For all those politicians (and the media) who posture at being “tough on crime” and who bring in mandatory sentences to appear to be “smart” legislators telling magistrates and judges how to make decisions and pass sentences, hear this plea from a real live criminal lawyer dealing with the consequences of such irresponsible political action in the Northern Territory…
In our traditional letters on Australia Day, Civil Liberties Australia has in 2020 asked all Attorneys-Generals throughout Australia to get rid of mandatory sentencing laws, backing up calls from the International Commission of Jurists Australia and the Law Council of Australia. CLA has also asked the ACT A-G to inquire into what went wrong with the 30-year saga of the David Eastman police investigation, prosecution and trials, which cost the tiny territory about $40m, including $7m compensation for Eastman recently.
Some academics are warning that surveillance systems mushrooming in Australia’s major cities are more than just police aids to fight crime: they are actually community management mechanisms designed to re-exert a form of colonial era control. Here’s what they say about new systems in Darwin and the NT.
Governments tend to write laws for the ‘big end of town’. Queensland is proposing new electoral laws which are likely to silence charities and community groups. The government should re-draft the proposed laws to ensure struggletowners have as much right to be heard as mining magnates and corporations. Constitutional law expert, Prof Anne Twomey, explains.
Bushfire hesitancy, climate change uncertainty and sports rorts chicanery are indicators that national leadership and management is sub-optimal as Australia faces major issues from the start of the 2020s. The problem is exacerbated in the areas of civil liberties and human rights, because they rank lowly on the list of what politicians concern themselves about. Australia needs to swap the majority of its pollies for statesmen and stateswomen, people who can identify – and will take the lead on – addressing the fundamental problems and opportunities to build Australia into a fairer society and a better nation.
Philip Gaetjens, head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, is the wrong person to hold the fate of alleged ’sports rorts’ minister Bridget McKenzie in his hands. PM Scott Morrison should be deciding whether his minister met his ministerial standards. And he should do so quickly, and then act decisively. The fiasco has run too long already
A Federal Court judge, tucked away during a hearing in the never-time of Christmas Eve, has lambasted Minister Dutton’s Immigration Department proposals for how to handle a refugee’s visa application as ‘absurd’ and ‘ridiculous’. Castigating the government, he has ordered a prompt decision by Dutton in a case where Australia has mentally tortured a Sri Lankan for nigh on a decade, including by using ’secret evidence’ against him.
France’s Yellow Vesters will carry a message from the heart of Australia, Alice Springs, all the way to Julian Assange in Belmarsh jail in England. Assange is in jail for ‘jumping bail’ and hiding out at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London…but the USA wants to extradite him to a possible death sentence in American courts. The Alice rally is on 25 January at 4.30pm. Other rallies are being held nationally and internationally. More rallies are scheduled for late February, as Assange’s court hearing begins.
A vigil outside Parliament House Hobart on Saturday 25 Jan 2020 from 11-1pm will remember Bob Chappell, who disappeared overnight on Australia Day 2009. No body has been found. His wife of 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, remains wrongly imprisoned for his ‘murder’ 10 years later, CLA believes. Her new appeal begins in May this year. Details: http://www.neill-fraser-support-group.org.au/