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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
SINGLE COLUMN (read on screen)
TWO COLUMN (print, read over a break)
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
Parliament committees inquiring into religious freedom in Australia as well as electoral funding and mandated disclosure by NGOs have been inundated with submissions, forcing them to report late. This issue also shows off CLA’s new T-shirt, reminds members about our new website, and reports on the 2018 AGM and selected member comments.
The boss of privacy, data breach monitoring and FOI has resigned out of the blue, just as the government introduces a new regime supposedly to curtail leaking by the corporate sector of private, personal data. At the same time, the head of Australia’s police and security services, Minister Peter Dutton, has launched an overt, public attack on magistrates and the judiciary.
Other items in this issue include:
- TPP-11 just as flawed as the original: sovereignty at risk
- Have ASIO ‘blobs’ been given illegal access to Parliament House?
- DPP’s office profits from proceeds of crime: more staff, more funding
- First system of detention centre inspections under OPCAT is set up
- Teenagers to get lesser rights…and women already suffer discrimination
- State election is a high-stakes choice regarding human rights
- Nation’s justice system is in turmoil, says its former head
- Rulers crack down on lawyers’ rights, licences cancelled