WELCOME – Civil Liberties Australia

19th century legal system must undergo major reform

The legal system is broken if a person must wait three years to get a Supreme Court trial. Barrister Greg Barns explains how justice could be done better in Tasmania, but his critiques and suggestions for major reform apply to every jurisdiction in Australia. Australia’s overall legal system(s) have never been subjected to an overall review. It’s time for Better Justice throughout the nation:
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Rule of law first, democracy second (if needed)

Riots highlight how and why the rule of law is a better guide to freedom and liberties than is the notion of democracy, Prof Richard Mulgan writes. For that reason, Australian society should be underpinned by a human rights act which guarantees all key aspects of what we think of as the rule of law.
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Govt admits police excess: new inquiry into press ‘freedom’

The announcement by the Australian government of an inquiry into excessive security laws and police power is an admission that raids on the ABC and an Australian journalist’s home were way beyond reasonable, Bill Rowlings says. Here’s the full terms of reference.
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CCTV and Mass Surveillance

Big Brother now knows your name. Listen to Civil Liberties Australia's Vice-President, Tim Vines, speak with Perth Indymedia Radio - RTR 92.1 FM about the expansion of CCTV with facial recognition
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CLA questions why ‘fishing’ police lock down entire town

Civil Liberties Australia has formally asked the Commissioner of Police Darren Hine to reveal under what law, regulation or powers were his TasPol officers acting in locking down an entire town and other locations to conduct ‘fishing’ searches which the police admit were ‘random’, not targeted on reasonable suspicion. Is Tasmanian and Australia becoming a fully-fledged police state? Will it be your town or your suburb – or your workplace, like the ABC, or your home, like The Australian journalist's– that the local police take over or raid next?
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State’s forensics in ageing decline, audit finds

An audit office analysis of the state of forensic analysis support for the court system in Queensland shows it is causing delays (some caused by errors, some averaging six months), is riddled by inefficiencies in cross-department cooperation and may in future be subject to failure because police cannot guarantee an audit trail of the exhibits they store. CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings reports on damming findings that require immediate police, health department and government attention.
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July 2019 CLArion: Parliament resumes, but agenda at cross purposes with nation’s need for greater humanity

To build a better nation, Australia needs to re-focus on our freedoms and our humanity rather than on tax-cutting baubles and harsher refugee and security laws. After nearly 20 years of excessive terrorism fear driving public policy, it’s time for politicians, parliament and the people to create a better society for the future rather than building walls around the past.
  • SPECIAL REPORT: Media rights, freedoms and political responsibility
  • Aged Care RC promotes better advance planning
  • Australian UN Reporteur Alston warns of ‘climate apartheid'
  • Taxpayers foot huge bills for ever-expanding prisons
  • Kevin Andrews can choose to end his own life: Territories can’t even vote on it
  • Court rules arms sales to Saudi Arabia illegal
  • Manus refugees claimant seeks asylum in UK

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Twin consultation prepares for country dialogues

Fundamental problems facing Vietnam and Laos emerged as civil society representatives, including from the two nations, met with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to prepare for formal nation-to-nation dialogue meetings in Canberra in August 2019. CLA Director Jennifer Ashton reports.

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Who guards the guardians?

Our civil liberties movement is a broad church. Everyone’s genuinely committed to defending the freedoms of all Australians. But freedom is in the eye of the beholder. Should we plump for negative civil liberties, or positive civil liberties, Mark Hemery asks.
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Prison figures tell tale of lament for taxpayers

Politicians use ‘law-n’order’ election manifestos and “throw away the key” rhetoric to appear tough, but they are really only being tough on taxpayers’ pockets. Better coordination of laws, police, courts and prisons could save society billions to spend on higher priority community services citizens want, CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings says.
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Am I living in a police state?

The recent Australian Federal Police raids on a News Corp journalist and the ABC are an alarming extension of growing repressive tendencies by the Australian government. When you combine bad laws and expanded unquestionable powers with poor management decisions and a curtailing of public and media reviews, the result is that unalert citizens unknowingly become subjects of a police state. John Passant asks: how far along that path are we?

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Chilling raids threaten democracy

Just as the nation's journalists revealed legitimate questions requiring answers of substance by government and power elites, down descends the black curtain of warrants authorising raids by AFP officers who should have no role in deciding where truth lies in the Australian democracy. Rebecca Ananian-Welsh explains how we’ve become the world's most secretive nation.
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