Afghanistan: Australia cuts and runs – what about those left behind?

We must do much more for the Afghani people who worked with and helped Australia during our long deployment there, says Dr Tony Murney, who served several tours. Abandoning those who helped us would further destroy our international reputation, he says. Prime Minister Scott Morrison cannot simply walk away, leaving real people who provided real services to Australians during times of great stress and danger. Australians were once admired for courage and dependability…no longer. We should take responsibility for the consequences we have created.

Reining in the ’national security’ secrecy claims in courts

Not very long ago, a secret prisoner was discovered quite by chance in the ACT jail (even the ACT Prisons/Justice Minister did not know he was there). The prisoner, given the pseudonym ‘Alan Johns’, was a victim of being tried in secret under “national security” legislation. The laws that enable that abuse of his rights, and the rights of all Australians to know what happens in the courts, is now under detailed scrutiny by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Grant Donaldson. Here is CLA’s submission (authored by VP Rajan Venkataraman) to the process, and the separate sub of CLA member Kathryn Kelly also.

IPA extends its parliamentary influence

The Institue of Public Affairs – Australia’s prime agency of the right – has an income of about $7m a year. including $4m in donations from the big end of town. It spent in 2020 just under $7m in pushing it point of view. And did so successfully, as former employees of the IPA now dot the federal parliamentary landscape, taking up influential positions.

Stop the Prosecution!

In capital cities around Australia, 9 November marked ’Stop the Prosecution!s’ day when supporters called on Australia’s Attorney-General Christian Porter to end the secret trials of Witness K from ASIS and his lawyer Bernard Collaery. Their trials – secret evidence in closed courts – are contrary to the rule of law, which the AG is supposedly the guardian of.

Does Australia need a separate Integrity Branch?

It’s useful to review old critiques when new ones emerge, particularly to see if time has changed what’s important. Here’s a 2017 paper on integrity bodies. It suggests that, to secure funding against a recalcitrant Executive government, there should be a “special branch” of integrity agencies that get rum and rations directly from Parliament. What a good idea! Bring on a national ICAC with teeth.