Civil Liberties Australiaspacer

One of the pivotal events in contemporary European history seems to have largely bypassed Australia. The event is the constitutional crisis in Poland. Simply put: last week, Poland’s parliament lower and upper house passed three laws that would have given total control of the Supreme Court, and the appointment and firing of judges, to the government. A step to dictatorship.

When the government’s intentions became known, massive anti-government protests took place throughout Poland and major capitals – nearly all attracting extensive international media coverage. But not in Australia.  In fact, there was hardly any Australian newspaper coverage and limited exposure by the ABC and the commercial channels. I find this omission disturbing and, frankly, irresponsible.

The demonstrations were more than a noisy irritation with little impact and they worked. The president of Poland was pushed to veto two of the laws. In short, the Polish people won this round. Yet, many of my Polish friends and colleagues told me the saga is not over: many thought that the veto is a delaying tactic to allow the government to revert to its dictatorial practice. Worryingly they were right. I quote from Reuters web site: “Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is sticking to its flagship plans for ‘radical’ reform of the judiciary, despite seeing two bills vetoed by the president this week, PiS head Jaroslaw Kaczynski said on Thursday.”    Surely the Australian media has a responsibility to give some serious attention to this ongoing story.

– Howard J M Hanley, Hawker, ACT

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