades has widespread lessons for Australia also. While Australian police don’t kill around 1000 citizens a year, the tunnel vision and confirmation bias attitudes, coupled with the propensity to lie because of twisted mateship, are exactly mirrored in Australia. As are problems stemming from excessive powers and secret linkages between federal police and  security bodies and state police.

Another price to be paid for police tunnel vision?

A B Greer is out of jail after 25 years, but there is more doubt now than there has ever been about whether he should ever have been in jail. His conviction occurred during the peak period of WA police bastardry, a time which has generated many cases of wrongful convictions. WA’s two most senior criminal barristers, Percy and McCusker, both believe in his innocence. A miscarriage of justice in which the wrong person is convicted is as much a tragedy for the victim’s family as it is for the family of the wrongfully convicted person.

Music might re-program your devices to do wrong

Researchers can now send secret audio instructions undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, a New York Times report says (180511). Inside university labs, the researchers have been able to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites. In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, send money electronically or buy stuff online — simply with music playing over the radio.

Fight for your privacy when shopping by cash

Do shop assistants demand your personal details when you are paying by cash? Just before Christmas 2017, I attempted to make three rather minor purchases – in Myer, Harvey Norman, and The Good Guys. All the items were small and portable and I was paying cash. In all three cases, the shop assistants refused to proceed with the sale unless I handed over personal details – name, address, phone number, and email address. In the case of Myer, much more was demanded (for the purchase of a cup and saucer!).

Dead man phone-fingered for his private secrets

Police in Florida USA have crept in to a funeral home to enlist the help of a corpse they created to unlock the man’s mobile phone. Avoiding the man’s fiancee, who was at the funeral home at the time, they have tried to use the dead man’s fingers to gain access to information. So far, the phone has stayed mute. Meanwhile investigations continue over how fellow police came to shoot the man dead in the first place, over the ‘crime’ of having illegal tinted windows on his car.

May 2018: New campaign for parliament to vote when Australian forces get involved in conflicts

CLA is planning to launch a new campaign to convince the Australian Parliament to pass legislation so that a Prime Minister has to seek parliamentary approval on sending Australians troops into war or a warlike situation.
The campaign will have a focus each year on Anzac Day, Australia’s day of remembering the fallen. While other jingoistic celebrations focus on militarism each 25 April, the War Powers campaign will highlight the opposite – ensuring Australia thinks long and hard before getting into new wars. Other items include:

  • ‘Autocratic populism’ replacing democracy
  • If NZ can avoid ISDS, so should Australia
  • Public servants win free speech rights back
  • Drug law reform: special articles
  • Mentally ill people forced into prison
  • No data is safe from government list-building
  • Trying to vote results in five years jail