Big leap for Aussie MPs as they go video

Australia’s parliamentarians are on trainer wheels as they enjoy the benefits of video meetings partaken of by the rest of the population for about six months. Parliament and committee expert Dr Sarah Moulds points out that Spain has been holding such meetings, and remote voting (which is still barred in Australia), for nearly a decade. Time Australia’s parliaments caught up, CLA says.

Coronavirus Pandemic: Statements by CLA

For all the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, then in the longer-term recovery to normal phase, civil liberties and human rights must be integrated into every decision of all authorities. While a health and emergency policing response is vital, so too is ensuring that the maximum freedoms of Australians are respected at all times. Premiers and others are in danger of forgetting peoples’ rights matter too!

Banerji case highlights urgent need for Bill of Rights: Triggs

Prof Gillian Triggs – once Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, now a Protection Commissioner at the UN – dissects the inadequacy of safeguards of citizens’ rights in Australia after the recent narrow ruling by Australia’s wimpish High Court on the Banerji case, She stresses how that and other cases highlight how urgent formal Rights protection is for the nation.

Govt seeks new powers to send in the troops

The federal government is hell bent on boosting its powers to call out the troops at a moment’s notice anywhere in Australia, and even in anticipation of a problem occurring. The new law, now being considered by a parliamentary committee, would be perfect for using the Army, Navy and Air Force to protect President Trump when he visits, or to stop protestors at Adani mine or port sites, where fracking is about to get under way or any environmental protest is likely. The power to call out the troops should be very tightly constrained, which is the opposite of how this draft bill is written, says CLA CEO Bill Rowlings.

The Real Deal in Parliament, helping to make law

Civil Liberties Australia member and first-year ANU law student Elly McLean was pleased to be asked to be part of a CLA team appearing before a parliamentary committee inquiry. She was able to experience first-hand how laws are shaped and honed, and how groups like CLA make submissions and take part in ‘live’ hearings, which are recorded for the formal Hansard report of parliament’s proceedings. Here she gives her impressions of her first committee experience…indeed, her very first visit to the Australian Parliament.