Australia Day Letters 2009

Civil Liberties Australia each year selects 2-4 topics for Australia Day, drawing the attention of people in positions of power to opportunities for change and improvement in Australian society, or to problems that need fixing.

The 2009 letters cover:

  • Establishing a Liberties/Rights Committee of Parliament;
  • Issues relating to captives taken by Australian troops;
  • Adequate parliamentary representation for disempowered citizens;
  • Reduce the indigenous numbers in jails in WA.

CLA’s 2009 letters:

To the Prime Minister: Liberties/Rights Committee of Parliament

CLA asks the Prime Minister to set up a Joint Standing Committee for Civil Liberties and Human Rights in the Australian Parliament.Other nations – the UK, the USA – have such committees, but Australia doesn’t.

To the Defence Minister: captives taken by Australian troops

CLA asks Mr Fitzgibbon questions about captives taken by Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what ongoing responsibility Australia has for them. We also seek to find outwhether Australia is supporting the UK/US base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, where detainees are kept in circumstances similar to Guantanamo Bay.

To the ACT MPs: time to act on behalf of disempowered citizens

CLA asks the the four Members of Parliament representing the ACT to correct the massive under-representation of ACT citizens in the House of Representatives: one MHR per 120,000 people, compared to 1:60,000 for the NT, or 1:90,000 for Australian States. Also, it’s time to change the law so that decisions of the ACT Legislative Assembly can’t be overturned on the whim of the Prime Minister.

To the WA Attorney: reduce the indigenous numbers injails

WA jails its indigenous citizens at a rate massively higher than other Australian States. The problem is a cycle ofalcohol/drugs-jail-release-alcohol/drugs-jail…all without State intervention to try to break the cycle. CLA asks Mr Porter to make apersonal commitment to change the system, and to reduce indigenous jail rate among the 3913 people in WA jails: it is currently 42.3%.

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