CLArion July 2024: Top to Bottom, corruption and culture overhaul needed

Darwin becomes the corruption capital of Australia this month as a major conference alights on fertile soil in the Top End. In the Far South, politicians are trying to solve judicial dilemmas by changing the deck chairs, when it’s the state’s culture,  secrecy and establishment that lies at the core of most problems. Both jurisdictions need a Human Rights Act to help save the little people from the powers-that-will-always-be. Meanwhile, the federal HRA campaign is quiescent, but boosted by Australians realising how important Julian Assange’s rights and liberty became to most of us. 

Other items this issue include:

  • Croucher, Klugman, lawyers and Jesuit priest line up for federal HR Act
  • NT Special & TASMANIA SpeciaL: Overhauls needed Top to Bottom 
  • ’No Rights Without Remedy’ becomes law
  • Courts crisis: science denial, experts may go missing
  • Judges lowering the proof bar to ensure more rape convictions
  • Heaven, help us: drones need new law, academics say

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CLArion June 2024: Time for a Human Rights Act !

A federal parliament committee has urged the Albanese government to enact a Human Rights Act for Australia. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Labor MHR Josh Burns, made 17 wide-raning and positive recommendations in a report released on 30 May. Australia needs to protect human rights in law like other liberal democracies do, mount a major national education campaign, and school all public servants to fully consider human rights. Parliament itself needs to scrutinise human rights much more closely, the committee also says.

Other items in the June issue include:

  • Campaign breakthrough after four years and 14-month inquiry
  • Where are HR Acts up to in the states and territories?
  • Coroner says proposed new law not needed
  • Weasel word ’significant’ gets new meaning
  • There is no ‘right to vote’ in America
  • Do children have a right to hug their parents?

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CLArion May 2024: Covid inquiry demands human rights base

Four different public inquiries have been investigating problems around how Australia has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. One inquiry only recommends basing further detailed probes into lessons for the future on the basis of the human rights of Australians. The C-19 issue sits alongside key questions generally about whether police, prosecutors and the courts are letting Australia down. It is time for a national inquiry into justice: there has never been one.

CLArion April 2024: HR Act report postponed

The tabling date for a major report into Australia’s human rights framework has been postponed by two months, to 30 May 2024. The report, after 14 months’ analysis by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, is expected to detail the full benefits that could accrue by modernising and improving the framework. In particular it is likely to discuss how to avoid more illegal Robodebt claims, ancient fines resurrected by the ATO and similar bureaucratic fiascos. Better empowering citizens in the long run could enhance trust in parliament, politicians, government and Australian democracy itself. Also, in contrasting approaches reported this month, the ATO is planning to take over government digital communications even as another parliamentary committee tries to rein in government IT projects to prevent waste.

CLArion March 2024: Forensics & genetics under closer scrutiny

By the end of the month, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus should have in his hands the report of the special parliament committee which has inquired into Australia’s human rights framework for the past year. As that happens, rights related to forensic quality and how genetic testing can be used against us are coming to the fore. The Defence Department is trying for the second time in a decade to restrict and control the communication rights of research scientists. And, in a fascinating twist, the High Court will soon be asked to consider whether missing parts turn a body into something else, legally.

CLArion Feb 2024: Human Rights report near finalised, ready

February is a key month for human rights in Australia. Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights is finalising its report and recommendations after a year-long inquiry into the nation’s human rights framework. Chair Josh Burns is due to hand the blueprint for the future to the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, by the end of March. Many issues in this CLArion will be top of mind as this report changes hands. They include treatment of Indigenous Australians, forensic disasters in laboratories and courtrooms, secrecy across government, and questionable cultures like those permeating police forces and others breeding in newly-emerging far-right groups. The crucial issue of homelessness is also likely to feature strongly.