Barr humbug! Fancy trying to tell us which way to go

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

COVID-19 stats: the good, the bad and the ugly ‘data’

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.

COVID-19: Risk management or risk aversion?

Experts are puzzled why only health professionals appear to be advising senior politicians over Covid-19 problems. Noted by their absence are risk advisors. In a national crisis, governments should involve risk professionals accustomed to analysing, evaluating, ignoring ’noise’ and applying a structured, disciplined approach to crucial decisions which will affect Australia for decades to come.

Climate ‘migration’ requires a global response in anticipation

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.

Is counterterrorism policy out of step with reality?

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.

April 2020 CLArion newsletter: Governments impinge on liberties, freedoms as Covid-19 lockdowns become more widespread, individual and draconian

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)

Releasing non-violent inmates could reduce COVID spread potential

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’.

Does the COVID-19 pandemic response measure up to our rights and liberties?

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.