Lest we forget the dead, lost fighting for distant empires

Lest we forget we will all chant, as we have all chanted for a century now. And yet it is as if all that chanting only ensures we remember nothing. If we remembered would we 100 years later still allow our young men to be sent off to kill or be killed in distant conflicts defending yet again not our country, but another distant empire, as we have in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Model Litigant Obligations: government’s reputation is ‘rancid’, CLA says

CLA’s submission on a Model Litigant Obligations Bill, proposed by Senator David Leyonhjelm, has at last been published on the website of the Senate committee inquiring into the proposed new law. CLA says the Attorney-General’s Department does not abide by existing law because it fails to actively police, enforce and even simply report annually as it is required by legislation to do on how well, or otherwise, the government is acting as a model litigant. CLA tells the committee the Australian government’s reputation in this area is “rancid”. CLA submission is here: CLA’s and other submissions are here

April 2018: Religious freedom inquiry delayed, new CLA initiatives

Parliament committees inquiring into religious freedom in Australia as well as electoral funding and mandated disclosure by NGOs have been inundated with submissions, forcing them to report late. This issue also shows off CLA’s new T-shirt, reminds members about our new website, and reports on the 2018 AGM and selected member comments. Other items include:

  • Drug gurus call for new approach
  • Inquiry: what happens to e-devices after death
  • Police misbehaviour: stories from all over
  • CLA’s Griggs commits to tabling Bill of Rights
  • Democracy takes hit internationally
  • Errors make courts ‘unfit for purpose’
  • Nearly three a week ‘unconvicted’ in USA

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The Child is Father of the Man

Considering the ‘Me Too’ campaign, it seems to me that the problems associated with it, in Australia anyway, require long- term solutions rather than expressions of anger.

Report/minutes – declaration – of CLA Annual General Meeting 2018

eAGMThe formal results are in for the Civil Liberties Australia Annual General Meeting, held in 2018, covering the 2017 calendar year reporting period. The report shows about 52% of members voted, overwhelmingly positively, and most members who commented had nice things to say about how the organisation is going and the job the directors are doing.

Colonial curse hangs over independent India

The criminalisation of homosexuality under the Indian Penal Code is fundamentally a remnant of Victorian moral values that filtered into Indian society as a by-product of British Colonial rule, in the form of s 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Rescuing a persecuted minority in South Africa?

Attacking a foreigner 2015: Africa News photo

By CLA Director Jennifer Ashton*

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has rightly brought our attention to persecuted minorities in South Africa…but he has overlooked people who fit his stated criteria perfectly.

They demonstrate a work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit that would fit well with values of Australians and who have been the victims of nationwide violence against them in 2008, 2015 and 2017. Rioters attacking this group chant a revolutionary Jacob Zuma song, in this case “hand me my machine (gun)”.

Freedom of religion is not carte blanche to ignore laws

The expert panel inquiring into religious freedom should be very clear exactly what ‘freedom of religion’ means in Australia, CLA says in its inquiry submission. The notion includes the rights of atheists, no mandating of ‘religiosity’ in schools, and no promoting of religion by the state. We should also have protections as constant benchmark comparators, such as those contained in the Bill of Rights Australians should have to protect ongoing individual freedom of choice.

CLA calls on inquiry committee to protect NGOs

Civil Liberties Australia’s submission to federal parliament’s Electoral Matters inquiry has called on the committee to ensure that NGOs are safeguarded against the intrusive and punitive provisions in the first draft of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017. The bill is negatively focused, and continues a trend to  restrict and impose burdens on democratic communication in Australia, CLA says. Why is the parliament not producing, instead, positive reforms that further enable, expand and facilitate access to democracy by Australian citizens? CLA asks.

A law unto themselves, absent model principles

Bill Rowlings* questions how ‘professional’ is the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania. It’s a quango that only recently worked out it needs to abide by model litigant principles, a decade after it was created. And it seems to particularly dislike the right of people to question, scrutinise and dissent.

It is a body which annually seeks funding approval from the Attorney-General and reports formally to the AG each year, making it a quango despite its claims of “independence”. It has 10 statutory functions. Handling complaints is the third listed, but seems to dominate its activities overwhelmingly. Educating the public is one of its activities which appears to have received a very much lower priority.

The Child is Father of the Man

Considering the ‘Me Too’ campaign, it seems to me that the problems associated with it, in Australia anyway, require long- term solutions rather than expressions of anger.