Is counterterrorism policy out of step with reality?

At last the experts are starting to agree with what civil libertarians like CLA have been saying for a decade and a half: everything to do with counterring terrorism is massively out of kilter with reality, including the funds and people/material resources allocated, the parliamentary time spent on it, and the  massive headlines given to it. In Australia, we literally have had much more important things to worry about since about 2005.

Releasing non-violent inmates could reduce COVID spread potential

As Iran releases 100,000 prisoners, Australian jails are still packed with the potential for major COVID-19 spread into the community, Paul Gregoire writes for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. And, as usual, Indigenous prisoners are relatively most at risk because of their large numbers and poor health. The WHO and UN have warned Australia about the potential for jails to spread the pandemic. ‘Prison health is a matter of public health’.

Judicial Commission needs independent, external input to stop judges bullying lawyers

The NT is planning to introduce a Judicial Commission to deal with the problem of judges bullying lawyers. A parliamentary committee is considering submissions – but none of the submissions, other than that from CLA – proposes having truly independent people on the commission and its investigatory panels…or even mandatory Indigenous representationl. Changes to the current bill are vital if justice is to be seen to be done, and to be done, to lawyers and their clients in the NT, CLA says.
 
 
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CLA proposes independent and Indigenous members of Judicial Commission

The NT Parliament is proposing a Judicial Commission to solve major problems of bullying by judges and magistrates, as well as lengthy delays in delivering some judgements. CLA has told the parliamentary committee that the absence of any independent legal expert from outside the NT, and  the possibility of the commission having no Indigenous representatives, needs fixing.

Let prisoners escape Covid-19 virus

Other nations are already showing Australia the way on how to mass deaths in prisons: they are letting lower-range and particular prisoners free, at least for the duration of the world health emergency. It’s time the Australian states and territories did something similar…and took the opportunity to remove from prison some people who probably should not be there, CLA says.

Prison report is blueprint for saving $billions, overhauling justice

The Queensland Productivity Commission has delivered its seminal report on the state of jails in that state but in reality standing for all Australian jails. Their recommendations provide a blueprint for saving taxpayers money, ending a massive jail-building program over the next decade, and seriously reducing the number of people in prison. Will our fearful governments have the courage to take positive action to achieve a better system delivering better justice?

If your MP says they are ‘tough on crime’, show them this:

For all those politicians (and the media) who posture at being “tough on crime” and who bring in mandatory sentences to appear to be “smart” legislators telling magistrates and judges how to make decisions and pass sentences, hear this plea from a real live criminal lawyer dealing with the consequences of such irresponsible political action in the Northern Territory…

From the heart of Australia, in support of Assange

France’s Yellow Vesters will carry a message from the heart of Australia, Alice Springs, all the way to Julian Assange in Belmarsh jail in England. Assange is in jail for ‘jumping bail’ and hiding out at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London…but the USA wants to extradite him to a possible death sentence in American courts. The Alice rally is on 25 January at 4.30pm. Other rallies are being held nationally and internationally. More rallies are scheduled for late February, as Assange’s court hearing begins.

Vigil remembers, seeks justice for Sue Neill-Fraser

A vigil outside Parliament House Hobart on Saturday 25 Jan 2020 from 11-1pm will remember Bob Chappell, who disappeared overnight on Australia Day 2009. No body has been found. His wife of 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, remains wrongly imprisoned for his ‘murder’ 10 years later, CLA believes. Her new appeal begins in May this year. Details: http://www.neill-fraser-support-group.org.au/