While civil society is grating the government licence to use extraordinary powers during a medical emergency, that is no excuse to abuse people’s trust by bringing in draconian measures like over-the-top surveillance and elimination of the flimsy privacy rights we still retain, CLA says.
The governments’ proposed Religious Freedom laws would legitimise discrimination in the name of religion, undermine states’ rights, discriminate against non-believers, and generally make employment provisions in the health and education sector a minefield for anyone other than highly-qualified lawyers. As well, the laws would further entrench tax breaks for organisations that don’t provide the services to earn them. The government can do much better: a fundamental redrafting of the proposals is needed, CLA says.
Some academics are warning that surveillance systems mushrooming in Australia’s major cities are more than just police aids to fight crime: they are actually community management mechanisms designed to re-exert a form of colonial era control. Here’s what they say about new systems in Darwin and the NT.
Governments tend to write laws for the ‘big end of town’. Queensland is proposing new electoral laws which are likely to silence charities and community groups. The government should re-draft the proposed laws to ensure struggletowners have as much right to be heard as mining magnates and corporations. Constitutional law expert, Prof Anne Twomey, explains.
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.
So secret was the trial and jailing of the ACT’s mystery prisoner that even the territory’s Minister for Corrections, who is also Minister for Justice, did not know about the case until the story broke in the media. Minister Shane Rattenbury still does not know on what grounds he locked up a prisoner for 18 months: he doesn’t know what the prisoner was charged with, or what the prisoner was convicted of. CLA poses some questions to Commonwealth authorities, including Supreme Courts.
The Tasmanian government is having another crack at introducing Australia’s worst – and most expensive, for citizens – anti-protest laws. The High Court threw out their first attempt. Now an ‘openly deceptive’ government is trying to sneak in laws which would instantly turn minor peaceful protest almost anywhere in Tasmania into a major crime. You can sign the e-petition.
For all its rhetoric, the Tasmanian government in practice does not enable citizen and media freedom, secretly surveils its citizens, and refuses to properly fund, staff and facilitate Right To Information processes. MPs should shed their party blinkers and stand up for the people, against myopic Ministers and secretive bureaucrats.
The ongoing, unjustifiable and petty legal action against Witness K, formerly of ASIS, and lawyer Bernard Collaery demand that the government holds a public inquiry into Australia’as negotiations over the Timor Gap oil treaty 15 years ago, just as the question of freedom of the press to report becomes top of mind. Both issues call into question the continuing, and increasing, dominance of the Executive over the Parliament in what is meant to be a balanced democracy.