Dutton consultation is a sham, says civil society

Parts of civil society are actively rebelling against a ‘sham’ public consultation process by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that looks set to lead to a new Australia Card proposal or something very similar. Mr Dutton’s only public consultation meeting before pitching a new public ID and privacy system to COAG will be a 150-minute discussion on 22 October in Melbourne. The agenda is pre-determined for attendees to be spoken at, rather than being listened…and Dutton’s anti-privacy stance is well known from his very first speech to parliament.

October 2018: MPs move to safeguard genes data from insurance companies; ABC management fail, but journos spark another Royal Commission

There’s a welcome push in federal parliament to rein in insurance companies through a moratorium on citizens’ having to disclose the results of genes testing. The move would safeguard rights under insurance and superannuation policies, which affect nearly every Australian. Meanwhile, as ABC management spectacularly implodes, ABC journos and researchers yet again spark a Royal Commission, this time into aged “care”. CLA’s submission to the RC will concentrate on how the elderly gradually have their personal liberties and dignity stripped away, at the age when they and their contribution to Australia should be being honoured and feted.

Also in this issue:

  • Time to revamp a 60-year-old promise for children?
  • Wimpish committee gives coded warning only
  • Travellers and friends latest to be subjected to police state ID checks
  • Australia’s Indigenous people most incarcerated on the planet: prosecutor
  • Commonwealth is anything but a model
  • Gender-bender law will save our dunny heritage
  • PM promises citizenship to millions of refugees (Pakistan)
  • Jailed doppelganger seeks $1.5m – see photos

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TWO COLUMN (print, read over a break)

Govt models only bad behaviour, unlike in 1912

A parliamentary inquiry into how Big Government screws the little guy and small business in court is struggling to have its voice heard. A Senate committee’s investigation of a proposed law to fix the problem was announced in November 2017, but the committee’s report now been postponed, for the fourth time, to 7 December 2018. That’s a day after the last sitting day of the year for parliament. If an election is called early in 2019, we may never get to see why the government believes it can ignore its legislated responsibility to make its own bodies give people a fair go in legal battles

The very least the world can do…

‘I don’t want to live any more’ said the man standing in the rubble of his destroyed home. His teenage daughter beside him burst into tears and the younger daughter looked up at him, not understanding.  CLA member and former Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke – a member of the three-person UN Group of Experts whose report on Yemen is under consideration by the UN Human Rights Council – explains the tragedy of a violent one-sided war, a nation bombed towards oblivion, and a broken people whom the world has forgotten. (Includes link to Yemen Report to the UN HRC).

We need an ideological revolution in criminal justice

For nearly 30 years, since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Australia’s rate of jailing Indigenous people has been going totally in the wrong direction, says ACT Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold. The option of ever-increasing sentences hasn’t worked so, he says, it’s time we totally switched our thinking towards solutions that work in other countries rather than continuing failed policies that not only have not worked, but have been demonstrated for decades to not work to solve an ongoing problem.

Slaves get little reprieve from flaccid new law

Why are we are so timid over rights and freedoms, but so over-zealous when it’s repression? With refugees, we have struck upon a crude, cruel way to discourage asylum seekers. Now, a new law is taking the barest minimum steps to try to help 21stC slaves. With more slaves in the world than ever before, it was time our parliament enacted robust legislation with teeth: instead, we’re getting a Modern Slavery Act as flakey as a gummy shark.

September 2018: Major intelligence review likely to beef up security, surveillance

Emerging from a political schemozzle, real government business continues with a major review of the ‘National Intelligence Community’ scheduled for early 2019. Your input is sought for a November 2018 CLA submission. The government claims the review is NOT about limiting civil liberties and human rights…but every other similar ‘security’ review has wound back freedoms, reversed the burden of proof, and escalated authoritarian power over the people. This review will be no different. See the Special Report on National Intelligence and Security in this issue…and read what Peter Dutton thinks of civil liberties.

Also in this issue:

  • Is the government drafting ‘ambit’ legislation?
  • TPP trade deal vote comes to a crunch
  • MLA’s falsehood radio spray costs taxpayers $280,000
  • Magistrate reins in DPP’s wealth-confiscation avarice
  • Committee recommends new euthanasia law
  • ‘Copwatch’ aims to train a constant eye on police
  • Kiwis build rights-friend jail to cater for mentally ill prisoners
  • ODD SPOT: Stunning police save dandelions from vicious 87yo woman

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TWO COLUMN (print, read over a break)

Canberra: Be on the defensive!

Forget the fireworks inside Parliament House! Loud bangs are likely to be heard all over Canberra soon…but no-one’s saying where or when. The Australian Defence Force plans to carry out counter-terrorism training in late August. Or, it could be, training for when the federal government calls out the troops: see CLA’s submission to the current Defence Call Out Bill, a particularly power-seizing piece of legislation that flies in the face of one clause in the Australian Constitution.

Listening and learning from the First Peoples

The fate of Australia’s First Nations Peoples is intrinsically important to all Australians. Their debate in mid-year in Canberra should be the starting point for a wider general discussion, over a number of years, to resolve fundamental questions of what elements of history comprise us, who we all are as a nation today, and what we aspire to becoming in the century ahead as a relatively small group of people living independently on an island continent a long way away from most other nations on earth. Christian Bennett comments.

Governments to seize even more assets

By Paul Gregoire: A Senate committee has just given the Turnbull government the green light to nationalise a scheme that allows government to seize citizens’ assets unless their legitimate origins can be explained, even if the owner of the wealth hasn’t been charged with – let alone convicted of – an offence.

Helping to shape our dialogue with Iran

Photo: Jennifer Ashton and Eloise McLean
Much productive work of CLA occurs behind the scenes, often in meetings that take eat up time: planning, preparation, deciding who should attend, attending, and then reporting. Here’s an example of a ‘dialogue’ preparation meeting, run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to help their diplomats prepare for an exchange of views with Iran over human rights.