WELCOME – Civil Liberties Australia

NZ pardons/apologises to Maori activist 100 years later

New Zealand has maybe shown the way to Australia with a formal, parliamentary apology bill tabled to right the wrongs committed against a Maori activist 100 years ago. With more than 230 years of mistreatment of Indigenous people in Australia, such bills could keep out parliament busy for decades.
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Nelson explains what freedom means

CLA member Sandra Nelson, the MLA for Katherine in the NT, visited Dili reprepsenting the NT government to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Timor Leste gaining its independence. Here she talks about what it means to the people.

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Australia enters a ‘Second Convict Age’, MP says

At last! A federal MP is taking Australia’s horrific rate of jailing people, particularly Indigenous citizens, seriously. Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner (ACT) has produced a detailed rundown that shows we are becoming among the greatest jailers. For example, we now jail Indigenous Australians at a rate greater than the USA jails African-Americans. Read a summary of Leigh’s paper, with a link to the original.
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Sept 2019 CLArion newsletter: Security forces gild lily in seeking to retain unaccountable powers to raid journos and ABC 

CLA CLArion Monthly newsletterThe spookmeisters have emerged from deep hiding to defend their over-the-top raids on the homes of journalists and the national HQ of the ABC. They’ve trotted out ghosts and hobgoblins in yet another fear-raising exercise to suit their secret aims. An MP has described Australia as a ‘pre-police state’…but we are very quickly moving past the ‘pre’ stage as recent events demonstrate.
  • Your ideas wanted for new Nationhood, ID and Democracy inquiry
  • Home Affairs ready to lock up a leaker, no trial needed
  • Witness K and Collaery: the government should be ashamed
  • Audits hold out hope for some accountability
  • Police rules say they should film naked people
  • VALE: Death of a liberties legend: Brian Tennant
  • Blights on a nation: Sexism, racism, gunism
  • 71% of Americans don’t like Arabic numerals
Click for SINGLE COLUMN (read on screen)
Click for 2-COLUMN (print, read over a break)
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Australia spied, cheated and has now lost its moral compass

If national security is genuinely at risk, leakers should be prosecuted. But where Australia itself, its political leaders, top bureaucrats and spook agencies are the transgressors, ‘leakers’ should be rewarded and those who have trashed the nation’s reputation are the ones to go before a Royal Commission or court of law. Both the government and the opposition are behaving reprehensibly in relation to the Witness K/Bernard Collaery case, Dr Richie Gun says.

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Why should you care about civil liberties?

The thing people care most about is their family’s safety. Today, fear of a terror attack looms large in the minds of many people. But should our government be allowed to use any means necessary to keep us safe from terrorists, Mark Hemery asks?

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Banerji case highlights urgent need for Bill of Rights: Triggs

Prof Gillian Triggs – once Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, now a Protection Commissioner at the UN – dissects the inadequacy of safeguards of citizens’ rights in Australia after the recent narrow ruling by Australia’s wimpish High Court on the Banerji case, She stresses how that and other cases highlight how urgent formal Rights protection is for the nation.
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Army ‘Regs’ lead to institutional abuse by Defence

The reality of a Defence Inquiry is far from the rhetorical ‘fair go’ our soldiers deserve, Kay Danes writes. It has become an instrument of power, wielded by officers to deny subordinates and civilians access to fair and equal opportunity within their employment. Complainants suffer bullying and harassment by the very system supposedly set up to assist them.

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August 2019 CLArion newsletter: Book strips bare the perfidy inside parliament as chancers go for broke

A new Niki Savva book exposing the soap opera around Malcolm Turnbull’s demise as PM paints MPs in a very poor light. Meanwhile, police officers themselves are joining the campaign to end the highly problematic practice of police investigating police. Officers say they don’t get a fair hearing over medical, OH&S and PTSD issues; citizens say they don’t get a fair hearing when they complain about police.
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Who guards the guardians? (updated)

Our civil liberties movement is a broad church. We’re all genuinely committed to defending the freedoms of all people. But freedom, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Should we defend negative liberty or positive liberty, Mark Hemery asks.
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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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