WELCOME – Civil Liberties Australia

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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June 2019 CLArion: New Ministers but same old problems face the nation’s liberties and rights

We have a new government, but the same old problems remain: citizenship issues, legal systems gone awry, refugee claimants in limbo, and re-born Ministers with a proven history of putting their interests ahead of those of the people. Stand by to go back to the future.
  • Climate change outpolls terrorism as major threat
  • First Dying with Dignity law coming into force
  •  How accurate are costs-of-crime estimates?
  •  Human rights: worth another try; let’s hope for better
  •  National sex offender register back on Dutton agenda? Striving for ‘principled’ investigation of police complaints
  •  Ex-CIA heavy’s withering assessment of President Trump
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Click for 2-COLUMN (print, read over a break)
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Watch out! You’re ID’d, recorded…and data-banked

It’s Australia’s most Asian-aligned jurisdiction, adopting aspects of Chinese-style surveillance, as Darwin and the NT become flooded with CCTV cameras that can identify you, record your image, and bank it in a centralised database to follow you at will. It’s scary stuff, says Peter Rogers.
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System crashes: lack of thorough testing?

We seem to focus on machine failures and ignore management (human) systems that lead to machine failures by blaming the operator (or in the Boeing 737 Max analogy, the pilot). Repeated failures of police internal investigations reveal the design and structure is wrong: it is not at all clear that new Queensland legislation will tackle the core problem, Terry Flanders says.
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Open prisons to new ideas for all to benefit

Prisoners should undergo health, mental health and education level checks on entry for baseline measurements to check how rehabilitated they are when eventually released, CLA proposes in a detailed submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission's current major inquiry into prison reform.
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The ANZAC spirit

More and more people in Australia are questioning whether jingoism – extreme patriotism – is an increasing danger in and to Australia. Even noted leaders of the warrior class are speaking out, as this ANZAC DAy speech by a former Vice Chief of the Defence Force illustrates. Ray Funnell questions where we are headed, and whether we’re following the right types of ‘leaders’.
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Verifying virtuality could scorch the planet?

Should we be worrying about rights and liberties issues broader than the mainstream problems and opportunities? CLA member Silke Hesse introduces a consideration from left field about whether or not we’ll have a planet left to inhabit as a society. What do you think?

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My oath! We have a problem, says Tennant

Oath-against-Oath trials are fraught with dangers, says Brian Tennant AM. Lives are being ruined by courts and juries accepting verbal statements, with no physical evidence, that are impossible to prove or refute. Perhaps we need to have a new set of rules, and less vindictive punishments, for such cases, he says.
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Refugee policy: you choose how to vote

Many citizens are upset that the plight of refugee claimants held in limbo for five years on Manus Island and Nauru are not front and centre in the current election campaign. But the policies of the major parties are somewhat similar. Here CLA’s refugee champion, Director Jennifer Ashton, explores the issue.
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