WELCOME – Civil Liberties Australia

From Taiwan to Robinvale, via Easter

Easter is a time of reflection, and of religious services for many. But CLA member Keith McEwan, a lifelong atheist who died this month aged 93, explained in an Easter missive to friends some years ago that you can "love thy neighbour” far away from prayers and churches.
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Society’s prejudice makes mental illness worse

Fear and bigotry is diminishing in relation to homosexuals, but they remain ‘go to’ reactions for most people when the subject of mental illness comes up. Sufferer Reg Murray explains that mental illness is just another type of disease, and sufferers should receive compassion and tender loving care, like anyone who is ill.
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Never-ending inquiry into religion to keep on keeping on

The federal government is likely to keep inquiring into religious freedoms in the new parliament from May 2019, because it can’t make up its mind how to reconcile giving priority to Christian religious beliefs in a secular society mandated by the Australian Constitution. The latest of many inquiries has just reported, and it at least had the good grace to quote the sensible observations of CLA.
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‘Victory’ is costly under ISDS

The government continues to commit the nation to expensive litigation under the Investor State Dispute Settlement regime. Many years after the event, the true cost of the spurious Philip Morris claim against Australia for plain packaging of cigarettes is now known. We won, but paid a heavy price we should never have been liable for.
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Declaration of CLA’s 2019 Annual General Meeting and comments

More than half the Members eligible to vote took part in the Annual General Meeting, held in March 2019, of Civil Liberties Australia. CLA holds its AGM electronically and by post so that Members scattered throughout Australia can participate. Many Members also commented on how the organisation is operating – their comments are included with the formal Declaration of the AGM process.

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High Court kills Prasad

The High Court of Australia has engaged in specious, circular reasoning to kill off the old ‘Prasad Direction’, which could see unworthy criminal charges cut short in court, barrister Jack Pappas says. Now it’s time for the Attorney-General to pass a new law reinstating ‘Prasad, or to give judges new powers to end a trial at any stage.
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Hear the SUE NEILL-FRASER story first-hand in Canberra

Psychologist and film producer Eve Ash, who has been researching and filming the SUE NEILL-FRASER miscarriage of justice in Tasmania for eight years, will tell the story behind the TV doco and what comes next after Thursday's newly-granted appeal. She will also take your questions about the case.  12.30–2pm on Wed 27 March 2019 at the ACT Legislative Assembly reception hall in Canberra.

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Sue Neill-Fraser wins her case for a new appeal

Sue Neill-Fraser, in Risdon Prison for 9 1/2 years of a 23-year sentence for murdering her husband, has won her case in the Supreme Court of Tasmania for a new appeal before three senior judges, who may be drawn from outside the island state. Civil Liberties Australia was instrumental in securing the new law in Tasmania, passed in late 2015, that allowed her to appeal. She should be released from jail now,CLA believes, anticipating that she will be found to be as completely innocent of the crime as she has always said she was

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Will the High Court censor 2 million Australians?

A case in the High Court crucial to freedom of speech in Australia will be heard in the next fortnight. Michaela Banerji was sacked for tweeting anonymous criticism of the Immigration Department when she worked there. Was the sacking fair, or does she have a constitutional right to anonymous comment? Two million Australians – and a general right to free speech – await the answer, Kieran Pender writes.
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400 convictions falsely based: ‘catastrophic failure’ of legal system

CLA on Australia Day 2019 asked SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman for a Royal Commission into 400 convictions over 30 years based on faulty forensic evidence. She refused. But, the situation is identical to the ‘Lawyer X’ issue in Victoria, where a Royal Commission is inquiring into “illegal” evidence accepted by the courts. Here, author Andrew Urban and SA legal academic Dr Bob Moles explain why she must change her mind so that she abides by the rule of law.
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March 2019: Dissonance reverberates as MPs’ words don’t match actions 

Standards in public life continue to shrink as politicians’ words and actions fly in the face of reality. ‘Urgent’ for a Minister is when you’re doing something for him, not when he is expected to act; a new petitions process will deliver more gloss and grandstanding for pollies, and no better outcome for the people; new trade deals being negotiated in secret are sure to disadvantage most citizens; and MPs from each major side reach to new heights of hypocrisy as they claim to support “freely and fairly” reporting on national security.
  • Leaky blackshirts get their ASIO mates offside
  • Tim Anderson: ‘spooked' for years, now sacked
  • How PM Abbott’s jobs-for-the-boys worked out
  • Will whistleblowers get a financial reward?
  • Third jurisdiction to get a bill of rights this year
  • Fourth jurisdiction may bring in ‘Right to Appeal’ law
  • New inquiry could change prisons nationwide
  • 9-0 US decision may influence forfeiture laws here
  • How big is ’The Community’ of spooks in Oz?
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