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.
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.
Former High Court chief judge Robert French has delivered a less-than-innovative report on the issue of free speech on uni campuses. He proposes tinkering with new federal laws. But, says Law student Sam Coten, the universities themselves should take individual leads and live up to the promise on which the entire sector was founded nearly 1000 years ago.
Easter is a time of reflection, and of religious services for many. But CLA member Keith McEwan, a lifelong atheist who died this month aged 93, explained in an Easter missive to friends some years ago that you can “love thy neighbour” far away from prayers and churches.
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.
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.