Who guards the guardians?

Our civil liberties movement is a broad church. Everyone’s genuinely committed to defending the freedoms of all Australians. But freedom is in the eye of the beholder. Should we plump for negative civil liberties, or positive civil liberties, Mark Hemery asks.

Am I living in a police state?

The recent Australian Federal Police raids on a News Corp journalist and the ABC are an alarming extension of growing repressive tendencies by the Australian government. When you combine bad laws and expanded unquestionable powers with poor management decisions and a curtailing of public and media reviews, the result is that unalert citizens unknowingly become subjects of a police state. John Passant asks: how far along that path are we?

Chilling raids threaten democracy

Just as the nation’s journalists revealed legitimate questions requiring answers of substance by government and power elites, down descends the black curtain of warrants authorising raids by AFP officers who should have no role in deciding where truth lies in the Australian democracy. Rebecca Ananian-Welsh explains how we’ve become the world’s most secretive nation.

Never-ending inquiry into religion to keep on keeping on

The federal government is likely to keep inquiring into religious freedoms in the new parliament from May 2019, because it can’t make up its mind how to reconcile giving priority to Christian religious beliefs in a secular society mandated by the Australian Constitution. The latest of many inquiries has just reported, and it at least had the good grace to quote the sensible observations of CLA.

Will the High Court censor 2 million Australians?

A case in the High Court crucial to freedom of speech in Australia will be heard in the next fortnight. Michaela Banerji was sacked for tweeting anonymous criticism of the Immigration Department when she worked there. Was the sacking fair, or does she have a constitutional right to anonymous comment? Two million Australians – and a general right to free speech – await the answer, Kieran Pender writes.

Suppressed! Your right to know    

A noted person was apparently convicted of historic sex crimes in Victoria in December 2018 – but Australians can only find out about the conviction by reading overseas media outlets. In Australia, news of all details of the case is ’suppressed’ by the judge. That is, no-one anywhere in Australia is permitted to report what international outlets say was a unanimous finding by a jury that a person was guilty. The person is to be sentenced in February, but is currently on bail despite being convicted of offences against children, which usually involves residential restrictions. Court suppression orders in Australia, like defamation laws, need a thorough overhaul.