The ’National Cabinet’ is going to the heads of Premiers and Chief Ministers: they are starting to think they can rule divinely, now that parliaments are dead and democracy is dying. Would you believe one CM, Andrew Barr in the ACT, is trying to dictate that you can only walk or cycle one way – clockwise – around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. What will he do next? Order the tide to go out, or the stars to rotate differently. Bring back our civil liberties, starting immediately
So, people are sick, and dying. But what is the hard comparative data? Why are our governments not sharing with us the figuring that lies behind their thinking. Here metrologist (measurement guru) and risk expert John W. Clark puts the comparative statistics under the microscope. You be the judge of whether our governments should be revealing more facts, and consulting with us much more about life-and-death decisions for people, economies and nations.
The world is not good at anticipating crises. There’s one coming, 99.9% of experts says, in less than 30 years. About 1 billion people are expected to be in crisis, forced to migrate from low-lying land. Australia has responsibility for the Pacific, where the crisis will be felt in a major way. It’s time we started to tackle the issue urgently, Jennifer Ashton suggests.
The virus crisis is throwing up some worries and some oddball angles, and revealing a range of reactions from people contacting CLA. Here’s a few to go on with…
At last the experts are starting to agree with what civil libertarians like CLA have been saying for a decade and a half: everything to do with counterring terrorism is massively out of kilter with reality, including the funds and people/material resources allocated, the parliamentary time spent on it, and the massive headlines given to it. In Australia, we literally have had much more important things to worry about since about 2005.
As the health crisis stretches into months, governments are becoming more authoritarian by the week. Police and military enforcement squads are on the streets. The open air freedom of beaches is denied citizens. People are copping large fines for walking together and talking to each other. From full support for emergency crackdown measures, governments risk alienating the citizenry if their exercise of power becomes unbalanced and out-of-kilter with people’s sense of a fair go. Whatever occurs over the next few months, it is obviously time for a total overhaul of the rights and liberties, the personal freedoms, of Australians. Covid-19 is showing how much we need a national Human Rights Act.Arion.pdf”>Click for 2-COLUMN (print, read over a break)
As Iran releases 100,000 prisoners, Australian jails are still packed with the potential for major COVID-19 spread into the community, Paul Gregoire writes for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. And, as usual, Indigenous prisoners are relatively most at risk because of their large numbers and poor health. The WHO and UN have warned Australia about the potential for jails to spread the pandemic. ‘Prison health is a matter of public health’.
Difficult questions are starting to arise around the human rights implications of the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia. The delicate balancing act between minimising harm and infringing on liberties is occurring in a way many of us have not experienced before, legal bioethicist Caitlin Davis says as she explores the issues.