AGs are cowards not to lift age of responsibility    

Australia’s Attorney-General showed cowardice in not lifting the age of criminal responsibillity from 10 10 at least 14, CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman says. A national justice department group has been working on the issue for years: it strongly recommended the common national age goes up, now. It’s time for one or mroe AGs to show the courage of their convictions, not the least because it will help keep Aboriginal kids as young as 10 from dominating juvenile jailings in Australia.

The law does not always mete justice 

The charade of show trials, held in secret for to create a greater fear effect purportedly to some ’security’ purpose, continue with the prosecutions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery. But it is the Australian government that should be on trial, as CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings and Timor Leste advocate Sister Susan Connelly point out in these protest rally speeches.

High Court of Australia comes a cropper

The High Court of Australia has decided, to its legal satisfaction, that there was a sexual harasser in its midst, former judge Dyson Heydon. But the court was apparently reluctant to act (it took 15 months). And has it learned the real lesson of this sorry affair, that it is judicial hubris at the High Court in general that’s the problem, not just one randy old judge. The High Court should take a long, hard look at itself…and so should the rest of Australia examine the performance, competence and protocols of one of the three arms of national governance.

Porter can lift us out of these ‘sad times’

The secret trials and sentencing currently running in the Witness K and Bernard Collaery matter could – and should – be stopped instantly by the Attorney-General withdrawing his permission to prosecute. If he doesn’t the injustice of it all will forever be on his head. He has the perfect excuse: he’s too busy crafting a national integrity commission, and also getting the nation back on its commercial feet after Covid-19.

Canada illustrates the danger of ‘emergency’ laws

Fifty years after Canada’s most recent police state imposition, two academics warn about the repressive history of laws brought in to cope with ‘emergencies’. Citizens must not give governments powers that are certain to be abused by later suspension of civil liberties, police crackdowns and, with today’s and tomorrow’s technology, electronic Big Brother surveillance.

Asylum seekers, refugees and Covid-19: most vulnerable, most exposed?

Vulnerable refugee claimants are at greater risk of catching Covid-19 illness because of where they are housed, and general poor nutrition and ill-health because of their poverty. Without incomes as the economy grinds to a halt, their plight is worsening. Meanwhile the Australian government appears to have a policy of deliberating slowing down their ‘day in court’ by appointing the wrong people to the main tribunal that hears refugee claims. CLA Director Jennifer Ashton tells the story.

Is counterterrorism policy out of step with reality?

At last the experts are starting to agree with what civil libertarians like CLA have been saying for a decade and a half: everything to do with counterring terrorism is massively out of kilter with reality, including the funds and people/material resources allocated, the parliamentary time spent on it, and the  massive headlines given to it. In Australia, we literally have had much more important things to worry about since about 2005.