June 2020 CLArion newsletter: Can liberties and rights survive onslaughts from spikes of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Can liberties and rights we previously enjoyed survive the Covid-19 pandemic? Already the right to privacy has been formally legislated away in one Australian jurisdiction, while the Federal Court is under investigation for allegedly unlawfully revealing hundreds of asylum seeker names. As well, the government is blaming the pandemic for the absence of a much-needed integrity mechanism, even as courts themselves lock down behind closed doors into secret trials spreading around Australia. People’s locally-elected representatives are being by-passed as an invented executive mechanism, the National Cabinet, takes over from parliamentary democracy.  The signs are not good.

Other items in this issue:

Porter can lift us out of these ‘sad times’

The secret trials and sentencing currently running in the Witness K and Bernard Collaery matter could – and should – be stopped instantly by the Attorney-General withdrawing his permission to prosecute. If he doesn’t the injustice of it all will forever be on his head. He has the perfect excuse: he’s too busy crafting a national integrity commission, and also getting the nation back on its commercial feet after Covid-19.

City council on horns of smoking dilemma

Melbourne City Council is facing a conundrum: should people be allowed to vape in the open air? In the current State of Restrictions,Victoria, how far can you go in banning what health authorities say is a better option than people smoking? CLA’s submission will be considered at the Submissions Committee meeting on Thursday 2 July 2020 at 3pm. 

Canada illustrates the danger of ‘emergency’ laws

Fifty years after Canada’s most recent police state imposition, two academics warn about the repressive history of laws brought in to cope with ‘emergencies’. Citizens must not give governments powers that are certain to be abused by later suspension of civil liberties, police crackdowns and, with today’s and tomorrow’s technology, electronic Big Brother surveillance.