Confidence in Australian democracy plummets

A federal parliament committee is hearing widespread views on the state of Australian democracy, including our inability to amend the Constitution and a reluctance to hold many referendums, in a series of ‘public’ meetings available to all citizens through streaming. Here is a precis of the comments in a submission by academic Dr Bede Harris, who has recently launched a major book on the subject.

Calls for Tas Attorney-General to re-open SNF appeal

[caption id="attachment_41933" align="alignleft" width="300"] How The Mercury reported MLC Mike Gaffney’s Upper House revelations.[/caption]

A Member of Tasmania’s Upper House, Michael Gaffney, has used the Parliament on 31 Aug 2021 to expose massive, newly-discovered flaws in the the original (2010) and subsequent appeal cases presented by the Crown against Sue Neill-Fraser. She is in her 12th year of a 23-year sentence for allegedly murdering her husband, Bob Chappell. CLA and most independent observers believe the woman was wrongly convicted and should be freed, immediately, and acquitted. A formal criminal appeal is under way, awaiting the verdict of three judges.

CLArion Sept 2021: CLA success, new way to operate, SNF latest

CLA CLArion Monthly newsletterCLA saw one of its prime recommendations adopted by the parliamentary Homelessness inquiry: we don’t often get a committee agreeing completely with us, but here we did. Also, the CLA Board has decided how we can operate more efficiently and therefore effectively in future, with details and the dates of a special general meeting set out in this issue. CLA member Barbara Etter and barrister Hugh Selby have exposed gross incompetence, and possibly worse, by the Tasmanian Office of the DPP and TasPolice in ‘evidence’ collected and filtered before tendering to the judge and  jury in the original trial of  Sue Neill-Fraser, now in her 13th year wrongly jailed. Her defence counsel was kept in the dark about some witness statements that could have helped her.

  • What are ravenous data fiends really doing?
  • Laws your MP had no chance to vote for…or against
  • Should Australia have CCRCs?
  • Barrister calls for judge to be removed from bench
  • State admits to massive parole problems
  • China plans new laws around public health, privacy
  • 0.8% conviction rate for sexual assaults
  • Canada introduces vaccine passport

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Legal, police experts want SNF appeal re-opened

Two experts, Hugh Selby and Barbara Etter, have formally asked Tasmanian Attorney-General Elise Archer to re-open the ‘in limbo’ appeal by Sue Neill-Fraser into her 2010 conviction for murdering her husband, Bob Chappell, aboard a yacht moored in Sandy Bay, Hobart, in 2009. The appeal has been heard, but a decision is awaited. The experts say police incompetence, or worse, has never been examined in the SNF case: if it was, she may well be acquitted.

Another police shooting, just as the dingo was declared innocent

Forty years ago, there was a police shooting in the NT. With Constable Zachary Rolfe facing a murder charge in 2021, its interesting to look back on what happened in the case of the shooting death of the Anmatyerre man (with the skin name of Jabanardi) and Constable Clifford. Here’s Russell Goldflam’s account.

CLArion August 2021: Pandemic causes ill health to democracy, liberties

Once mass vaccination eases the pandemic, laws need correcting to restore democracy, civil liberties and human rights to Australians, CLA says. When C-19 broke out, our rulers first abandoned parliaments, which stopped meeting entirely. Then draconian emergency laws empowered politicians and police to act virtually without restraint. Soon, instantly imposed regulations, stemming from the unbridled emergency powers, saw us all locked in our homes, unable to work, travel cross-town or interstate ,or even choose to travel overseas, and with no prospect of tribunal or court appeal around special individual circumstances. Once the panic is over, we must restore Australians’ freedoms and liberties by demanding meaningful Human Rights Acts throughout the nation.

Q. to CLA: How about we adopt an Australia Card?

It sounds so simple, just adopt an ID card that you must carry with you everywhere to ‘sign in’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. But how quickly would surveillance-creep go viral, and your movements be subjected to watching and recording every second of every day, all year, everywhere, by the police, spooks and governments? Massive safeguards are needed to protect our privacy and our private information, CLA says.

Are we losing our liberties?

Are Australians losing liberties under the pandemic? There’s a strict, legal answer…and then the practical reality of what’s occurring. But the real lesson is that only eternal vigilance – and a federal Human Rights Act – will protect our freedoms. ‘The struggle for civil liberties is a journey that’s never ending,’ former High Court judge, Michael Kirby, says.