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.

Crisis causes power to aggregate centrally

As the virus crisis bites deeper into daily life, more people are starting to question what freedoms and liberties we are giving up at the behest of an ever-shrinking ‘executive’ ruling group, comprising a hotch-potch of people from MPs to mining bosses and public servants with interesting track records. CLA member Carolyn van Langenberg airs some opinions alternate to the mainstream groupthink.

‘Age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 16′

Children’s brains have not formed until well into their teenage years, so they are not mature enough to acquire the intent for full criminal responsibility under the age 16, CLA argues in its submission to the national working group preparing advice for all Attorneys-General on the age of criminal responsibility. CLA also believes that no child under 16 should be detained in a jail-like setting, and mandatory sentencing should be abandoned by all jurisdictions for children under 16.