Pressure is mounting on the federal government to announce a national review leading to introducing a Human Rights Act (HRA) for Australia. A HRA is a priority issue once a National Integrity Commission law is before parliament: a full review is promised in the Labor Party platform. Meanwhile, the Justice committee of the ACT Legislative Assembly is urging improvements to the ACT Human Rights ACT – possibly as a model for a national Act – to ensure that in future there are ‘No Rights Without Remedies’.
CLA has formally asked the ’teal’ members of the Parliament, and other independents, to support a Human Rights Act (HRA) for Australia as an early, first 100 days, action item alongside a National Integrity Commission. Together, the two initiatives would rein in the excesses of politicians and elites at the top end of town, and underpin rights, liberties and justice for the bottom end among people who are doing it tough. Australia has already held its biggest-ever consultation on a HRA, with massive support for the concept. It’s time to make it happen.
It should be up to We The People to set priorities for a new federal government’s early actions, not political parties. Here’s a list of issues that need urgent attention from CLA’s viewpoint (you can bet mining and farming and fracking/gas and mining and coal industries don’t need to be on any priority list for assistance!). Meanwhile, in the West, CLA will launch a hard-hitting documentary early this month: in it, real people tell real-life stories of justice and legal system failure. Also, in this issue is a litany of neglect, ignorance, lack of caring and failure to allocate appropriate funding to juveniles: these are unconscionable ’state crimes’ against children in one of the world’s richest societies.
Australia’s governance system allows Ministers to impose over-the-top rules and regulations without Parliament able to have a say. The system should be changed, CLA says. In this issue, we report on the new ‘Right To Appeal’ laws in three states – they have not opened any floodgates: many wrongfully convicted people still languish in our jails. And we note that lawyer David McBride, the alleged whistleblower, is the only person so far charged over alleged murders and assaults on Afghan nationals by members of the ADF's SAS, despite four years of initial investigation and now a further 18-month (and counting) second internal inquiry.
CLA is working hard behind the scenes to encourage a new approach to Human Rights Acts, federally and in the states and territories. The aim is to ensure that all such Acts in future contain simple, easy, quick and cheap access to a remedy – starting with a conciliation process, through a tribunal to a senior court if necessary – for people to have their rights enforced against political and bureaucratic decisions. An inquiry in the ACT will soon consider the issues in detail.
As governments, national and state, and their police and security agencies continue to obfuscate about their malfeasances, Home Affairs supremo Michael Pezzullo claims we citizens have more to fear from the private sector than public sector ministers and mandarins. Is there a more dangerous man in Australia than he who controls criminal justice, emergency management, immigration, refugee claimants and citizenship, national security and ’social cohesion’? All under him, according to his website.
Throughout the world, journalists are dying to tell the truth: a record number of reporters are jailed. Australia Julian Assange has been locked up on a superseded bail offence by Australian ally and cricket competitor, England, for two years while being illegally sought for extradition rendition by another ally, the USA, which itself does not abide by the ‘rules’ it is trying to enforce on Assange. PM Scott Morrison: bring Julian home, before the 2022 federal election.