CLArion Dec 2023: Big year ahead for elections

Elections throughout Australia will loom large in 2024, with four or even five possible. Their combined effect could alter the rigid two-party hegemony over the nation that has lasted across a century. Meanwhile federally, thinking politicians, advisers and academics realise that active steps are needed to restore integrity in the bureaucracy and people’s faith and trust in government. With doubts in the justice system about whether forensic science is delivering on its past promise, and whether the legal profession plays by the rules in courts, we’re in for bumpy ride in 2024. Other news in this issue includes:

  • Corruption comes to the fore in Darwin in untimely fashion
  • Legal and allied system in turmoil up north
  • Forensics in chaos: 103,000 samples to be retested?
  • New national forensic regulator and authority required
  • Key appointments to some pivotal positions
  • Senior barrister has no faith in PIP, police-investigating-police
  • Aboriginal people locked up and down disproportionately
  • Minister talks pap: where does responsibility lie?
  • Neighbour country under control of new, secret force
  • Judge is demoted…but the election goes on after his ruling
  • Prosecutor fined $20,000 for errors, failures, concealment

Click for one column CLArion

Click for two-column CLArion

CLArion Nov 2023: CLA outlines Rights/Remedy imperative

CLA explained in detail in October to the parliamentary inquiry into rights precisely why Australia needed to create a national Human Rights Act, to achieve a ‘Fair Go’ for everybody and to help rebuild social capital and expand the national integrity network after years of significant stress. In examples of failed moral codes, the nation is paying Indonesian boat kids for our falsely classifying them as adults, just as Australia begins a new round of renditioning – kidnapping – asylum seeks to Nauru. In other developments:

  • High Court wimps out of another key forensic science ruling
  • Smartest Australians get half a vote in referendums
  • NT, which started it all, at last gets to vote on VAD
  • Prison bugging inquiry gets new investigator, free of former AG links
  • New inquiry to quick-probe mess left by Sofronoff forensics findings
  • Corruption has commissioner stumped
  • ‘Blood boils’ as cops allegedly dodge proper inquiries
  • Neighbour country under control of new, secret force
  • Courts logging: where are ‘friends’ when you need them?
  • Pommy prisoners to be transported to Australia?

Click for one column CLArion

Click for two-column CLArion

CLArion Oct 2023: Rights-Remedy law about to pass

The first No Rights Without Remedy clauses in a Human Rights Act in Australia will soon become law. Anyone ACT resident who has a complaint about their rights being breached will be able to take a case for conciliation to the ACT Human Rights Commission. The breakthrough is establishing a model for a future national HR Act. Meanwhile (Walter) Sofronoff inquiries continue to dominate legal headlines: accusations of a missed core issue blight the Queensland forensics inquiry, while the former DPP suing over Sofronoff findings in the ACT will see a judge imported from Victoria to wrestle with some curly legal niceties…or un-niceties. 
Other highlights this month include:
  • New Security Monitor will have big job living up to Donaldson
  • Defence reveal more than 30 troops may be charged with war crimes
  • Gambling leads to suicide: report
  • Stand by for a ‘live’ test of drug taking in the community
  • $300K ruling against ‘jail from the hip’ judge
  • Gassed kids gain about $250,000 each in compensation
  • Investigator being investigated over Top End killing
  • Toothless TIC finds reason not to probe integrity issues
  • Care residents drugged to cope with mental illness
  • DATES: Crucial world forensics conference set for Sydney next month

CLArion Sept 2023: Rights & more equal voting on the way

The governing Labor Party solidified its support for a federal Human Rights Act, and also committed to more equal voting rights for the ACT and the NT, in positive outcomes from its recent platform-setting conference. Crunch time for the Voice referendum approaches as judges start to speak out on a variety of issues just as Australia gets a new Chief Justice.

CLArion Aug ’23: Criminal cases body comes closer

Positive action towards a national Criminal Cases Review Commission is coming closer: Australia’s AGs are expected to formally consider the concept, which works well against wrongful convictions in several other countries, for the first time at their September meeting. Meanwhile, submissions over the issue of a Human Rights Act for Australia have now been lodged, and that of CLA’s has evinced extensive praise for its comprehensiveness and its promotion of a ’No Rights Without Remedy’ approach, shortly to start being introduced in the ACT. And a positive spin-off from the Robodebt fiasco might be that secrecy is lifted around Cabinet documents that don’t deserve to be hidden. Also:

  • Will earprints prove as useful as fingerprints?
  • First female Indigenous Supreme Court judge appointed
  • State acts illegally in confining children
  • Legal bodies at last tackle sexual harassment at work
  • Time to raise the age of criminality for children to 14
  • ‘Naughty’ State keeps its citizens in the dark
  • Anderson reports on use of UK spook law
  • Fight for rights and liberties is eternal
  • Women jailed 42 years likely to be exonerated

Click for single column CLArion

Click for two columns CLArion

CLArion July ’23: Human Rights subs close 1 July…please get yours in

Today, 1 July 2023, is the deadline for lodging a submission to achieve a federal Human Rights Act in Australia. Please email your thoughts on a HRA today even if it’s only one or two pages (see where to email on Page 1). IN THIS ISSUE we name the nation’s worst police force as judged by the people of Australia, and warn police authorities about hiring duds from elsewhere as they desperately seek new recruits while trying to hide police misbehaviour from citizens. We remind AG Mark Dreyfus it’s time to drop the charges against whistleblowers Boyle and McBride.

CLArion June ’23: Human Rights sub close at end of June; AAT re-forming

30 June is the last day to prepare a submission on a proposed federal Human Rights law. Please get your supportive sub in, even if only a letter, or a short comment. Meanwhile, AG Mark Dreyfus is reforming the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, appointing a new head and planning new appointments, based on merit. The ACT is raising the Minimum Age of Responsibility for Children to 14, and will join SA, Tasmania, Victoria and WA with a legislated second and subsequent ‘Right To Appeal’ where there’s a substantial miscarriage of justice.

CLArion May 2023: time to make Human Rights Act submision

More details are emerging on how public consultation over a Human Rights Act for Australia will get under way: you can express your support in a submission to the parliamentary committee by 1 July 2023, so please do, even if it is just a one-page letter. Meanwhile, secret trials, indefinite detenton, vague laws, forensics problems and more Indigenous people being jailed are among the concerns in this issue, not to mention a swathe of government departments and agencies failing to act, acting inappropriately of refusing to meet mandatory deadlines for providing public information to the people they supposedly serve.

CLArion April 2023: Human Rights Act in place in 2024?

The Australian Parliament wants to know whether Australia should have a Human Rights Act (HRA)…which could be enacted by December 2024. The Committee on Human Rights invites submissions until 1 July 2023, then will hold hearings until December 2023, reporting to the Parliament by 31 March 2024. That would leave nine months for the Albanese government to legislate a federal HRA for Australia in 2024, before the next national election, likely in early 2025. CLA has been one of the most active campaigners for a HRA over the past three years and, with other activists and supporters, is celebrating interim success. Some 73% of Australians support Australia having a HRA: just 3% oppose one.

CLArion March 2023: Voice and Rights timetable clarifies

The Voice campaign for a special Indigenous path to parliamentary debate launched in February. The first official call for a federal Human Rights Act is expected when the Australian Human Rights Commission tables its ‘Free & Equal’ report, four years in the making, in the first week of this month.  Meanwhile liberties and rights, particularly of children, are under increasing threat from a combination of vigilante social media activist campaigns and state governments and oppositions ramping up ‘order and law’ issues ahead of elections.