February 2019: Let’s think about positively improving Australia, and ignore negative election campaigning

CLA CLArion Monthly newsletterWe’re looking for positive ideas to throw into the mix around the upcoming federal election. A Bill of Rights is one big issue, but what other ideas and suggestions should CLA be putting forward? A national Crimes Act, married to national courts and a Criminal Cases Review Commission to catch any mistakes? Please send us your ideas. So far in 2019, CLA has ruffled some feathers: we hope to keep doing so all year. Plus, the long-running Sue Neill-Fraser case in Tasmania is coming to a crunch moment in the first week of February.

Also in this issue:

  • Our democratic details are being sold for profit
  • Treasury wants more secret powers, to reverse law of proof
  • Go figure! How organised crime profit is rising alarmingly
  • Ramping up fear escalates violence: an oldie but a goodie
  • Royal Commission to referee police/prosecutor warfare
  • FOI: underfunding and active blocking cut people’s access
  • Qld: beautiful one day, naughty the next
  • Let half the prisoners out of jails: Minister
  • Trump makes American lawyers greatly profitable again

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January 2019: Bright spots provide hope as new year brings fresh battles over aged care and bills of rights

Change is in the air this new year: a new governor-general – will he be the last? A federal election – will new MPs realise Australians want much more listening and far less shouting by their national representatives? Will the completed Banking Royal Commission and the beginning Aged Care RC fulfil our hopes for improved personal treatment by big business of average Aussies? And can we improve the legal and penal system to deliver quality and timely ‘justice’ at reduced cost with far less angst all round?

Also in this issue:
  • 10 years wrongly jailed: gathering outside parliament
  • High Court judge urges more Crown appeals against sentences
  • Australians losing faith in democracy
  • ‘Five Eyes’ become arbiters of national policy, manipulators of commerce
  • Suppressed! Your right to know
  • Protest rights need better protection
  • CCC calls for inquiry into ‘justice’ system
  • Police want to predict criminal intentions
  • Sentenced aged 16, ineligible for parole until aged 67

December 2018: Politicians concentrate on fear-raising activities as police and security agencies escape close scrutiny and control

This time around we head into the annual news silly season from Christmas through January with a federal election all but called, and parliament on tilt. There’s a real danger that politicians and security agencies will escalate campaigns and raids around terrorism as well as crime to elevate community fear levels in trying to influence voting. We may be in for a rough time as irresponsible news outlets throw big banner headlines at circumstances where mental illness is as much to blame as radicalisation.

November 2018: Aged Care RC must consider liberties/rights of elderly; Dutton makes surreptitious move towards national ID scheme

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.

October 2018: MPs move to safeguard genes data from insurance companies; ABC management fail, but journos spark another Royal Commission

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

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September 2018: Major intelligence review likely to beef up security, surveillance

Emerging from a political schemozzle, real government business continues with a major review of the ‘National Intelligence Community’ scheduled for early 2019. Your input is sought for a November 2018 CLA submission. The government claims the review is NOT about limiting civil liberties and human rights…but every other similar ‘security’ review has wound back freedoms, reversed the burden of proof, and escalated authoritarian power over the people. This review will be no different. See the Special Report on National Intelligence and Security in this issue…and read what Peter Dutton thinks of civil liberties.

Also in this issue:

  • Is the government drafting ‘ambit’ legislation?
  • TPP trade deal vote comes to a crunch
  • MLA’s falsehood radio spray costs taxpayers $280,000
  • Magistrate reins in DPP’s wealth-confiscation avarice
  • Committee recommends new euthanasia law
  • ‘Copwatch’ aims to train a constant eye on police
  • Kiwis build rights-friend jail to cater for mentally ill prisoners
  • ODD SPOT: Stunning police save dandelions from vicious 87yo woman

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August 2018: Future of rights and liberties under scrutiny

Debates about liberties and rights are back on the public agenda as the Australian Human Rights Commission launches a new study into how emerging IT is affecting us. The prospects are improving that Queensland will become the third jurisdiction (after the ACT and Victoria) to have a ‘rights and responsibilities’ act. However, hope in one area is squelched by the federal government’s intransigence when it puts the wrong people on trial over bugging the Timor Leste Cabinet room. As governments continue try to bury their mistakes, legally or otherwise, there’s more need than ever for the statutory requirements of the Model Litigant Principles to apply.

Also in this issue:

  • New troop call out bill is alarming
  • ‘No one else will do it for us’
  • Targets for females…but not for MLPs
  • ‘Brown paper bag’ opened for by-election pork barrelling
  • Do parliamentary committees enhance our rights?
  • Canadians troubled by detention of immigrants
  • 200 women prosecuted for false rape claims
  • Girl raped by brother jailed for having abortion

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July 2018: Nauru has become Australia’s devil’s island

Nauru is the never-ending nightmare for children and their parents who sought asylum in Australia in the hope of a better life. Now they are imprisoned by an ocean, with no prospect of leaving unless they take a government bribe to go back into the state of persecution they fled. Even the youngest of children face a life sentence without hope, with papers stamped ‘Never to come to Australia…no matter what’. As Australia demonstrates its inhumanity to the outside world, internally more and more commentators are warning that we are turning into a police state. Civil liberties people have been sounding the alarm for more than a decade, but now an eminent judge and a close observer of the Australian Parliament are speaking out too.

June 2018: Spook special: how wrong choices skew political monitoring 

The Big End of town receives different justice from mainstream punters. Similarly,  Australia’s spooks enjoy the lightest of parliamentary supervision because a key committee is dominated by MPs whose actions, and a recent speech, clearly demonstrate they are part of the intelligence elite, instead of being disassociated, separate monitors for the community. With security agencies and police gaining ever more intrusive Identity, surveillance and detention powers, the unbalanced holding of such secret forces to account is a worry for civil liberties, rights and freedoms across Australia.

Also, read about how the Home Affairs Department, under Minister Peter Dutton, wants to introduce a facial recognition system to Australia like those with a 90%-plus failure rate in the UK. Other items include:

  • Budget snippets with liberties implications that you may have missed
  • Security beefed up to fight yesterday’s battle
  • Why Australia needs a War Powers Act
  • Honest, diligent cop compensated after 50 years
  • Jailed youth are overwhelmingly ill, not evil
  • Should we hold a ‘Dutton for a Day’ day?
  • Chinese manipulate brainwaves to boost production

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May 2018: New campaign for parliament to vote when Australian forces get involved in conflicts

CLA is planning to launch a new campaign to convince the Australian Parliament to pass legislation so that a Prime Minister has to seek parliamentary approval on sending Australians troops into war or a warlike situation.
The campaign will have a focus each year on Anzac Day, Australia’s day of remembering the fallen. While other jingoistic celebrations focus on militarism each 25 April, the War Powers campaign will highlight the opposite – ensuring Australia thinks long and hard before getting into new wars. Other items include:

  • ‘Autocratic populism’ replacing democracy
  • If NZ can avoid ISDS, so should Australia
  • Public servants win free speech rights back
  • Drug law reform: special articles
  • Mentally ill people forced into prison
  • No data is safe from government list-building
  • Trying to vote results in five years jail