19th century legal system must undergo major reform

The legal system is broken if a person must wait three years to get a Supreme Court trial. Barrister Greg Barns explains how justice could be done better in Tasmania, but his critiques and suggestions for major reform apply to every jurisdiction in Australia. Australia’s overall legal system(s) have never been subjected to an overall review. It’s time for Better Justice throughout the nation:

Who guards the guardians?

Our civil liberties movement is a broad church. Everyone’s genuinely committed to defending the freedoms of all Australians. But freedom is in the eye of the beholder. Should we plump for negative civil liberties, or positive civil liberties, Mark Hemery asks.

Never-ending inquiry into religion to keep on keeping on

The federal government is likely to keep inquiring into religious freedoms in the new parliament from May 2019, because it can’t make up its mind how to reconcile giving priority to Christian religious beliefs in a secular society mandated by the Australian Constitution. The latest of many inquiries has just reported, and it at least had the good grace to quote the sensible observations of CLA.

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.

DFAT: Report on 2019 Annual NGO Forum on Human Rights    

Forums between civil society organisations and the government departments provide excellent opportunities for robust, two-way exchanges of thoughts and opinions. The February 2019 DFAT forum saw some sharp exchanges as NGOs tried to hold the government accountable for seeming human rights abuses. But, as CLA Director Eloise McLean reports, much responsibility for how Australia respects human rights now rests with the ‘action’ agency, the Department of Home Affairs.

Australia: Are we a fascist state?

Is smoking worse than fascism? How do you measure and balance between different claims to society-harming activity? These are the issues Mark Jarratt – who chooses to smoke – explores in this article calling for the many to dispense with apathy and think about controlling what he sees as the real danger to Australian society, group-think engendered and controlled by a self-selected cadre of fervid crusaders for whom even the Turkey solution of the past might not be enough.