Sorting right from wrong, Australian independence, and balancing democracy

The ongoing, unjustifiable and petty legal action against Witness K, formerly of ASIS, and lawyer Bernard Collaery demand that the government holds a public inquiry into Australia’as negotiations over the Timor Gap oil treaty 15 years ago, just as the question of freedom of the press to report becomes top of mind. Both issues call into question the continuing, and increasing, dominance of the Executive over the Parliament in what is meant to be a balanced democracy.

Right from wrong

Is it OK for Australia to bug our neighbouring countries’ negotiating teams? Who makes such decisions? Should corporate interests benefit from state surveillance and bugging? What’s is permissible under the Rule of Law (ROL) and the Rule of Morals and Ethics (RoME)? We need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of the East Timor bugging scandal, to decide what is right and what is wrong for the future.

82 anti-terror laws in 18 years: has our safety changed?

With new Australian anti-terror laws running at about five a year over 18 years, there are two fundamental questions: has our safety changed for the better, and do we need all of them now, or should there be a consolidated ‘Anti-terror Act’ that reins in the draconian excesses, restores balanced rights and liberties, and better represents the real dangers in 2020 to the nation?

Government hypocrisy over filming in Tasmania 

The Tasmanian Minister for the Arts (who is also Attorney-General) gives $100,000 to a documentary maker for a series partly filmed in Tasmania which is investigating injustice around a South Australian murder case. But her own government sools the Tasmanian Police on to a documentary film-maker filming in Tasmania for a series investigating injustice around a ‘murder’ case in Tasmania. Go figure!

Australia spied, cheated and has now lost its moral compass

If national security is genuinely at risk, leakers should be prosecuted. But where Australia itself, its political leaders, top bureaucrats and spook agencies are the transgressors, ‘leakers’ should be rewarded and those who have trashed the nation’s reputation are the ones to go before a Royal Commission or court of law. Both the government and the opposition are behaving reprehensibly in relation to the Witness K/Bernard Collaery case, Dr Richie Gun says.

Army ‘Regs’ lead to institutional abuse by Defence

The reality of a Defence Inquiry is far from the rhetorical ‘fair go’ our soldiers deserve, Kay Danes writes. It has become an instrument of power, wielded by officers to deny subordinates and civilians access to fair and equal opportunity within their employment. Complainants suffer bullying and harassment by the very system supposedly set up to assist them.

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:

CLA questions why ‘fishing’ police lock down entire town

Civil Liberties Australia has formally asked the Commissioner of Police Darren Hine to reveal under what law, regulation or powers were his TasPol officers acting in locking down an entire town and other locations to conduct ‘fishing’ searches which the police admit were ‘random’, not targeted on reasonable suspicion. Is Tasmanian and Australia becoming a fully-fledged police state? Will it be your town or your suburb – or your workplace, like the ABC, or your home, like The Australian journalist’s– that the local police take over or raid next?