To Kevin Andrews MHR:
Civil Liberties Australia on Australia Day 2021 asks the man responsible for citizens of the ACT and the NT having lesser rights than all others Australians – they are not able to even vote on dying with dignity/euthansia law – to ‘rescind’ the federal law he promoted by lodging a new Private Member’s Bill to restore the rights of 600,000 fellow Australians. Here’s the Andrews letter.
To WA Police Commissioner (and Police Minister):
On Australia Day 2021, CLA asks for an apology from WAPOL and the State for those people the police falsely and irresponsibly named as ‘persons-of-interest’ before, some 25 years later, Bradley Edwards was convicted and sentenced. We asked particularly for an apology of Peter Weygers and civil liberties: Weygers was then the local president, whose reputation was ruined by the erroneous police accusation. Click here for the letter.
To Ministers for Corrective Services, throughout Australia:
CLA asks, on Australia Day 2021, that you review the rules, sometimes archaic, about what prisoners can receive through the mail and other associated censorship concerns, including their rights to educational material and to private correspondence with the lawyers. For the letter sent to WA click here. And for a CLA/Uni of Qld report on the state of censorship in prisons in Australia, click here.
To Kevin Andrews MHR:
As Iran releases 100,000 prisoners, Australian jails are still packed with the potential for major COVID-19 spread into the community, Paul Gregoire writes for Sydney Criminal Lawyers. And, as usual, Indigenous prisoners are relatively most at risk because of their large numbers and poor health. The WHO and UN have warned Australia about the potential for jails to spread the pandemic. ‘Prison health is a matter of public health’.
The NT is planning to introduce a Judicial Commission to deal with the problem of judges bullying lawyers. A parliamentary committee is considering submissions – but none of the submissions, other than that from CLA – proposes having truly independent people on the commission and its investigatory panels…or even mandatory Indigenous representationl. Changes to the current bill are vital if justice is to be seen to be done, and to be done, to lawyers and their clients in the NT, CLA says.
While civil society is grating the government licence to use extraordinary powers during a medical emergency, that is no excuse to abuse people’s trust by bringing in draconian measures like over-the-top surveillance and elimination of the flimsy privacy rights we still retain, CLA says.
The Queensland Productivity Commission has delivered its seminal report on the state of jails in that state but in reality standing for all Australian jails. Their recommendations provide a blueprint for saving taxpayers money, ending a massive jail-building program over the next decade, and seriously reducing the number of people in prison. Will our fearful governments have the courage to take positive action to achieve a better system delivering better justice?
For all those politicians (and the media) who posture at being “tough on crime” and who bring in mandatory sentences to appear to be “smart” legislators telling magistrates and judges how to make decisions and pass sentences, hear this plea from a real live criminal lawyer dealing with the consequences of such irresponsible political action in the Northern Territory…
Some academics are warning that surveillance systems mushrooming in Australia’s major cities are more than just police aids to fight crime: they are actually community management mechanisms designed to re-exert a form of colonial era control. Here’s what they say about new systems in Darwin and the NT.
New Zealand has maybe shown the way to Australia with a formal, parliamentary apology bill tabled to right the wrongs committed against a Maori activist 100 years ago. With more than 230 years of mistreatment of Indigenous people in Australia, such bills could keep out parliament busy for decades.
At last! A federal MP is taking Australia’s horrific rate of jailing people, particularly Indigenous citizens, seriously. Dr Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fenner (ACT) has produced a detailed rundown that shows we are becoming among the greatest jailers. For example, we now jail Indigenous Australians at a rate greater than the USA jails African-Americans. Read a summary of Leigh’s paper, with a link to the original.