Parl committee wants human rights front and centre       

         
In what would be a revolutionary development, a parliamentary committee wants all Appropriation Bills – the legislation allowing the government, its departments and agencies to spend money – to be compatible with human rights, and to say so up front. The Human Rights Committee argues that government spending impacts either positively or negatively on Australians’ human rights, so people should be told up front what the ramifications will be. CLA welcomes the initiative, which should spread through all levels of government.

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.

Masks inflame passionate response…’Covid is a hoax’

As a reminder that there are lots of diverse viewpoints about the dangers of Covid-19, here’s an excerpt from an email received by Civil Liberties Australia after we made a one-paragraph comment in the Sydney Morning Herald on face mask wearing during a virus pandemic. Civil liberties and human rights are always about the sometimes difficult weighing one person’s freedom with another person’s, or group’s, rights…frequently on the fulcrum of responsibility.

Australia extradites with one hand tied, costing Aussies liberty

Australia’s one-side extradition regime gives citizens of other countries much greater legal protection than Australian citizens get. Other countries simply have to allege wrongdoing, and Australia locks up – and extradites – people living in Australia. But going in the other direction, we have to prove, with evidence, our case before other nations will hand over people in their jursidiction. It’s stupid law, and even crazier civil liberties.