January 2020 CLArion newsletter: CLA helps chalk up rare win as initiatives begin on prisons, press freedom, whistleblowers 

A former Chief Justice dropped a ‘bombshell’ when his year-long inquiry in WA found criminal assets-seizing laws were “largely unconcerned whether confiscation is fair or just’. CLA has campaigned against the laws for about 15 years. Similar laws elsewhere should also end, as should a cosy new scheme where governments divide up their jointly ill-gotten proceeds stemming from bad law. In 2020, new campaigns will try to to end senseless, arbitrary censorship inside prisons and make ‘law and order’ elections less popular, while the main law reform body will focus on financial services, defamation, press freedom and whistleblowers.

  • AGs’ work program includes tackling betting in sport
  •  Reforms planned for enduring power of attorney
  •  Committee wants to give Minister Dutton more power
  •  ‘Christian conservatives have never had it so good’: Patten
  •  ‘Tax is a symptom of mental health prejudice’: member letter
  •  Who ‘owns’ the law? DNA can be two-faced

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Website aims to regain photos from ‘facevault’

Tasmanians have lost the right to their own images: their driver licence photos been handed over willy-nilly by the state government to the federal security apparatus…in advance of proposed new national laws being passed to make the spooky ‘facevault’ legal. CLA Director Richard Griggs has empowered people to protest through a new website www.deletemyphoto.net

Reforming Australian prisons in the ‘second convict age’

CLA campaigns for the rights of prisoners…and for saving taxpayers’ money. We call our approach ‘smart on crime, rather than the ‘tough on crime’ mantra. That’s the false propaganda microphoned out by politicians and news media before elections. Their way lies bigger prisons, more prisoners, fewer people rehabilitated and much greater cost to the purses and wallet of citizens, which achieves no improvement or benefit – at a time when crime is falling. This article is about CLA’s approach, and a prisoner’s right to vote, to actively pursue a better education and to gain some marketable skills through reading while locked away. CLA Vice-President Rajan Venkataraman reports.

Dec 2019 CLArion newsletter: ASIO spins and leaks as Australia is confirmed as turning into a police-security state

Supposed ’secret’ agents pick up a megaphone to leak news which suits their world view, then dumb politicians jump on to the bandwagon created from gossamer ‘facts’. Welcome to the new police-security state that Australia is becoming. We’re losing liberties and freedoms because Ministers and Parliament no longer safeguard people’s human rights. Instead, doyens of the nation’s academia and law say, they legislate ‘poorly and over-broadly’ – besotted by terrorism – when a much greater danger is domestic violence, for example. A Bill of Rights is just one fundamental needed to restore balance in our society.

Legal experts explain how Sue Neill-Fraser trial was corrupted

Two legal academics, Dr Bob Moles and Associate Professor Bibi Sangha, have critically examined the Sue Neill-Fraser conviction in Tasmania in 2010, producing a detailed analysis of factual, interpretational and inferential errors involving witnesses, the prosecution and decisions of the judge. They conclude that Neill-Fraser, now in what they believe is her 10th year of wrongful imprisonment, should be released immediately…as occurred in Victoria when a major error was identified in a trial. Victoria was able to acquit an innocent man who had been wrongfully committed one working day after error was acknowledged by the prosecution. So should it be in Tasmania, they say.
Note: Bob Moles Home page on the Sue Neill-Fraser case is here: http://netk.net.au/EtterHome.asp

Prison Minister kept in dark over secret prisoner’s 18-month jailing

So secret was the trial and jailing of the ACT’s mystery prisoner that even the territory’s Minister for Corrections, who is also Minister for Justice, did not know about the case until the story broke in the media. Minister Shane Rattenbury still does not know on what grounds he locked up a prisoner for 18 months: he doesn’t know what the prisoner was charged with, or what the prisoner was convicted of. CLA poses some questions to Commonwealth authorities, including Supreme Courts.

CLA leads opposition to draconian anti-protest laws

The Tasmanian government is having another crack at introducing Australia’s worst – and most expensive, for citizens – anti-protest laws. The High Court threw out their first attempt. Now an ‘openly deceptive’ government is trying to sneak in laws which would instantly turn minor peaceful protest almost anywhere in Tasmania into a major crime. You can sign the e-petition.

Tas govt breaches election promise, introduces ‘Silence’ bill

The Tasmanian government is again reneging on a promise, this time over a proposed new protest law, introducing massive penalties to restrict genuine protest by concerned citizens along with draconian provisions for police to enforce. Indpendents in Parliament must reject this ‘outrageous law’, CLA’s Tasmanian Director Richard Griggs says.

Police internal investigations: like bankers probing bankers

It’s time to end the unfair practice of the same police force investigating shooting deaths, alleged stun gun abuse, police car chase fatal accidents and major complaints about police behaviour. CLA believes citizens will never get justice from police ”internal” affairs probes until the “internal” bit is replaced by independent investigators and other representing a civil liberties and human rights viewpoint. The time to change is now.