Hate speech is in the ear of the listener, explained CLA Vice-President Tim Vines in delivering the Margaret Barry memorial lecture to the Inner Sydney Voice group. A key question is who society allows to determine what is and is not hate speech, because who is and is not allowed into Australia to give public lectures has demonstrated how inequitable decisions can be. Underlying the issue is the inherent right of all Australians to free speech, which is under active attack in terms of how public servants use their free time, around reading books on euthanasia, and whether there is a right to call out inappropriate behaviour by government agencies to the benefit of commercial firms.
There’s a growing and worrying national trend to curtail people’s free speech. Firms, public service bodies and the like are restricting the freedom to speak out about what concerns you. Organisations are imposing restrictions in the name of their ‘social media policy’ or to ‘protect their brand image’, CLA Director Rajan Venkataraman warns.
Aged care is the next national disgrace to get its time in the Royal Commission witness box, over the next 18 months: CLA is calling for members to tell us what freedoms needs assuring. Citizens are likely to forego traditional identity protection as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton holds a ‘quick ’n dirty’ sham consultation to fulfil a push for open-slather exchange of personal data among spooks and government departments. The ex-Queensland cop pushed for widespread file sharing when he first entered parliament 16 years ago. Meanwhile, in health, defence, election funding and at the Australian War Memorial, forgetfulness or worse reigns when probity should be the minimum bottom line.
Also in this issue:
- Can a machine make a legal decision? The ATO thinks it can
- Groupthink rules, ex-DPP claims…and the chief judge says ‘That’s good!’
- Prisoner does quarter of a century in jail for an 18-month offence
- ID scanning in clubs? How well does it reveal villains?
- DPPs make a profit for the Crown: more staff, assets
- TI child-raising to be enshrined in law
- Beware NZ, where your password must be revealed
- Straights get equal rites
Long-time government adviser on refugees and detention, retired Air Vice Marshall Ray Funnell, is calling on both major sides of politics to come clean with citizens and admit that we have effectively stopped the boats: we should immediately partner with Indonesia on future-based solutions to regional refugee challenges, he believes. AVM Funnell appeals for an end to the political deceit, dissembling and outright lying that casts a shadow politicians’ debates on the refugee/detention issue
Minister Peter Dutton is conducting a sham ‘consultation’ after which he will determine “arrangements that govern the protection and management of identity information”. In other words, a man on record 16 years ago as demanding wholesale sharing of personal information across police, security and all government bodies is about to decide whether we get a national ‘Australia Card’ ID system or similar open-slather access to your private information. CLA’s submission says he’s the wrong man, it’s the wrong department, and any inquiry into personal ID rules should be run with equal numbers of rights, liberties and IT gurus as part of a balanced review panel.
Beware! You may have to change your natural behaviour at airports – don’t muck around, don’t joke, don’t skylark with friends…or the lurking police officer might decide to demand your ID, search you and your e-devices, make you miss your flight and take you away for questioning. The enhanced new search powers are so broad that AFP officers could apply them in just about any situation, certainly not just when mass panic is being provoked or someone is unfurling a provocative flag. Paul Gregoire reports
Parts of civil society are actively rebelling against a ‘sham’ public consultation process by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that looks set to lead to a new Australia Card proposal or something very similar. Mr Dutton’s only public consultation meeting before pitching a new public ID and privacy system to COAG will be a 150-minute discussion on 22 October in Melbourne. The agenda is pre-determined for attendees to be spoken at, rather than being listened…and Dutton’s anti-privacy stance is well known from his very first speech to parliament.
There’s a welcome push in federal parliament to rein in insurance companies through a moratorium on citizens’ having to disclose the results of genes testing. The move would safeguard rights under insurance and superannuation policies, which affect nearly every Australian. Meanwhile, as ABC management spectacularly implodes, ABC journos and researchers yet again spark a Royal Commission, this time into aged “care”. CLA’s submission to the RC will concentrate on how the elderly gradually have their personal liberties and dignity stripped away, at the age when they and their contribution to Australia should be being honoured and feted.
Also in this issue:
- Time to revamp a 60-year-old promise for children?
- Wimpish committee gives coded warning only
- Travellers and friends latest to be subjected to police state ID checks
- Australia’s Indigenous people most incarcerated on the planet: prosecutor
- Commonwealth is anything but a model
- Gender-bender law will save our dunny heritage
- PM promises citizenship to millions of refugees (Pakistan)
- Jailed doppelganger seeks $1.5m – see photos