The ANZAC spirit

More and more people in Australia are questioning whether jingoism – extreme patriotism – is an increasing danger in and to Australia. Even noted leaders of the warrior class are speaking out, as this ANZAC DAy speech by a former Vice Chief of the Defence Force illustrates. Ray Funnell questions where we are headed, and whether we’re following the right types of ‘leaders’.

War. What for?

Honouring people who have served Australia in notable ways is an honourable thing to do.While feting our war dead and the living former soldiers, we have an equal duty to critically examine the wars of the past and present, measuring how we got involved, what the outcome and result looks like in hindsight, and whether we can avoid making mistakes in how and why we enter wars in future, Keith McEwan wrote, originally in 2011.

‘Victory’ is costly under ISDS

The government continues to commit the nation to expensive litigation under the Investor State Dispute Settlement regime. Many years after the event, the true cost of the spurious Philip Morris claim against Australia for plain packaging of cigarettes is now known. We won, but paid a heavy price we should never have been liable for.

Spooky MPs raise the bar on monumental hypocrisy

The chair, Andrew Hastie, and deputy chair, Anthony Byrne, of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security have issued a truly historically hypocritical media release in which the parliament’s most repressive committee claims it stands for ‘the ability to report freely on national security’ as ‘vital to our democracy’. What about on-water incidents with boats and refugee claimants? What about ASIO reporting restrictions? What about the Witness K/Collaery secret trial at the moment? We haven’t heard a word from either of the two PJCIS heavies standing up for the media’s right to report ‘freely’ on those issues.

Govt’s latest gift: new laws further eroding our civil liberties    

By Paul Gregoire* The Morrison Coalition government unleashed a swag of draconian laws in the final parliamentary sitting weeks of this year. The Defence Amendment (Call Out of the Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018 was passed on 27 November. This legislation lowered the threshold of when the government can send in …

How we can control our borders, the proper way

Long-time government adviser on refugees and detention, retired Air Vice Marshall Ray Funnell, is calling on both major sides of politics to come clean with citizens and admit that we have effectively stopped the boats: we should immediately partner with Indonesia on future-based solutions to regional refugee challenges, he believes. AVM Funnell appeals for an end to the political deceit, dissembling and outright lying that casts a shadow politicians’ debates on the refugee/detention issue

Dutton & Home Affairs conduct sham, pre-ordained ‘consultation’

Minister Peter Dutton is conducting a sham ‘consultation’ after which he will determine “arrangements that govern the protection and management of identity information”. In other words, a man on record 16 years ago as demanding wholesale sharing of personal information across police, security and all government bodies is about to decide whether we get a national ‘Australia Card’ ID system or similar open-slather access to your private information. CLA’s submission says he’s the wrong man, it’s the wrong department, and any inquiry into personal ID rules should be run with equal numbers of rights, liberties and IT gurus as part of a balanced review panel.

Dutton consultation is a sham, says civil society

Parts of civil society are actively rebelling against a ‘sham’ public consultation process by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that looks set to lead to a new Australia Card proposal or something very similar. Mr Dutton’s only public consultation meeting before pitching a new public ID and privacy system to COAG will be a 150-minute discussion on 22 October in Melbourne. The agenda is pre-determined for attendees to be spoken at, rather than being listened…and Dutton’s anti-privacy stance is well known from his very first speech to parliament.

Govt models only bad behaviour, unlike in 1912

A parliamentary inquiry into how Big Government screws the little guy and small business in court is struggling to have its voice heard. A Senate committee’s investigation of a proposed law to fix the problem was announced in November 2017, but the committee’s report now been postponed, for the fourth time, to 7 December 2018. That’s a day after the last sitting day of the year for parliament. If an election is called early in 2019, we may never get to see why the government believes it can ignore its legislated responsibility to make its own bodies give people a fair go in legal battles

Canberra: Be on the defensive!

Forget the fireworks inside Parliament House! Loud bangs are likely to be heard all over Canberra soon…but no-one’s saying where or when. The Australian Defence Force plans to carry out counter-terrorism training in late August. Or, it could be, training for when the federal government calls out the troops: see CLA’s submission to the current Defence Call Out Bill, a particularly power-seizing piece of legislation that flies in the face of one clause in the Australian Constitution.