CLA campaigns for the rights of prisoners…and for saving taxpayers’ money. We call our approach ‘smart on crime, rather than the ‘tough on crime’ mantra. That’s the false propaganda microphoned out by politicians and news media before elections. Their way lies bigger prisons, more prisoners, fewer people rehabilitated and much greater cost to the purses and wallet of citizens, which achieves no improvement or benefit – at a time when crime is falling. This article is about CLA’s approach, and a prisoner’s right to vote, to actively pursue a better education and to gain some marketable skills through reading while locked away. CLA Vice-President Rajan Venkataraman reports.
Two legal academics, Dr Bob Moles and Associate Professor Bibi Sangha, have critically examined the Sue Neill-Fraser conviction in Tasmania in 2010, producing a detailed analysis of factual, interpretational and inferential errors involving witnesses, the prosecution and decisions of the judge. They conclude that Neill-Fraser, now in what they believe is her 10th year of wrongful imprisonment, should be released immediately…as occurred in Victoria when a major error was identified in a trial. Victoria was able to acquit an innocent man who had been wrongfully committed one working day after error was acknowledged by the prosecution. So should it be in Tasmania, they say.
Note: Bob Moles Home page on the Sue Neill-Fraser case is here: http://netk.net.au/EtterHome.asp
So secret was the trial and jailing of the ACT’s mystery prisoner that even the territory’s Minister for Corrections, who is also Minister for Justice, did not know about the case until the story broke in the media. Minister Shane Rattenbury still does not know on what grounds he locked up a prisoner for 18 months: he doesn’t know what the prisoner was charged with, or what the prisoner was convicted of. CLA poses some questions to Commonwealth authorities, including Supreme Courts.
The Tasmanian government is having another crack at introducing Australia’s worst – and most expensive, for citizens – anti-protest laws. The High Court threw out their first attempt. Now an ‘openly deceptive’ government is trying to sneak in laws which would instantly turn minor peaceful protest almost anywhere in Tasmania into a major crime. You can sign the e-petition.
It’s time to end the unfair practice of the same police force investigating shooting deaths, alleged stun gun abuse, police car chase fatal accidents and major complaints about police behaviour. CLA believes citizens will never get justice from police ”internal” affairs probes until the “internal” bit is replaced by independent investigators and other representing a civil liberties and human rights viewpoint. The time to change is now.
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.
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.
The president of a parole board facing more prisoners and rapidly increasing parole applications wants a standalone website to be able to demonstrate the independence demanded by statute law. But the board itself is a prisoner… of the state’s corrective services department. Free the board, CLA says. Boards have rights, too!
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?