Tas Police: secret, illegal keepers of the dark arts

Recent revelations of secret recordings of lawyers and their clients at Risdon Prison by Tasmanian Police over two months raised major alarm bells. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has been consistently calling out TasPol for its recording devices and surveillance warrant failures for years. TasPol's “compliance culture” is lacking, the Ombudsman says. In other words, TasPol does not obey the law. SPECIAL ANALYSIS reveals how extensive the TasPol problem is: nothing less than a full inquiry into TasPol will get to the root causes of its problems.

What are the laws about police warrants?

Police can self-authorise some warrants, or get a magistrate or judge to issue others. But whatever method is mandated, warrants are frequently incorrectly issued in Australia on false, dodgy or incomplete information containing wrong details and not meeting legal requirements, or by unauthorised people. The Commonwealth monitors warrant processes, and its Ombudsman has singled out one state in particular, Tasmania, for compliance and culture criticism over the past few years

Behind the secrecy in Bernard Collaery case

What was so secret about the Bernard Collaery and Witness K case? It couldn’t have been the bugging of the East Timorese Cabinet rooms, as that was well known. Perhaps it was deeper and longer-term spying on who the East Timorese leaders were planning to throw their lot in with, over suspicions of Chinese influence of concern to Australia 20 years ago, Dr Richie Gun surmises.

Barrister promises revelations: ‘reprehensible’ police

Fallout from ‘reprehensible’ behaviour by Tasmanian Police is likely to reverberate around Australia in legal circles as barristers pillory how TasPol and the Office of the DPP handled a five-year alleged harassment of lawyer Jeff Thompson. The DPP dropped the case – at virtually the last possible moment – this week. More revelations about possibly appalling and illegal police behaviour are yet to emerge when earlier court-ordered suppression orders are lifted.

Labor govt must deliver human rights protections

In this excellent article, social justice journalist Paul Gregoire outlines – with the help of CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings – how bringing in a Human Rights Act to accompany a new National Integrity Commission will help complete Australia’s ethical infrastructure. Doing so would also go a long way towards fulfilling PM Albanese’s commitment on election night to ‘looking after the disadvantaged and vulnerable’ and to ‘shard values of fairness’.

Federal priorities post-election: Dr Des Griffin

What should the incoming Australian government set as priorities for the 2022-2025 parliamentary term? You can read about what CLA believes priorities should be in the CLArion MAY 2022 (see below), or here –in response to those priorities – is what noted museum and education expert Dr Des Griffin AM proposes as early-term ‘must-dos’ for whomever forms government.

Confidence in Australian democracy plummets

A federal parliament committee is hearing widespread views on the state of Australian democracy, including our inability to amend the Constitution and a reluctance to hold many referendums, in a series of ‘public’ meetings available to all citizens through streaming. Here is a precis of the comments in a submission by academic Dr Bede Harris, who has recently launched a major book on the subject.

Top cop confused on legality of police actions

Was Operation Ironside illegal under Australian law? There is doubt, created by the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, whether the much ballyhooed Operation Ironside was carried out according to the law of the land. The first duty of our police is to obey the law, even before enforcing it. We need open and honest answers rather than confuseed bluster and PR spin, CLA says.

Australia abandons our supporters in Afghanistan

Australia is helping military interpreters who helped out troops in Afghanistan. But we need to do more, more widely: there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of Afghanis employed through Australian-funded and run aid projects, as well other projects where we provided funding through the UN or other agencies. They too face retribution: we also have a responsibility to them, Dr Tony Murney writes.