How Parliament’s fences lock people in to danger

Camouflage green fences exude precisely the wrong symbolism for a parliament building purpose-designed to be an accessible People’s House. From one angle, the most prestigious building in the National Capital looks like a jail, with slum attached. Are we keeping the prime inmates protected, or locked away behind our own ‘Berlin Wall’? Gates and upward-rising bollards – which have hoisted Commonwealth cars skywards – are further barriers to openness, security expert Dr Tony Murney says.

Militarised guards create potential firezone with children as collateral damage

Assault-style weapons proliferate throughout the external parliamentary precinct: armed guards patrol the ricochet-rich foyer. Into this potential bullet-riddled firezone Australia’s politicians invite subsidised schoolchildren in their hundreds every day the Parliament sits. With schools and embassies (including that of China) in nearby over-shoot range, even an accidental discharge could create personal tragedy or international incident.

Porter can lift us out of these ‘sad times’

The secret trials and sentencing currently running in the Witness K and Bernard Collaery matter could – and should – be stopped instantly by the Attorney-General withdrawing his permission to prosecute. If he doesn’t the injustice of it all will forever be on his head. He has the perfect excuse: he’s too busy crafting a national integrity commission, and also getting the nation back on its commercial feet after Covid-19.

Fencing off the House of Ghosts

Currently ghostly and almost unused due to Covid-19, trod by very few feet other than the police and security guards, Australia’s Parliament House is still fenced off from the people. This enclosed community, preventing overall access by the citizens of the nation, is against every principle on which the parliament chose the design after a mammoth, worldwide architectural competition. Tony Murney investigates…or tries to!

Crisis causes power to aggregate centrally

As the virus crisis bites deeper into daily life, more people are starting to question what freedoms and liberties we are giving up at the behest of an ever-shrinking ‘executive’ ruling group, comprising a hotch-potch of people from MPs to mining bosses and public servants with interesting track records. CLA member Carolyn van Langenberg airs some opinions alternate to the mainstream groupthink.

Religious Freedom Bills would produce ‘perverse outcome’

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.