A meeting in 2013 with a politician who kept her word began the long process that led to Sue Neill-Fraser getting a second appeal chance at justice in Tasmania. Now for a hearing, preferably with interstate judges. Elsewhere, Australia’s first law officer abuses the law for what appears to be for his, his party’s and his department’s benefit. And now Australia has three human rights acts: six to go.
Standards in public life continue to shrink as politicians’ words and actions fly in the face of reality. ‘Urgent’ for a Minister is when you’re doing something for him, not when he is expected to act; a new petitions process will deliver more gloss and grandstanding for pollies, and no better outcome for the people; new trade deals being negotiated in secret are sure to disadvantage most citizens; and MPs from each major side reach to new heights of hypocrisy as they claim to support “freely and fairly” reporting on national security.
- Leaky blackshirts get their ASIO mates offside
- Tim Anderson: ‘spooked’ for years, now sacked
- How PM Abbott’s jobs-for-the-boys worked out
- Will whistleblowers get a financial reward?
- Third jurisdiction to get a bill of rights this year
- Fourth jurisdiction may bring in ‘Right to Appeal’ law
- New inquiry could change prisons nationwide
- 9-0 US decision may influence forfeiture laws here
- How big is ’The Community’ of spooks in Oz?
We’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
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?
- 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
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.