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.
In an extension of the perfidy that passes for “security measures”, Minister Dutton is again bent on spying and prying into your and my private affairs with the aid of a thoroughly devalued US Administration accused of corrupt international requests. It is well past time that the Australian Parliament had the courage to rein in the excesses of out-of-control ideologue Ministers. MPs need to stand up for our rights to privacy and the liberty of being free from Big Brother abuse.
Is it OK for Australia to bug our neighbouring countries’ negotiating teams? Who makes such decisions? Should corporate interests benefit from state surveillance and bugging? What’s is permissible under the Rule of Law (ROL) and the Rule of Morals and Ethics (RoME)? We need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of the East Timor bugging scandal, to decide what is right and what is wrong for the future.
With new Australian anti-terror laws running at about five a year over 18 years, there are two fundamental questions: has our safety changed for the better, and do we need all of them now, or should there be a consolidated ‘Anti-terror Act’ that reins in the draconian excesses, restores balanced rights and liberties, and better represents the real dangers in 2020 to the nation?
If national security is genuinely at risk, leakers should be prosecuted. But where Australia itself, its political leaders, top bureaucrats and spook agencies are the transgressors, ‘leakers’ should be rewarded and those who have trashed the nation’s reputation are the ones to go before a Royal Commission or court of law. Both the government and the opposition are behaving reprehensibly in relation to the Witness K/Bernard Collaery case, Dr Richie Gun says.
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.
Riots highlight how and why the rule of law is a better guide to freedom and liberties than is the notion of democracy, Prof Richard Mulgan writes. For that reason, Australian society should be underpinned by a human rights act which guarantees all key aspects of what we think of as the rule of law.