Jurisdictions throughout Australia are hell-bent on banning symbols they don’t like, when it is way the symbol or sign is used rather than the image itself that is the problem. CLA made this point in a submission to a parliamentary process in the ACT, pointing out that there are thousands of signs, symbols, gestures, chants that could – and do, at times – give offence when misused.
CLA’s submission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission parliamentary inquiry placed the NACC in context – along with a much-needed, federal Human Rights Act to follow – as delivering a better, fairer and more equal ethical infrastructure for Australia. When CLA appeared before the NACC inquiry committee, it was unfortunately more intent on parsing clauses from a legal perspective than discussing the best national philosophy for Australia. (Note: the committee asked for submissions to be kept as short as possible).
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.
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
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.
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’.
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.
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.
ACT Bar Association Vice-President Jack Pappas has defended the organisation’s support of Bernard Collaery, the Canberra barrister caught up in a political prosecution authorised by former federal Attorney-General Christian Porter. The ACT Bar called for the case against Collaery to be dropped, Pappas says, as recently as April 2021.